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SE5 - Aircraft Profile - : SE5


Manufacturer :
Number Built :
Production Began : 1917
Retired :
Type : Fighter

The third S.E.5 produced (A4563) became, in effect, the prototype S.E.5a with a 200hp Hispano Suiza power plant and shorter span wings. The S.E.5.a went to No56, No.40 and No.60 squadrons from June 1917, and by the end of the year No's 24, 41, 68 and 84 squadron had taken them on charge. After troubles with the reduction gear of the Hispano Suiza together with a general shortage of these power plants, the direct drive Wolseley Viper became the standard S.E.5a power unit. The S.E.5.a built a fine reputation for strength, performance and general flying quality, which together with the Sopwith Camel was the main reason for the Allies gaining and maintaining air superiority during 1918. Some aircraft were fitted with four 25lb (11kg) Cooper bombs on under fuselage racks. The S.E.5.a also service in the Middle East and several home defence units in 1918. At the end of World War I over 2,000 S.E.5.a aircraft were in service with the RAF. The type had served with 24 British, 2 US and 1 Australian Squadrons. After its 'demob' 50 of these aircraft were supplied to Australia, 12 to Canada with several more to other countries including South Africa, Poland and the United States of America. 50 came onto the British register and were used for developing the art of sky-writing. The S.E.5.a will always remain one of aviation's great warplanes.


Latest SE5 Artwork Releases !
 SE5As of B Flight, 56 Sqn led by James McCudden in the aircraft numbered B519, on patrol over the Western Front in 1917.

James McCudden by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Despite having sight in just one eye, Major Edward Mick Mannock was to become one of the most decorated and celebrated aces of World War 1, bringing down an official 61 enemy aircraft in just eighteen months before himself being brought down in flames by enemy ground fire. He was reluctant to add shared kills to his tally, so his actual total of victories is recorded at 73. His decorations include the VC, DSO and 2 Bars, MC and Bar and he is depicted here diving on enemy aircraft in SE5a D278 of 74 Sqn in April, 1918.

Major Edward Mannock by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Standing just five feet two inches tall, Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor had to have his SE5a specially modified to accommodate his small stature, but the diminutive South African was a giant in the air, claiming a total of 54 victories before the end of the war, many of them observation balloons which made him one of the top balloon-busting aces of the RFC. But many aircraft fell to his guns, too, as here when on 21st August 1918 he claimed an Albatros C-Type as victory number 34 whilst flying D6856 of 84 Squadron.

Captain Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Victory No 26 for Josef Mai was a 64 Squadron SE5.A on 5th September 1918, here falling victim to the guns of the aces zebra-striped Fokker D.VII 4598/18 of Jasta 5. By the end of the war, his total had risen to 30 aircraft destroyed, Mai himself collecting a number of decorations, among them the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class. Surviving the Great War, it is believed that he became a flying instructor for the Luftwaffe during World War II, finally being laid to rest in 1982, aged ninety four.

Leutnant Josef Mai by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

SE5 Artwork Collection

SE5 Aircraft side view by M A Kinnear.

McCudden, VC by Ivan Berryman.

The Tenacious Grid Caldwell by Ivan Berryman.

Dawn Dog Fight, Mick Mannock VC by Graeme Lothian.

Grid Caldwell by Graeme Lothian.

Last Dogfight of Werner Voss by Ivan Berryman.

Seeing Red by Ivan Berryman.

James McCudden by Ivan Berryman.

Oberleutnant Lothar Freiherr von Richthofen by Ivan Berryman.

Leutnant Josef Mai by Ivan Berryman.

Major Edward Mannock by Ivan Berryman.

Captain Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor by Ivan Berryman.

Knights of the Sky by Nicolas Trudgian

Brief Encounter by Gerald Coulson.

The Lonely Sky by Gerald Coulson.

SE 5/5a Aces of World War One.

Magnificent Courage by Stan Stokes.

