B6420, F/Cdr Richard Pearman Minifie, No. 1(N) Squadron RNAS, Téteghem, France, March 1918
Melbourne-born R. P. Minifie was the sixth most successful Australian fighter of World War I, as he scored 21 victories, most of
them flying Sopwith Triplane. Only last four ones he achieved flying this Camel. Minifie joined the ranks of the RNAS (Royal Naval
Air Service) on June 11, 1916, and after his pilot training he became a member of No. 1(N) Sqn in December. He achieved his first
victory on April 29, 1917, when he shot down an Albatros D.III near Epinoy. On March 17, 1918, Minifie led an offensive patrol flying
this Camel. He did not return, as he had to make emergency landing behind enemy lines, being taken a POW subsequently. His
machine was burned on the ground, according to some sources it was set on fire by Minifie himself. It is not clear whether he
landed due to the engine malfunction or was shot down in combat with Pfalzs of Jasta 47w. Camel B6420 was manufactured
by Sopwith factory and was accepted into No. 1(N) Sqn RNAS on November 9, 1917. Unlike the then current marking of the unit,
the B6420 received an unusually colorful livery. According to the only known B&W photo, several conclusions can be drawn. We
are leaning towards mid-blue mid and rear fuselage area with white greyhound and a red field behind the cockpit. However, it is
possible that the wooden parts around the cockpit area were also painted red. It is up to the modeler to choose.
B6390, F/Cdr Raymond Collishaw, Seaplane Defence Squadron RNAS, December 1917
Canadian Raymond Collishaw was the most successful RNAS ace with his 60 kills. His aerial combat career began in January
1916 when he was posted to the Naval Wing No. 3, flying the Sopwith 1½ Strutters. Here he achieved his first two victories. In
February 1917 he was transferred to No. 3(N) Sqn where he achieved two more kills flying Pup, but by April 1 he reported to No.
10(N) Sqn to take command of B Flight. Here he switched to the Sopwith Triplane and established the legendary “Black Flight”
with fellow Canadians. Their aircraft had their noses painted in black and were given “black” names as well. Collishaw chose
the name “Black Maria”. After a holiday in Canada, already an ace with 38 kills, he took command of Seaplane Defence
Squadron in November 1917, where he also achieved his first victory with Camel using this B6390. On January 23, 1918,
Collishaw assumed command of No. 3(N) Sqn, where he remained until October 21, when he was withdrawn from combat duty.
After the war he inc-reased his score as commander of No. 47 Sqn by another kill in fighting against the Bolsheviks in Russia.
He died on September 28, 1976, in Canada. The Camel B6390, like most of Collishaw's aircraft, had black nose and bore the
name “Black Maria”. It was taken over by FSL J. A. Moyle, and on January 15 it was shot down over the Channel with FSL E. G.
Wilkinson in cockpit. The pilot was picked by the destroyer HMS Myngs, while the aircraft sank.
B7270, Capt. Arthur R. Brown, No. 9(N) Sqn RNAS, Bertangles, France, April 1918
Canadian Arthur Brown made himself famous with his victory over Manfred von Richthofen. Although it is perceived today that
a bullet fired by Australian ground machine gunners killed the Red Baron, Brown was the one who chased the most famous
German fighter down at the time and fired on him as well. Brown became an RNAS pilot in November 1915, but several health
problems prevented him from combat activity until April 1917, when he was assigned to No. 9(N) Sqn RNAS. He did not stay long
with this unit, however, and changed in quick succession Nos. 11, 4, and 11 Sqn again, where he scored his first kill with Sopwith
Pup on July 17. In September he returned to No. 9(N) Sqn. By the end of October, he had managed five kills and after taking a
rest, he returned to the unit in February 1918. He was appointed a flight commander at the time he took over this Camel, built by
the Clayton & Shuttleworth factory. With it he scored three more victories during March and April, before on April 21 he swooped
down on Richthofen, who was chasing Lt. May with his Fokker Dr.I. Nine days after his tenth and most famous kill, Brown was
hospitalized with the flu and nerve problems. He went on to serve as an instructor and never returned to combat. On July 15, he
even fainted in flight, crashed, and suffered serious head injuries. It took five years for him to fully recover. Brown died of a heart
attack on March 9, 1944.
INFO Eduard - December 2021