Header.JPG

Beardmore

William Beardmore & Co


History

William Beardmore and Co., Ltd, the Scottish engineering and shipbuilding conglomerate, decided to move into aviation in November 1913. The plan was that airships were to be built at the Dalmuir works and aero-engines at the Arrol-Johnston works at Heathfield. For aircraft, Beardmore acquired the UK rights for machines from D.F.W. (Deutsche Flugzeug-Werke, or German Aircraft Works) of Lindenthal. D.F.W. had set up business at Brooklands in November 1913, headed up by Technical Director E.C. Kny who brought over a D.F.W. B2 and an Arrow biplane from Germany. The Arrow was to have been the subject of a licence agreement between D.F.W. and Beardmore and Kny intended a purpose built factory for this in Richmond, Surrey.

The outbreak of war ended the Beardmore-D.F.W. alliance and any thoughts of a new factory, but not before one new, but German, design was begun at Brooklands. This was an aircraft intended for the Daily Mail ‘Seaplane Circuit of Britain’ Race of 1914, but the war also caused this to be cancelled. The factory at Richmond never materialized, but in 1914 an airfield was built at Dalmuir and the first order received from the Admiralty for 24 B.E.2c’s. The Admiralty representative overseeing production was Lieutenant G.T. Richards R.N.V.R, and he was allowed to resign his commission to head up Beardmore’s design office when it was created in January 1916. Several prototypes were produced but only the Sopwith Pup derived W.B.III went into production.

With the wholesale cancellation of military contracts at the end of the war, production at Dalmuir effectively ceased. Richards produced several designs between 1919 and 1920, but none went beyond the drawing board and in May 1920 the Aircraft Department was closed down.

In 1923 the Air Ministry gave a contract to Beardmore for the design and construction of an experimental aircraft to evaluate the all metal concepts of Adolf Karl Rohrbach. Consequently the Aircraft Department was reopened on 1 January 1924 under chief designer W.S. Shackleton. To set up the licence agreement between Beardmore and Rohrbach, a separate componay, the Light Metal Aircraft Company, of Dalmuir, was formed with, amongst others, Adolph Rohrbach and E.L. Chorlton, Beardmores' Aircraft Manager, as directors. It would be several years before this giant aircraft, the Inflexible, would first fly and in the meantime Shackleton produced an aircraft at the opposite end of the scale, the diminutive ‘Wee-Bee’, intended for the forthcoming light aeroplane trials at Lympne that September, ending the competition well ahead of its nearest rival, winning the Air Ministry first prize of £2,000.

Two more aircraft were to fly before the Inflexible, the first another Rohrbach based design, the Inverness. This was followed by the W.B.XXVI, the prototype of a fighter built especially for Latvia. Only one prototype was built. When it was delivered to Latvia it was found to handle very well, but to be very much underpowered. In Latvia it flew a total of three times before it was rejected and returned to the manufacturer. In early 1926, Beardmore appointed Squadron-Leader Rollo de Haga Haig as "outside" manager in connection with their aviation and aero engine departments and on Shackletons departure in the latter part of 1927, he took over as chief designer. However, by now the writing was on the wall for Beardmore, and the Aircraft Department finally closed in February 1929.

In September of that same year, Sir William Beardmore, Bt (he was created a Baronet, of Flichity in the County of Inverness, in 1914), was forced to resign from his own company. Born in Deptford, London, on 16 October 1856 and raised to the peerage as Baron Invernairn, of Strathnairn in the County of Inverness, in the 1921 New Year Honours, Beardmore died at his home in Strathnairn, Inverness-shire of heart failure on 9 April 1936.

Company References
  1. Beardmore Aviation, 1913-1930, Charles MacKay (A. MacKay, 2012)



Project Data top

Project No

Type No

Name

Alternative Name(s)

Year

Spec

Status

Qty

Description

References

   D.F.W. Tractor Biplane  1914  Pro(n) 1 2S, 1E biplane seaplane 1,21,22
  W.B.I   1916  Proto 1  2S, 1E long range bomber 1,2,26
  W.B.IA   1916  Proj 0 2S, 1E long range bomber - enlarged W.B.I 2
  W.B.II   1917  Proto 1  2S, 1E fighter 1,2,20
  W.B.IIA   1918  Proj 0 2S, 1E reconnaissance fighter 1,2
  W.B.IIB   1920  Proto 2  2S, 1E air-mail transport 1,2,3
  W.B.III  S.B.3F,  S.B.3D (Note 1) 1917  Prdn 100(1) 1S, 1E shipborne fighter 1,2,20,24
  W.B.IV   1917 N.1(a) Proto 1  1S, 1E shipborne fighter 1,2,20
  W.B.V   1917 N.1(a) Proto 2  1S, 1E shipborne fighter 1,2,20
  W.B.VI   1918  Proj 0 1S, 2E torpedo bomber 1
  W.B.VIA   1918  Pro(n) 1  1E, 6 passenge biplane transport 1,4
  W.B.VIB   1918  Proj 0 1E, 2 passenge biplane transport 1,4
  W.B.VIC   1919  Proj 0 1S,1E biplane ultralight 1,4
  W.B.VID   1919  Proj 0 2E, 6 passenge biplane transport 1,4
  W.B.VII   1919  Pro(n) 1 1S, 1E shipborne fighter 1
  W.B.VIII   1919  Proj 0 3E passenger and cargo triplane 1,4
  W.B.IX   1920  Pro(n) 1  4E, 10 passenger biplane amphibian  1,4,8
  W.B.X   1920  Proto 1  2S, 1E commercial biplane 1,3,7,23

The aircraft works were closed down in 1920. It re-opened in 1924. Presumably this is the reason why the Type Numbers began again at W.B.XXIV.

