SE 5A A2-31
Great Britain presented thirty-five SE 5A aircraft, along with other aircraft and equipment, to the Australian Government as part of the Imperial Gift, recognising the nation's contribution to the Empire's defence during World War I. During World War I, the Australian Flying Corps operated SE 5A aircraft in the fighter role over the Western Front with much success. The Imperial Gift aircraft were allocated to No 1 Flying Training School (1FTS) at Point Cook. Pilots flew the SE 5A in the later stages of their training courses, and students on the first 'B' course in December 1925 only flew the locally-converted dual-seat trainer for a couple of landings before soloing on single-seat aircraft.
During their seven years of flying, ten SE 5A aircraft were lost due to crashes and another fourteen airframes were never assembled. By 1928 most of the SE 5A's were showing their age and were not only obsolete, but had been entirely rebuilt. They were considered to be beyond economical use and were disposed of in March 1928, being replaced by the Bristol Bulldog.
The RAAF Museum's SE 5A is an exact replica built by AJD Engineering in Britain. A2-31 was an aircraft of the Imperial Gift that entered service at 1FTS in October 1922, after being stored at No 1 Aircraft Depot. In November 1928, A2-31 was damaged at Point Cook when it taxied into DH 9 A6-16, and was again damaged in December of that year in a forced landing. The aircraft remained in service until February 1929, before being destroyed by fire in June 1929.
The only surviving original SE 5A in Australia is A2-4, which is in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.