London Historians’ Blog is a wonderful place to spend an hour. Here’s what they say about Mr. Sopwith:
“As a small contribution to #RAF100, I’d like to remember in particular a man who – while never in the RAF himself – did build tens of thousands of their warplanes. Boy, did he build them. That man was Sir Thomas Sopwith (1888 – 1989). Remembered mainly for the aeroplane that bore his name – the Camel – Sopwith also gave us many other famous fighter planes, including the Hurricane, the Hawker Hunter and, believe it or not, he was also involved in the Sea Harrier, some 60 years after World War One. In other words, he was building aircraft from barely ten years after the Wright brothers up to a model which is still in use by the US Marines today, over a century of in-service fighter planes. You won’t be surprised to learn, then, that Sopwith himself lived to be 101. “
It also turns out that Mr. Sopwith was a great hockey goalie and even played for the 1910 Great Britain National Hockey Team that won the gold medal in the first European Championships. Maybe it would be fun to make a hockey card of him.
Give London Historians’ Blog a read sometime soon. Best, Charles