Yes, not the humped quadruped, but a Camel from Sopwith. Or in this case, from the sub contracted manufacturer Ruston.
The ‘Scarf & Goggles’ blog says:
“The completion of Ruston’s 1000th Camel was felt to warrant some celebration, with the result that this aircraft, serial number B7380, was delivered on 25 January 1918 wearing an astonishing and unique livery.”
Here’s a photo of the real thing, for those who might doubt it ever really existed.
Egyptology, which peaked later in the 1920s thanks to the discovery and promotion of Tutankhamen’s tomb, was a topic for enthusiasts in the 1910s. Here, Colonel J S Ruston was the inspiration for the scheme applied to Camel B7380:
“…christened Wings of Horus … the representation of the Horus as Heru-Behutet fitted the character of the Camel perfectly: this being an ancient god who wrought ‘such violence that [his enemies] became dazed, and could neither see where they were going, nor hear, the result of this being that they slew each other, and in a very short time they were all dead.’”
The Paper Warbirds site here, adds more:
“As legend has it, the magician Thoth transformed Horus into a winged sun disk. In this incarnation Horus Bhedudet flew ahead of the chariot of Ra, smiting the minions of the evil God, Set, with his magical gaze.
Delivered to the front in January 1918, B7380 is thought to have never seen combat. B7380 returned to the UK in February that year. It was put to work along the length and breadth of Britain, towing behind it a large banner with the slogan ‘Buy War Bonds’. Following the war, it remained in use at Martlesham in the UK as a combat trainer.”
Note that Ruston also ensured there’d be no mistaking which maker this Camel had been built by, with ‘Ruston’ on the cowling and underwing surfaces.
Though the Camel was sent to France, it seems it was returned to Home Establishment (‘HE’, or Britain) to avoid painting over the unique scheme. The end of the aircraft, after its use in training doesn’t seem to have been recorded. Thanks to the unnamed model maker for bringing this aircraft to colour, any further information most welcome!
James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.