HAWKER

Sopwith was put in hands of receiver 10 September 1920. Directors quickly registered new firm, picking on name of one of their number (the test pilot) and H.G. Hawker Engineering Co. Ltd registered 15 November 1920, acquiring Sopwith patents 'relating to the manufacture of motor cycles, cycles, internal combustion, and steam engines, and aircraft'. Factory at Canbury Park Road, Kingston (former roller-skating rink), produced cars and motor cycles, and received small contracts for Camel spares and Snipe refurbishment. On 12 July 1921 Harry Hawker died (it is believed of in-flight haemorrhage while in tight turn at low level), replaced by Fred Raynham and then P.W.S. 'George' Bulman. Chief designer Capt. B. Thomson produced unacceptable Duiker parasol monoplane observation aircraft (July 1923). In parallel he did Woodcock biplane night fighter (June 1923), completely redesigned by successor W.G. Carter as Mk II, 63 built. Yet another designer, Sydney Camm, produced Cygnet ultralight. Camm became chief designer 1925 and began to impress his stamp on his staff (then 40) and products, simultaneously introducing patented forms of metal construction with tubes formed from rolled sheet and joined by bolted fishplates. Series of single-engined military biplanes included Hart day bomber (June 1928) which led to more aircraft (3,020) of more variants (17) built by more companies (10) than any other British aircraft between wars. Ironically, first flight coincided with 20-year lease of huge Ham factory to Leyland. Hornet single-seat fighter (March 1929) led to production Fury and carrier-based Nimrod. Widespread licence-production of Hart spurred directors, notably Sopwith and Spriggs, to form large group. New company formed 18 May 1933. See Hawker Aircraft Ltd.

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