Bristol F.2b Fighter Type 17



Bristol F.2b Fighter type 17 L-70




  Bristol F.2b Fighter Type 17  -  "Bristol 300"

 Single engine twin-seat observation aircraft 

In order to equip two newly established reconnaissance units within the IIIrd Groupe (N° 8 and 9 Squadrons) the Belgian Government ordered 15 reconditioned Bristol Fighters Type 17 aircraft fitted with a 300hp Hispano Suiza 8Fb engine. The aircraft were delivered between October 1921 and July 1922 by the Aircraft Disposal Company (ADC) (unit price: 800£ each) and were ferried from Croydon to Evere with temporary British civil registrations:

G-EAYQ ex-RAF H1389 c/n 5106  Sold: 13 Oct 1921
G-EBAK ex-RAF H1291 c/n 5008 Sold: 29 Dec 1921
G-EBAL ex-RAF H1292 c/n 5009 Sold: 02 Mar 1922
G-EBAM ex-RAF H1240 c/n 4957 Sold: 25 Feb 1922
G-EBAT ex-RAF H1242 c/n 4959 Sold: 28 Jan 1922
G-EBAU ex-RAF H1244 c:n 4961 Sold: 15 Feb 1922
G-EBBD ex-RAF D7842 c/n 3492 Sold: 28 Jan 1922
G-EBBO ex-RAF H1258 c/n 4975 Sold: 11 Mar 1922
G-EBCU ex-RAF E2058 - arr. Evere: 06 May 1922
G-EBCV ex-RAF H1281 c/n 4998 Sold: 12 July 1922
G-EBCW ex-RAF H1245 c:n 4962 Sold: 18 Jul 1922
G-EBDB ex-RAF E5219 - Sold: 12 Jul 1922
G-EBDN ex-RAF H927 - Sold: 12 Jul 1922
G-EBEE ex-RAF H926 - Sold: 18 Jul 1922
- Possibly also G-EASU, G-EASV as replacement aircraft for one or two machines having been destroyed on or prior to delivery).
- Unfortunately no correspondence with Belgian military registrations is known at the moment.

Once accepted by the Technical Services of the Aviation Militaire Belge they were coded B-3 to B-17 (B-1 and B-2 being the Rolls Royce Falcon III powered "Royal" Bristol F.2b Fighter Type 14) and operated by the 3 reconnaissance squadrons of the IIIrd Group based at Evere airfield. With the restructuring of 29 May 1923 the aircraft type letter became "L" instead of "B" thus becoming L-3 to L-17. Also in 1923, further aircraft arrived when the Bristol Aeroplane Co (Filton) delivered 16 newly-built Hispano-engined Type 17A (s/n’s 6223 to 6238). They were given British Certificate of Airworthiness numbers 623 to 638 on June 6th, 1923. On arrival in Belgium they were given the serial numbers L18 to L33. In the meantime the user squadrons N°s 7, 8 and 9 of the IIIrd Group were renumbered 1st, 2nd, 3rd Squadrons and a new unit was added, N° 4 squadron all belonging now to the IVth Group. In Belgian military service the Brisfits were usually known as the Bristol 300 (because of the 300hp Hispano engine).

As of 1925, no less than forty Bristol F.2b Fighter Type 17A Mk. IV were produced locally by the Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques (Sabca) which used pattern aircraft G-EBCN c/n 6223, a Type 17A delivered by Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton on Jan 31st, 1923. These Belgian produced Brisfits received the military registrations L-34 till L-73. After further restructuring efforts in the wake of the Locarno Treaties (formally signed in London on December 3rd, 1925) only two squadrons equipped with Bristols were maintained: N° 9 Squadron (Winged Dragon) and 11 Squadron (Marabou) of the IV Group of the 1st Regiment (9/IV/1Aé and 11/IV/1Aé). As the result of this downgrading too many Bristol Fighters were available and it was decided to transfer a number of these aircraft to the Ecole de Pilotage (Pilot School) of Wevelgem were they soldiered on until 1929/30 when all Bristol's were withdrawn from use in the Aéronautique Militaire Belge.

Meteorological flights: During the mid-twenties an aircraft took off each day from Evere (Bristol Fighter) and Goetsenhoven (type  unknown?) for a meteorological flight, a tin box containing the recording and measuring devices being fitted between the wings. On completion of the flight the crews would land, put the recording tapes in a weighed tube and take off again towards the Royal Meteorological Observatory at Uccle (Brussels), on arrival they threw the tube on to the grass around the observatory.(D. Brackx)

Picture  Serial C/N Date In Date Out History
B(L)-3 - Aug 1922 Jun 1925 Type 17, B-3, L-3, Recce units Evere, accident on 28 Apr 1925 at Evere
B(L)-4 - Aug 1922 - Type 17, B-4, L-4, Recce Units Evere, fate unknown.
B(L)-8 - Sept 1922 - Type 17, B-8, L-8, Recce Units Evere, fate unknown.
B(L)-10 - Aug 1922 Sep 1922 Type 17, E2058 (RAF), G-EBCU, B-10, Fatal crash at Rotterdam on 10 Sep 1922.
L-20 - 1923 May 1926 Type 17A, Recce Units Evere, fatal crash at Ukkel on 20 May 1926.
L-28 - Jun 1923 Mar 1924 Type 17A, Recce Units Evere, crashed at Evere on 9 Feb 1924.
L-35 - Jan 1926 - Type 17A Sabca built, L-35, Recce units Evere, fate unknown
L-44 - Mar 1926 - Type 17A Sabca built, L-35, Recce units Evere, fate unknown
L-45 - Feb 1926 - Type 17A, Sabca built, L-45, Recce Units Evere, Pilot School Wevelgem
L-53 - Feb 1926 - Type 17A Sabca built, Pilot School Wevelgem.
L-54 - Feb 1926 - Type 17A Sabca built, L-54 ,Recce units Evere, fate unknown
L-55 - Feb 1926 Aug 1928 Type 17A Sabca Built, L-55, Recce Units Evere, Pilot School Wevelgem, Crashed at Wevelgem in Apr/May 1928.
L-64 - Dec 1926 Apr 1927 Type 17A Sabca built, L-64, Recce units Evere, accident Feb/Mar 1927 at Evere.
L-69 - Dec 1926 - Type 17A Sabca built, L-69, Pilot School Wevelgem
L-70 - Dec 1926 - Type 17A Sabca built, L-70, Pilot School Wevelgem
Bristol Fighter Pilots
 Pilot Eduard Tollet in the cockpit of a Bristol 300

Bristol F.2b Fighter Type 17 B-4 "66"on public viewing
  at the Royal Army Museum, Brussels

Fifty-three pictures taken by Yves Duwelz on June 24th, 2012.
Bristol F.2b Fighter Type 14 E2581/13 on public viewing at the
Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Forty-three pictures taken by Yves Duwelz on June 13th, 2012
Bristol F.2b Fighter Type 14 E2466/I on public viewing at the
Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, U.K.

Seventeen pictures taken by Yves Duwelz on June 12th, 2012






Last updated 31/08/15 08:22   Daniel Brackx