Avro 504                   Bristol Fighter


The prototype of the Bristol M.1, designated 'M.1A' was designed by Frank Barnwell in 1916 and built by Bristol Aeroplane Corporation. Its design prompted the War Office to order four aircraft, designated 'M.1B' for evaluation purposes.

The 'M.1B' had a 0.303" Vickers machine gun mounted on the port wing and cut-out through the Starboard wing to give the pilot some degree of visibility below the aircraft.

The high wing position, stream lined fuselage and spinner gave the M.1B an excellent performance, some 30 to 50 mph fast than the German Fokker Eindecker monoplanes of the time. However due to the high speed landing characteristics of the M.1 the aircraft was rejected as unsuitable for the France's 'short' runways.

Although the M.1B was not considered suitable for the Western Front, the obvious merits of the aircraft were plain to see and an order for 125 aircraft was placed. The production model had the engine changed to a Le Rhone rotary engine, the 0.303" Vickers machine gun was positioned centrally for better accuracy and the aircraft was designated 'M.1C'.

The Bristol M.1C had some 33 aircraft sent to the Middle East and the Balkans between 1917 and 1918. The rest of the aircraft were used with training units based in Britain with some being 'acquired' by senior officers as their personal aircraft.

Towards the latter part of 1918, 12 Bristol M.1C's were sent to Chile as part payment for battleships Almirante Latorre and Almirabte Cochrane which were being built in Britain for Chile but had been commandeered by the Royal Navy.

On the 12th of December 1918, one of the Bristol M.1C's sent to Chlile, was flown by Leutenant Godoy from Santiago to Mendoza and back which was the first flight across the Andes Mountain range.

Specifications: -
Wing Type:Monoplane
Length:20ft 5in (6.24m)
Wingspan:30ft 9in (9.37m)
Height:7ft 9in (2.37m)
Empty Weight:900lb (409kg)
Max. Weight:1,348lb (611kg)
Engine:Le Rhone rotary engine producing 110 hp.
Max. Speed:130mph (209km/h)
Range:217 miles (350km)
Armament: -
Machine Guns:1 x Vickers 0.303"
Variants: -

Bristol M.1A
Prototype aircraft fitted with a Clerget rotary engine producing 110 hp.

Bristol M.1B
Modified from prototype trials and used for evaluation prior to production.

Bristol M.1C
The production model with 125 being built fitted with a Le Rhone rorary engine.

Bristol M.1D
A one off modification to the M.1 to accept a Bristol Lucifer 3 cylinder radial engine for testing purposes. The aircraft was registered as 'G-EAVP'.
Avro 504                   Bristol Fighter
Bristol M1.C
©Nigel Key Bristol M.1C - 'G-BWJM' (Old Warden 2007)

'G-BWJM' is a 1917 replica of a Bristol M.1C monoplane fitted with an original Le Rhone engine, producing 110 hp. The aircraft was based on serial number'C4918' of RFC Squadron 72 as operated by C Flight.

The 'M.1A' was a protoytpe and the 'M.1B' was used for evaluation purposes leading to the 'M.1C' which was produced for the RFC with a total of 125 being built.

The Bristol M.1C is part of the Shuttleworth Collection, based at Old Warden, where it can be seen today.

Photographs © Nigel Key, Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Bristol M.1C (Old Warden 2007) Bristol M.1C (Old Warden 2007) Bristol M.1C (Old Warden 2007)
Old Warden 2007
Old Warden 2007
Old Warden 2007
Bristol M.1C (Old Warden 2007) Bristol M.1C (Old Warden 2007) Bristol M.1C (Old Warden 2007)
Old Warden 2007
Old Warden 2007
Old Warden 2007

Related Links: -
Shuttleworth Page -
Shuttleworth Gallery Page -
Official Shuttleworth Website -
2011 Airshow Calendar -
Military Airshows in the UK -
Shuttleworth Collection