Top Aces for : SE5
A list of all Aces from our database who are known to have flown this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the pilots name.
William Billy Bishop72.00The signature of William Billy Bishop features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.
Squadrons for : SE5
A list of all squadrons from known to have used this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.

No.40 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 26th February 1916
Fate : Disbanded 1st February 1957

Hostem coelo expellere - To drive the enemy from the sky

Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of No.40 Sqn RAF

No.40 Sqn RAF

40 Squadron Royal Air Force: 40 squadron was formed at Gosport on 26th February 1916 as a scout squadron equipped with the FE8. One flight went to France in early August and the rest of the squadron at the end of the month. However, the FE8 was soon obsolete and 40 squadron was unable to be effective in its task of fighting when faced with a faster aircraft. In March 1917 the squadron suffered heavy casualties when 9 aircraft were caught on patrol by Jasta 11 led by Manfred von Richthofen and all aircraft were brought down with four pilots killed. Before the end of March they were re-equipped with Nieuport Scouts and with these, 40 squadron began a successful career, flying offensive patrols and developing its own tactics for observation balloon attacks. During this period one of the 40 Squadron officers Lieutenant Edward Mannock (later Major Mannock VC) destroyed 6 enemy aircraft and went on to a highly successful fighting career in command of two other squadrons. Before the end of 1917, 40 Squadron replaced its scouts with the highly successful S.E.5.a and continued offensive operations against the German armed forces until the end of the First World War. It ended the war with a squadron tally of 130 enemy aircraft and 30 balloons destroyed. The squadron returned to the UK in February 1919 and was disbanded 4th July the same year. It was reformed on 1st April 1931 as a bomber squadron and served in the UK and the Middle East theatre. It was disbanded in Egypt during 1947 and reformed later that year as a transport squadron until 1950. In 1953 it was again reformed as a bomber squadron before being finally disbanded in 1956.

No.56 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 9th June 1916

Quid si coelum ruat - What if heaven falls

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No.56 Sqn RAF

56 Squadron was formed on 8th June 1916 and in April 1917 was posted to France as part of the Royal Flying Corps. 56 squadron was equipped with the new SE5 fighter. One of the major aerial combats of the squadron was the shooting down of Lt Werner Voss. By the end of the first world war 56 Squadron had scored 402 victories, and many famous fighter aces flew with 56 Squadron including James McCudden, Reginald Hoidge, Gerald Maxwell, Arthur Rhys-Davies, Geoffrey Hilton Bowman, Richard Mayberry, Leonard Monteagle Barlow, Cyril Crowe, Maurice Mealing, Albert Ball, Harold Walkerdine, William Roy Irwin, Eric Broadberry, Kenneth William Junor, Cecil Leiws, Keith Muspratt, Duncan Grinnell-Milne, William Spurret Fielding-Johnson, William Otway Boger, Charles Jeffs, and Harold Molyneux. The squadron lost 40 pilots during the first world war with another twenty wounded and thirty one taken prisoner. When world war two broke out on the 6th of September 1939, 56 Squadron was based at North Weald. 56 Squadron flew Hurricanes during the Battle of France and during the Battle of Britain. 56 Squadron claimed just over 100 enenmy aircraft shot down during 1940. In 1941 as part of the Duxford Wing it was the first squadron to be equipped with the new Hawker Typhoon and during 1942 and 1943 was based ay RAF Matlaske as part of No.12 Group. No 56 Squadron was the frist squadron to confirm a victory while flying the Hawker Typhoon. In 1944 56 Squadron moved to RAF Newchurch and was re equipped with the new Hawker Tempest V, becoming part of the No.150 Wing under the command of the Ace Wing Commander Roland Beamont. 56 Squadron's new role was to defend Britian against the V1 flying bombs, and the squadron shot down around 75 V1s. The squadron moved to Europe on the 28th of September 1944 to Grimbergen in Belgium as part fo 122 Wing of the Second Tactical Air Force. During this period to the end of the war 56 Squadron became joint top scorers with a total of 149 aircraft cliamed. Over its history the squadron flew, SE5's Sopwith Snipes, Gloster Grebes, Armstrong Whitworth Siskins, Bristol Bulldogs, Gloster Gauntlets, Gloster Gladiators, Harker Hurricanes, Hawker Typhoon, and Hawker Tempests. Battle of Honours of the Squadron are : Western front 1917 - 1918 , Arras, Ypres 1917, Cambrai 1917, Soome 1918, Amiens, Hindenburg Line. During World war two : France and the Low Countries 1940, Battle of Britian, Fortress Europe 1942 - 1944, Dieppe, France, Germany 1944 - 1945, Home Defence 1942 - 1945 and Arnhem.

