I’ve often wondered about the ID of the aircraft in that memory from the Copthorne Barracks. I remember it having a round-cowled engine like a Sopwith or a Nieuport, but in late 1914-early 1915 there were no Sopwiths or Nieuports
The plane I saw also had a more modern-looking, flowing lines in its fuselage than the boxy BE2. It seems like it didn’t have a 4-bladed propeller like the BE2, though I’m not sure if I could have discerned that watching it operate. It was smaller and lighter than that plane too; the BE2 looked to agrarian and Anglospherish; this one had lines like a French plane.
Trouble is, I thought it was a biplane. I hadn’t thought to consider monoplanes and I was starting to doubt that the memory was real at all.
Well, I’ve found a plane that might be the one, and it’s the French Morane Parasol.
According to Wikipedia, they were being experimented with as early as December 1914. Such a hot, modern plane would have been something the chain of command would have been keen to show off.
This video was what brought it to my attention. Aside from having only one set of wings, that looks the most like the plane I remember seeing, and it gave me chills in a way that no other plane from that particular time period did with its relatively modern Gallic look. The RFC had at least one at the end of 1914 so the time is right.
That’s one more memory that suddenly is back in the realm of “plausible.” It also explains why I got a weird sense of familiarity and even desire when I first saw a Corbin Baby Ace a few years ago. It was the first time I ever genuinely wanted a plane as seriously as I’d want a car and it’s weird that it’s so similar to that Morane parasol.
I know this match is all really subjective and impossible to prove but I like to keep it on record. Hopefully I at least mentioned the more modern shape of the aircraft I saw in previous posts or I have no record at all of that. In that case, I need to pay more attention when I’m writing these things down to be sure I get all the relevant details down.