The DH 9A was the first of a long line of general purpose types, of which subsequent replacements were the Westland Wapiti and the Hawker Demon. In 1935 the Demon was designated A1 in the second series of numbers, and in 1960 the Bell Sioux became the third A1.
The DH 9A first came to notice in Australia in 1918 when it was planned to build the aircraft locally. At the time the "Nine-Ack" was the best day-bomber the RAF had in action, and it was proving extremely effective in daylight raids on German towns. However, the Armistice prevented what could have been the start of the Australian aircraft industry.
In 1920, the British Government presented Australia with 128 ex-wartime aircraft, including a number of DH 9As. A few of these aircraft were put into service with the Central Flying School, Australian Air Corps, at Point Cook. In August 1920, two DH 9As (one piloted by the then Colonel R. Williams) successfully uplifted mail for the Prince of Wales, after an abortive attempt by civil planners.
When the RAAF was formed in 1921 the DH 9A was designated A1 and served with No 1 Flying Training School, Point Cook. In 1925, Nos 1 and 3 Squadrons were formed and a flight of DH 9As was allotted to each squadron. The DH 9As participated in bombing and cooperation exercises with the Army, and assisted in survey and rescue flights, until replaced by Westland Wapitis in 1929.
In 1928, Flying Officer Mulrooney won the Sydney Aerial Derby in A1-28, which was specially rigged as a single-seat racer. Another DH 9A, A1-25, created "quite a splash" when it fell into Sydney Harbour in 1928.
TECHNICAL DATA: de Havilland DH 9A
Two-seat day bomber. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
One 400 hp Liberty engine.
Span 14.0 m (46ft); Length 9.22 m (30ft 3in); Height 3.45 m (11ft 4ins).
Empty 1270 kg; loaded 2107 kg.
One Vickers gun forward. One Lewis gun aft. Bomb load 299 kg.
Max speed 185 km/h; Service ceiling 16,500ft (5105 m); Endurance 5.75 hours; Initial climb, 221m (725ft)/min. Back to top