Canadian Warplanes 2: Curtiss H-12 Flying Boat

(IWM Photo, Q 68163)

Curtiss H-12 Large America flying boat in RNAS, c 1917.

22 Sep 1917. Canadian Flight Sub-Lieutenants N. A. Magor and C.E.S. Lusk of the RNAS were flying a Curtiss H-12 “Large America” flying boat when they spotted a German submarine near the Belgian coast. They dropped two 230 lb bombs, sinking UB32 (sometimes identified as UC21 or UC72). It was one of the few German U-boats sunk by Allied aircraft during the war.

The Curtiss Model H was a family of classes of early long-range flying boats, the first two of which were developed directly on commission in the United States in response to the £10,000 prize challenge issued in 1913 by the London newspaper, the Daily Mail, for the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic. As the first aircraft having transatlantic range and cargo-carrying capacity, it became the grandfather development leading to early international commercial air travel, and by extension, to the modern world of commercial aviation. The last widely produced class, the Model H-12, was retrospectively designated Model 6 by Curtiss' company in the 1930s, and various classes have variants with suffixed letters indicating differences.

The Model H-12 was used extensively by both the Royal Navy and the United States Navy. Upon their adoption into service by the RNAS, they became known as Large Americas. The Model H-12s had 160 hp (118 kW) Curtiss V-X-X engines, but these engines were under powered and deemed unsatisfactory by the British so in Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) service the H-12 was re-engined with the 275 hp (205 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle I and then the 375 hp (280 kW) Eagle VIII. Porte redesigned the H-12 with an improved hull; this design, the Felixstowe F.2, was produced and entered service. Some of the H-12s were later rebuilt with a hull similar to the F.2, these rebuilds being known as the Converted Large America.

With the RNAS, H-12s and H-16s operated from flying boat stations on the coast in long-range anti-submarine and anti-Zeppelin patrols over the North Sea. A total of 71 H-12s and 75 H-16s were received by the RNAS, commencing patrols in April 1917, with 18 H-12s and 30 H-16s remaining in service in October 1918.(Wikipedia)

(Library of Congress Photo, ggbain 24017)

Curtiss Flying Boat, Model 12.

(Florida Photographic collection)

Curtiss H12 Flying Boat, taxiing in 1918.

(Library and ArchivesCanada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203284)

Crew of Vickers Viking' IV aircraft G-CYET of the RCAF(L-R): F/O D.J.R. Cairns, Cpl. A.J. Milne, S/L B.D. Hobbs, Mr. R.D. Davidson, D.L.S, 18 Jul 1924.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.4818430)

Group Captain Basil Deacon Hobbs OBE, DSO, DSCand Bar

Flight Sub-Lieutenant Basil Deacon Hobbs is the second most decorated aviator inCanada.  Born 20 Dec 1895 in Berkshire,England. He moved to Canada at a young age where he obtained his education anddeveloped his love of flying. Educated at Sault Ste. Marie, he took a correspondencecourse in Electrical Engineering. In 1915 he took his flying training at theWright Flying School in Dayton, Ohio and later joined the Royal Naval AirService (RNAS) as a Flight Lieutenant. During his career in the war, he wasMentioned in Despatches (MiD) for sinking two German submarines and destroying theGerman Zeppelin L.43. He later transferred to RAF. In 1920, he joined the CAFand was employed by the Canadian Air Board as a "CertificateExaminer" for civil aircraft and pilot licensing. Canadian Air Board, 1April 1921 to 25 May 1922, and RCAF, 1922-1925. In 1924 he was the sole pilotfor the first long-range air survey over northern Saskatchewan and Manitobawhich, at the time, was quoted as being one of the most brilliant achievementsin aviation. Left RCAF as a Major and went as Engineer with ClevelandIlluminating Company 1925 to 1939.

Hobbsrejoined RCAF, 18 June 1940 in Montreal with the rank of Group Captain and wasemployed as a Commanding Officer at RCAF Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Healso served at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontaro, and as Commanding Officer of RCAFPatricia Bay, British Columbia.

FlightLieutenant B.D. Hobbs received the Distinguished Service Order, Awarded as perLondon Gazette of 20 July 1917, the Distinguished Service Cross as per LondonGazette of 22 June 1917, and a Bar to his DSC as per London Gazette of 30 Nov1917. As an RCAF Group Captain he was made an Officer - Order of the BritishEmpire, while serving at RCAF Station Patricia Bay, as per Canada Gazette of 16June 1945 and AFRO 1127/45 dated 6 July 1946. Governor General's Records (RG.7Group 26, Volume 59, file 190-I, dossier 7 has citation. “Group Captain Hobbshas served with distinction throughout an extensive period of war service. AsCommanding Officer of RCAF Station, Patricia Bay, he has carried out his dutiesin an exemplary manner. At all times he has given his best to the service andall personnel under him have profited by his experience, good judgement andfine leadership. This officer's record throughout his career has beenoutstanding. By his splendid devotion to duty, initiative and efficiency he hasrendered highly meritorious service to the Royal Canadian Air Force.”

Hobbs died on 28 November 1965 in Montreal andis buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Sault St Marie, Ontario. (Wikipedia)

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