Herbert Smith (aircraft designer)

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Herbert Smith
Born (1889-05-01)1 May 1889
Bradley, North Yorkshire
Died 1977 (1978) (aged 88)
Nationality British
Occupation Aircraft designer
Known for Sopwith Camel
Commemorative plaque displayed at the town hall in Skipton

Herbert Smith CRAeS (1 May 1889 – 1977) was a British aircraft designer.

Smith was born in Bradley, North Yorkshire, England, on 1 May 1889. As a youth, he attended Keighley Boys Grammar School, in West Yorkshire. Smith subsequently attended Bradford Technical College, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1907.[1]

A Sopwith Camel, one of the aircraft designed by Smith

Smith started his career with the Yorkshire machine-tool manufacturers Dean, Smith & Grace,[2] then became a draughtsman with Northampton lift manufacturers Smith, Major and Stephens.[1] In March 1914, Smith joined the Sopwith Aviation Company as a draughtsman. Later that year, he became Sopwith's chief engineer.[3] Smith went on to design the Pup, Triplane, Camel, and Snipe. He worked for the Sopwith firm until it dissolved in October 1920.

In February 1921 the Mitsubishi Internal Combustion Engine Manufacturing Company in Nagoya invited Smith, along with several other former Sopwith engineers to assist Mitsubishi in creating an aircraft manufacturing division.[4] After moving to Japan, they designed the 1MT, B1M, 1MF, and 2MR.[4] Smith returned to England in 1924 and retired from the aviation industry.


  1. ^ a b Platt 2012, 43.109
  2. ^ Crampton 1975, p. 228.
  3. ^ Robertson 1970, p. 116.
  4. ^ a b Peattie 2001, p. 24.


  • Crampton, John. "Herbert Smith--Aircraft Designer." Air Pictorial: Journal of the Air League of the British Empire, Volume 37, 1975.
  • Peattie, Mark. Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941. Annapolis, MD: US Naval Institute Press, 2001. ISBN 1-55750-432-6.
  • Platt, Robin. “Herbert Smith, Aircraft Designer Par Excellence.” Cross & Cockade International, Summer 2012. [1]
  • Robertson, Bruce. Sopwith – The Man and His Aircraft. London: Harleyford, 1970. ISBN 0-900435-15-1.