No.85 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st August 1917
Fate : Disbanded 19th December 1975

Noctu diuque venamur - We hunt by day and night

Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of No.85 Sqn RAF

No.85 Sqn RAF

No. 85 Squadron was formed on the 1st of August 1917 at Uphaven. Shortly afterwards the squadron moved to Mousehold Heath nea Norwich under the command of Major R A Archer. The squadron transferred to Hounslow in November 1917 and in March 1918 received its new commander Major William Avery Bishop VC, DSO, MC. On 1st April 1918 No.85 Squadron was transferred into the new Royal Air Force and went to France in May1918 flying the Sopwith Dolphin and later SE5A's. 85 Squadron duties were fighter patrols and ground attack sorties over the western front until the end of the war. On 21st June 1918 Major Edward Mannock DSO MC became commanding officer. On the 26th July 1918 during a patrol with Lt DC Inglis over the front line Major Mannock failed to return and on the 18th of July 1919 Major Mannock was awarded a posthumous VC. No. 85 Squadron had 99 victories during their stint on the western front, returning to the UK in February 1919, and being disbanded on the 3rd of July 1919. 85 Squadron was reformed on June 1st, 1938, as part of A Flight of 87 Squadron based at RAF Debden commanded by Flight Lieutenant D E Turner. The squadron started training on the Gloster Gladiator until the 4th of September when Hawker Hurricanes were supplied. On the outbreak of World War Two the squadron moved to Boos as part of the Air Component of the BEF 60th Fighter Wing, and their Hurricanes were given the role to support the squadrons of Bristol Blenheims and Fairey Battles. By 1st November 85 Squadron's Hurricanes were moved to Lille Seclin. 85 Squadron scored its first victory of World War Two when Flight Lieutenant R.H.A. Lee attacked an He111 which crashed into the Channel, exploding on impact while on patrol over the Boulogne area. In May 1940, during the German advance, 85 Squadron were in combat constantly and over an 11 day period the squadron confirmed 90 enemy kills. When their operating airfields were overun the squadron's last remaining three Hurricanes returned to England. The squadron lost 17 pilots (two killed, six wounded and nine missing). During the Battle of Britian the squadron took part in the conflict over southern England and in October the Squadron moved to Yorkshire and were given the new role of night fighter patrols. 85 Squadron continued in the night fighter role for most of the war, with only a brief period as bomber support as part of 100 group.

No.92 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1917
Fate : Disbanded 1st October 1994
East India

Aut pugna aut morere - Either fight or die

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No.92 Sqn RAF

92 Squadron was formed in the First World War, as a squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, on 1st September 1917. It flew Pups, Spads and SE5s during the war, becoming an RAF squadron on the formation of the RAF on 1st April 1918, before being disbanded on 7th August 1919. On the outbreak of hostilities of World War Two, 92 Sqn reformed on 10th October 1939, flying Blenheims before converting to Spitfires. It transferred to North Africa, and for some time flew as part of 244 Wing RAF. After the war, the squadron was disbanded on 30th December 1946. On 31st January 1947, the former 91 Squadron was redesignated 92 Squadron, flying the Meteor before re-equipping with the Sabre and then the Hunter. While flying the Hunter in 1960, the squadron was designated as the RAF's aerobatic squadron, with the name Blue Diamonds, a name the squadron carried on after tranferring to the Lightning. The squadron then re-equipped with Phantoms, before being disbanded on 1st July 1991. It was reformed from a rserve squadron on 23rd September 1992, and became No.92 (Reserve) Squadron, flying the Hawk aircraft before being disbanded once more on 1st October 1994.
Signatures for : SE5
A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.

