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WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

Article about: Great item! Here is one I photographed at RAF Cosford Museum. Cheers, Ade.

  1. #1

    Default WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Hello Folks -

    From a previous thread, Steven encourage d me to post these photos of a Hythe Camera Gun used for training British and US (not sure on the French) during the Great War. I picked this up quite a few years ago and apologize for the quality of the photos as they were taken at that time.

    It is complete and in quite nice shape. I have always wanted to try it out, but well, you know how those projects go. I have a reproduction set of sights to complete the proper 'finish' on and also an original US 1919 Air Service Bulletin on its operation. The grips are stamped RFC and I believe "C-1" but will have to check.

    The gun operated, and was the same weight as an original Lewis, by aiming at another aircraft and pulling the trigger. The resulting images (see below) were then evaluated after being developed. There was a pin that perforated each negative and could only be reset after changing (removing and replacing) the magazine. The pin kept the trainee honest. Of course all this was while in flight. The plane below is a JN-4 Jenny.

    Also included some period photo

    Thanks for looking!

    - Best regards, MikeS
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    Last edited by MikeS0000; 03-07-2010 at 02:12 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Mike,

    Thank you for a fantastic posting of a rare aviation component, and great information on the operation. Fascinating item...I am jealous in a healthy kind of way.

    BTW...I am glad you found this section, and I would like to offer you a warm welcome here!
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  3. #3

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Mike-
    That is an outstanding artifact from the Great War! Truly rarer than hen's teeth & yours is cased to boot...

    Does the container have any markings on it?

    I've been looking for period images of the Hythe gun camera in use for quite a while. I never did have any luck finding such photos, until now Thanks for posting those images!

    What I did find, however, was this image of another Hythe camera while researching on the internet. I have no idea who's collection it is in but it sure is nice!

    Steve-

    The images were taken in a strip format & in sequential order. This training device was equipped with twelve exposures of 2" X 2" film that had preprinted circles to indicate whether or not the trainee had actually scored a "hit" (see 'Echoe of Eagles' by Charles Woolley, pg. 67).
    Here's a quick link to the above reference:
    Amazon.com: Echoes of Eagles: A Son's Search for His Father and the Legacy ofAmerica's First Fighter Pilots (9780451213068): Charles Wooley, Bill Crawford: Books

    Check out the price...a penny! 1 cent! And that's for either a hardcover copy or if you prefer, a paperback. Wow. It's a spectacular price for a great book.

    -Chuck
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    Last edited by CThomas; 03-07-2010 at 02:43 AM. Reason: Forgot to add the image...

  4. #4

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Great Camera! - Here's a few more pics from one of my albums. Last one is not related per se', but from the squadron of which the gun camera photos were taken during practice.

    DJ
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  5. #5

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Many thanks Chuck and Dennis for the follow-up posts.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  6. #6

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Dennis-

    Great examples of what I was talking about! I should point out that yours appear to be clipped/individual frames whereas my examples are in a strip format.

    In regards to your 96th Aero Squadron Breguet XIV, I just realized the image you posted has Captain Summersett trimmed off. He should have been far right (closest to the camera).

    James A. Summersett was CO of the 96th AS from 9-14-18 till Armistice (source:Wings of Honor, pg 180).

    -Chuck
    Last edited by CThomas; 03-07-2010 at 02:59 AM. Reason: name correction

  7. #7

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Very good eye - I cropped him out of the image because his face had been colored over in blue ink in this photo and in another one. He was not well liked by several pilots he commanded including my pilot whose pics were posted from his album.

    Dennis

  8. #8

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Quote by MikeS0000 View Post
    Hello Folks -

    From a previous thread, Steven encourage d me to post these photos of a Hythe Camera Gun used for training British and US (not sure on the French) during the Great War. I picked this up quite a few years ago and apologize for the quality of the photos as they were taken at that time.

    It is complete and in quite nice shape. I have always wanted to try it out, but well, you know how those projects go. I have a reproduction set of sights to complete the proper 'finish' on and also an original US 1919 Air Service Bulletin on its operation. The grips are stamped RFC and I believe "C-1" but will have to check.

    The gun operated, and was the same weight as an original Lewis, by aiming at another aircraft and pulling the trigger. The resulting images (see below) were then evaluated after being developed. There was a pin that perforated each negative and could only be reset after changing (removing and replacing) the magazine. The pin kept the trainee honest. Of course all this was while in flight. The plane below is a JN-4 Jenny.

    Also included some period photo

    Thanks for looking!

    - Best regards, MikeS
    Wasn't this camera up for sale on eBay recently?

  9. #9

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Quote by Croix de Guerre View Post
    Wasn't this camera up for sale on eBay recently?
    Many thanks Gentlemen!

    Steve - Thank you for the 'Welcome.' I study/collect mostly WW1 Era materials. However, it's always spilling over into other periods.

    Croix de Guerre - Not this one. It has been in my collection for ~10 years or so. Haven't seen another on ebay, but if you have the item # I would be interested in checking it out.

    Chuck - Yes, there is a painted over stencil on the top of the storage crate. It is "MKIII H - 1164". So it would appear the crate is for camera gun 1164The images are from my collection, if you would like copies I'd be glad to send them along.

    Below is a photo (much better than the others, of the grip markings: RFC-1 over a Broad Arrow. Thoughts on the '1'?

    - Best regards! Mike
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    Last edited by MikeS0000; 03-07-2010 at 09:14 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: WW1 Brit/US Hythe Camera Gun

    Mike-
    Thank you for posting these additional scans & information. I don't know about the '1' but I do know the British used the upward pointing broad arrow also to mark uniform items such as caps & jackets/blouses. It seems to be some sort of proof mark.

    I would love to take you up on your offer of sending me the higher res scans. I'll send you a PM shortly. Thanks!

    -Chuck

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