During World War I, the lumbering Reconnaissance Experimental 8 was the most widely used British two-seater biplane on the Western Front. A descendant of the R.E.7, it was initially developed for reconnaissance work but also saw service as a bomber and ground attack aircraft. Nicknamed the "Harry Tate," after a well known music hall performer of the day, it provided a stable platform for photographic missions but suffered from poor maneuverability, leaving it vulnerable to attack by enemy fighters. Despite heavy losses, the R.E.8 remained in service throughout the war.
On the morning of 13 April 1917, 59 Squadron's ill fated flight of six R.E.8s was on a photo-reconnaissance mission near Douai when it encountered Jasta 11. All six R.E.8s were shot down within a matter of minutes, one of them becoming Manfred von Richthofen's forty first victory.
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 Specifications
Royal Aircraft Factory
Royal Aircraft Factory 4a, 12 cylinder,
air-cooled, inline V, 150 hp