AIRCRAFT enthusiast Graham Holmes from France Lynch was commissioned to build a fighter plane by a group of schools to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Graham of Holmes Motors put the replica of the Sopwith Camel together in four months.

SNJ reporter Megan Titley went to meet Graham to find out more.

                                                                                                Apologies for the quality of the sound

A group of 24 schools in North Yorkshire wanted to get six items to stimulate the children’s interest and to give them something to write and read about.

Among the items they’ve had made is a Tardis and a space cube with lots of electronics inside.

The schools wanted something to celebrate the centenary of the First World War so they asked Graham to make a Sopwith Camel.

And he’s had a lot of fun making it.

Talking about how he put the plane together Graham said: “Although it can look daunting and complicated if you break it down into small sections you realise it is not so difficult.

“Fortunately I was able to get the basic dimensions off the internet and work out the rest.

“The difficult bit can be joining all the bits together so that they are correctly aligned, so accuracy is important.”

Starting in January this year he didn’t work full-time on the plane until he had to make the fuselage and it took over his garage.

His model is almost identical to the original Sopwith Camel introduced in 1917. However for a few practical purposes he made a couple of adaptations.

Firstly it has a lookalike engine but it can’t fly.

Secondly he’s lowered the height of the biplane so that people can reach the top wings to take it apart to be transported between the schools taking part in the programme.

And he’s made it from plywood instead of fabric because the material would be easily damaged with children playing on it – the plywood makes it a lot heavier.

The Sopwith Camel was the most successful WW1 fighter plane preceded by the Sopwith Pup and made by the Sopwith Aviation Company.

The agile biplane fighter was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft - more than any other allied fighter in the war.

It gets its name from the camel because of the hump that’s formed over the machine guns.

Graham has a background in aircraft but with a business servicing classic cars he last worked on one in 1971.

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