William Billy Bishop

Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of William Billy Bishop

11 / 9 / 1956Died : 11 / 9 / 1956
11 / 9 / 1956Ace : 72.00 Victories
William Billy Bishop

William Avery Bishop. Born 8th February 1894, died September 1956 aged 62. Air Marshal William Avery Bishop, better known as Billy Bishop (his awards being VC, CB, DSO and Bar, MC, DFC, ED ) was the top Canadian Fighter ace of World War One, with 72 Victories which made him the top overall Ace from the British Empire. Billy Bishop joined the Mississauga Horse as an Officer when the war broke out in 1914, but due to illness he did not go with the regiment to Europe. Once he recovered from pneumonia he transferred to the 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles and was stationed in London, Ontario. On the 9th of June 1915 the regiment left for Britain. In July 1915 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an Observer. After training he was moved to France at Boisdinghem airfield near st Omer on the 1st January 1916 - he was an observer on RE7 reconnaissance aircraft. On one mission he injured his knee and was sent back to Britain. On his recovery he was accepted in for Pilot training. Once he was awarded his wings he requested to be transferred to France and in March 1917 was posted to 60 Squadron at Filescamp Farm near Arras. He flew the Nieuport 17 Fighter aircraft. Billy Bishop's first victory was on the 25th March which was an Albatros D.III. He won his Victoria Cross on the 2nd June 1917 when he flew a solo mission behind enemy lines to attack a German Aerodrome. He claimed to have shot down three German aircraft who were about to take off to engage him and destroyed many others on the ground. His Victoria Cross was the only VC awarded without requiring witnesses. His VC was Gazetted on the 11th August 1917. For most conspicuous bravery, determination, and skill. Captain Bishop, who had been sent out to work independently, flew first of all to an enemy aerodrome; finding no machines about, he flew on to another aerodrome about three miles southeast, which was at least 12 miles the other side of the line. Seven machines, some with their engines running, were on the ground. He attacked these from about fifty feet, and a mechanic, who was starting one of the engines, was seen to fall. One of the machines got off the ground, but at a height of 60 feet, Captain Bishop fired 15 rounds into it at very close range, and it crashed to the ground. A second machine got off the ground, into which he fired 30 rounds at 150 yards range, and it fell into a tree. Two more machines then rose from the aerodrome. One of these he engaged at a height of 1,000 feet, emptying the rest of his drum of ammunition. This machine crashed 300 yards from the aerodrome, after which Captain Bishop emptied a whole drum into the fourth hostile machine, and then flew back to his station. Four hostile scouts were about 1,250 feet above him for about a mile of his return journey, but they would not attack. His machine was very badly shot about by machine gun fire from the ground. He went back to Canada as a hero in 1917 and helped the morale of the Canadian public. He again returned to France in April 1918 and was promoted to the rank of major and given the command of no 85 Squadron (Flying Foxes). The squadron was equipped with SE5a scouts and in this aircraft Bishop scored a further three victories. The Canadian Government was getting concerned if Bishop was killed what effect that may have on the Canadian morale so he was ordered back to Britain, to organise the Canadian Flying Corps. On the 5th August he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and became Officer Commanding-designate of the Canadian Air Force Section of the general Staff. Bishop died in his sleep while in Florida on the 11th September 1956 and is buried in Owen Sound Ontario at greenwood Cemetery.

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