Project No

Type No

Name

Alternative Name(s)

Year

Spec

Status

Qty

Description

References

  W.B.XXIV Wee Bee I  1924  Proto 1 1S, 1E ultra-light 1,3,9,15,25
  W.B.XXV Unknown       
  W.B.XXVI   1925  Proto 1 2S, 1E biplane fighter 1,5,11,13,18,20
   Not Identified  1925  Proj 0 1S, 1E parasol monoplane fighter (10)
   Not Identified  1925  Proj 0 2S, 1E monoplane reconnaissance seaplane (10)
  BeRo.1 Inflexible Rohrbach VI, Invincible 1928

 18/23

 Proto 1 3E monoplane research aircraft 1,6,14,17,19
  BeRo.2 Inverness Rohrbach IV 1925 20/24 Proto 1 4S, 2E recconnaissance flying boat 1,6,12,16

Project References                    To show project references in a floating window




Project References

1        Beardmore Aviation 1913-1930, Charles MacKay (A. MacKay, 2012)

2        British Aeroplanes 1914-18, J.M. Bruce (Putnam, 1957)

4        British Commercial Aircraft, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2003)

5        British Fighter Since 1912, Francis K. Mason (Putnam 1992)

6        British Research and Development Aircraft, Ray Sturtivant (Haynes Publishing, 1990)

7        Flight 5 Aug 1920

8        Flight 2 Sep 1920

9        Flight 25 Sep 1924

10      Flight 26 Feb 1925

11      Flight 20 Aug 1925

12      Flight 24 Sep 1925

13      Flight 31 Dec 1925

14      Flight 5 Ap 1928

15      Aeroplane Monthly May 1985

16      Aeroplane Monthly Feb 1990

17      Aeroplane Monthly Mar 1990

18      Aeroplane Monthly Dec 1996

19      Air Enthusiast Quarterly 49

20      Air International Feb 1973

21      Flight 7 Aug 1914.

22      Flight 14 Aug 1914.

23      Flight 12 Aug 1920

24      Sopwith Pup,The, J.M. Bruce, G. Page and R. Sturtivant (Air-Britain Publications, 2002)

25      Ultralights - The Early British Classics, Richard Riding (Patrick Stevens Ltd., 1987)

26      British Bomber Since 1914, Francis K. Mason (Putnam 1994)



 1.    Beardmore Aviation 1913-1930, Charles MacKay (A. MacKay, 2012)
2.    British Aeroplanes 1914-18, J.M. Bruce (Putnam, 1957)
3British Light Aeroplanes, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2000)
4.    British Commercial Aircraft, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2003)
5.    British Fighter Since 1912, Francis K. Mason (Putnam 1992)
6.    British Research and Development Aircraft, Ray Sturtivant (Haynes Publishing, 1990)
7.    Flight 5 Aug 1920
8.    Flight 2 Sep 1920
9.    Flight 25 Sep 1924
10.    Flight 26 Feb 1925
11.    Flight 20 Aug 1925
12.    Flight 24 Sep 1925
13.    Flight 31 Dec 1925
14.    Flight 5 Ap 1928
15.    Aeroplane Monthly May 1985
16.    Aeroplane Monthly Feb 1990
17.    Aeroplane Monthly Mar 1990
18.    Aeroplane Monthly Dec 1996
19.    Air Enthusiast Quarterly 49
20.    Air International Feb 1973
21.    Flight 7 Aug 1914.
22.    Flight 14 Aug 1914.
23.    Flight 12 Aug 1920
 24.Sopwith Pup,The, J.M. Bruce, G. Page and R. Sturtivant (Air-Britain Publications, 2002)
 25.Ultralights - The Early British Classics, Richard Riding (Patrick Stevens Ltd., 1987)
 26.British Bomber Since 1914, Francis K. Mason (Putnam 1994)



Notes
  1. The W.B.III was a modified Sopwith Pup, the designation 'S.B.' signifying Sopwith-Beardmore.
    The suffix D denoted 'Dropping' undercarriage, while the subscript 'F' denoted folding. According to Bruce et.al [24], the F subscript was little used, if at all, and all aircraft so built were converted to 'D'.
  2. Phillip Jarrett [18] refers to a Beardmore design for a two seat fighter/advanced trainer that predates the XXVI and could possibly be the XXV.

Production Summary top

Type No

Name

Qty (New)

Qty (Conv.)

Canc'd

 D.F.W. Tractor Biplane

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.I

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.II

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.IIB

2

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.III

100

(1)

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.IV

1

2

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.V

2

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.VIA

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.VII

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.IX

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.X

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.XXIV

 Wee Bee I

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 W.B.XXVI

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 BeRo.1

 Inflexible

1

Prdn_List.jpg

 BeRo.2

 Inverness

2

  Prdn_List.jpg

Total Beardmore Production

113 

Total Beardmore Cancelled

<<Previous     top     Next>>

V1.3.0 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated February 2017