Henry’s exploits are also immortalised in the 1:48 scale Corgi Aviation Archive Collector Series AA38101 Sopwith Camel Diecast Model.


Henry Botterell was born on 7 November 1896 in Ottawa, Ontario the son of a civil servant. In the years immediately prior to the outbreak of war in Europe, he worked with the Bank of North America (today the Bank of Montreal).  In 1916 he successfully applied to be a civilian flying trainee and was consequently dispatched to England for relevant training.  At around this time his older brother was killed in action while serving with the Toronto 48th Highlanders in France.

On 16 May 1917, then aged 20, Botterell (referred to as "Nap" on account of his apparent likeness to Napoleon) enlisted with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) in the capacity of Probationary Flight Officer.  His early flight experiences - with No. 8 Naval Squadron - were hardly encouraging: on only his second flight with the RNAS on 18 September 1917 he crash-landed his Sopwith Pup at Dunkirk shortly after take-off, sustaining multiple injuries.  A six month spell of recuperation in hospital was followed by a medical discharge from the RNAS.

En-route to Canada for repatriation Botterell ran into a number of his former No. 8 Naval Squadron colleagues in London in the spring of 1918 who in turn arranged for Botterell to be sent to Manston in Kent in order to re-qualify as a pilot.  10 hours of refresher training later Botterell was approved to start flying once more and was promptly despatched to Serny on the Western Front where he rejoined No. 8 Naval Squadron, renamed in his absence as 208 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

During his service, Botterell flew a variety of planes, including the Sopwith (Pup, Camel and Snipe), the RE8, the SE5, the Claude Grahame-White and the Maurice Farman. He logged 251 combat hours.

After the armistice (by then a Flight Lieutenant), and following a further year with the RAF, Botterell returned to Canada - in the process arranging to smuggle, in three separate parts, the 9ft propeller of his Snipe aircraft.

After his return to Canada, Botterell never flew again except on commercial flights. He returned to his work at the Bank of Montreal as Assistant Chief Accountant, initially in Quebec and then in Montreal, eventually retiring in 1970.  With the advent of the Second World War Botterell served once more, this time in command of an air cadet squadron at Lachine in Quebec.

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