J4613, Capt. James Bigglesworth, No. 266 Sqn RFC, March 1917
The author of the Biggles books, W. E. Johns, illustrated his first books himself and, like illustrator Howard Leigh, sometimes depicted British
aircraft from the Great War (and not only in the Biggles stories) with blue fuselage and yellow wings. The reason for this may have been that
they both were finding the colors of British aircraft too dull, and so were seeking inspiration in the color scheme of the US Army Air Force
of the time. In the Biggles books, this paint scheme of the Camel has appeared in several modifications, and we have selected the one that
accompanied the book “Biggles of the Camel Squadron”, published in 1935 by John Hamilton, Ltd, with, if nothing else, illustrations by Howard
Leigh. As with virtually all representations of fictional Camels of a fictional pilot, the serial number is also fictional. There was no J series in
the case of the Sopwith Camel production.
J1936, Capt. James Bigglesworth, No. 266 Sqn RAF, summer 1918
This is a form of the "late" Biggles Camel as described in the short stories "The Fledglings" and "Biggles on the Spot". In both cases we read
about letters drawn on the Camel's nose, similar to the practice seen on SE.5a fighters or DH.4s of the No. 55 Squadron IAF. Another clue is
that the German pilots identified Biggles' Camel by its blue engine cowling and declared him as a most prominent enemy. The entire squadron
painted the nose of their machines blue subsequently. In the latter story, there is also mention of the Bentley engine in Biggles' Camel. The
serial number is again fictitious, the individual markings and the squadron markings are white, but the individual lettering on the nose is blue.
The color of the upper surfaces is, let´s say, PC10.
B3889, Capt. Clive F. Collett, B Flight, No. 70 Sqn RFC, Poperinge, France, August 1917
Clive Franklyn Collett was a New Zealand fighter ace with 11 victories. He joined the RFC in the first year of the war, while he underwent pilot training at a private
flying school. In January 1915 he obtained his Royal Aero Club license No. 1057 and joined No. 11 Squadron RFC in May 1915. Two months later he was transferred
to No. 8 Sqn, then to No. 32 Sqn and in March 1916 to No. 18 Sqn, where he began combat operations with Vickers FB.5. After an injury he returned to Great
Britain. On July 24, 1917, he joined No. 70 Sqn, which was the first Squadron to be equipped with Camels. Three days later he achieved his first victory by shooting
down an Albatros D.V. He added six kills during August and four more in September. After recuperation from the wound (gunshot of the arm) Collett was posted
to No. 73 Sqn. There, on December 23 he took off for a test flight with a captured Albatros, crashed into the sea and was killed. His Camel from the successful
period with No. 70 Sqn bore the standard livery with probably PC12 paint on the upper surfaces. The metal and wooden parts of the front fuselage were probably
painted in the 'Battle Grey' color. The machine was built by the Sopwith factory and powered by a Clerget engine.
INFO Eduard - September 2021