Supermarine Walrus

The Supermarine Walrus (originally known as the Supermarine Seagull V) was a British single-engine amphibious biplane reconnaissance aircraft designed by R. J. Mitchell and first flown in 1933. Designed for use as a fleet spotter to be catapult launched from cruisers or battleships, the Walrus was later employed in other roles, notably as a rescue aircraft for aircrew in the sea. The Walrus continued in service throughout the Second World War, with the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). It was the first British squadron-service aircraft to incorporate in one airframe a fully retractable main undercarriage, completely enclosed crew accommodation and all-metal fuselage.[2]

Walrus
Supermarine Walrus
Supermarine Walrus, 1935
Role Amphibious reconnaissance aircraft
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Supermarine
Designer R. J. Mitchell
First flight 21 June 1933[1]
Introduction 1935
Primary users Royal Navy
Irish Air Corps
Royal Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Produced 1936–1944
Number built 740
Developed from Supermarine Seagull

Development

Supermarine Walrus SLV AllanGreen
Supermarine Walrus I, serial number K5783, from the first production batch. Photo taken between 1937 and 1939.

The Walrus was initially developed as a private venture in response to a 1929 Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) requirement for an aircraft to be catapult-launched from cruisers and was originally called the Seagull V, although it only resembled the earlier Supermarine Seagull III in general layout. Construction was started in 1930 but owing to other commitments Supermarine did not complete the aircraft 1933.

The single-step hull was constructed from aluminium alloy, with stainless-steel forgings for the catapult spools and mountings. Metal construction was used because experience had shown that wooden structures deteriorated rapidly under tropical conditions.[3] The wings were slightly swept back and had stainless–steel spars, wooden ribs which were covered in fabric.[4] The lower wings were set in the shoulder position with a stabilising float mounted under each. The elevators were high on the tail-fin and braced on either side by N struts. The wings could be folded, giving a stowage width of 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m). The single 620 hp (460 kW) Pegasus II M2 radial engine was housed at the rear of a nacelle mounted on four struts above the lower wing and braced by four shorter struts to the centre-section of the upper wing. This powered a four-bladed, wooden pusher propeller. The nacelle contained the oil tank, arranged around the air intake at the front as an oil cooler; electrical equipment and had a number of access panels for maintenance. A supplementary oil cooler was mounted on the starboard side.[4]

Fuel was carried in two tanks in the upper wings.[4] The pusher configuration had the advantages of keeping the engine and propeller further out of the way of spray when operating on water and reducing the noise level inside the aircraft. The propeller was safely away from any crew standing on the front deck, when picking up a mooring line.[5] The engine was offset by three degrees to starboard, to counter any tendency of the aircraft to yaw, due to unequal forces on the rudder caused by the vortex from the propeller. A solid aluminium tailwheel was enclosed by a small water-rudder, which could be coupled to the main rudder for taxiing or disengaged for takeoff and landing. Although the aircraft typically flew with one pilot, there were positions for two. The left-hand position was the main one, with the instrument panel and a fixed seat, while the right-hand seat could be folded away to allow access to the nose gun-position via a crawl-way.[6] An unusual feature was that the control column was not fixed in the usual way but could be unplugged from either of two sockets in the floor. It became a habit for only one column to be in use; when control was passed from the pilot to co-pilot or vice versa, the control column would simply be unplugged and handed over. Behind the cockpit, there was a small cabin with work stations for the navigator and radio operator.[6]

Armament usually consisted of two .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine guns, one each in the open positions in the nose and rear fuselage; with provision for carrying bombs or depth charges mounted beneath the lower wings. Like other flying boats, the Walrus carried marine equipment for use on the water, including an anchor, towing and mooring cables, drogues and a boat-hook.[6] The prototype was first flown by "Mutt" Summers on 21 June 1933; five days later it made an appearance at the SBAC show at Hendon, where Summers startled the spectators (R. J. Mitchell among them) by looping the aircraft.[7] Such aerobatics were possible because the aircraft had been stressed for catapult launching. On 29 July Supermarine handed the aircraft over to the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe. Over the following months extensive trials were carried out, including shipborne trials aboard Repulse and Valiant carried out on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy and catapult trials carried out by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, becoming the first amphibious aircraft in the world to be launched by catapult with a full military load,[8] piloted by Flight Lieutenant Sydney Richard Ubee.[Note 1]

The strength of the aircraft was demonstrated in 1935, when the prototype was attached to the battleship Nelson at Portland.[9] With the commander-in-chief of the Home Fleet, Admiral Roger Backhouse, on board the pilot attempted a water touch-down, forgetting that the undercarriage was in the down position.[Note 2] The Walrus was immediately flipped over but the occupants only had minor injuries; the machine was later repaired and returned to service. Soon afterwards, the Walrus became one of the first aircraft to be fitted with an undercarriage position indicator on the instrument panel.[10] Test pilot Alex Henshaw later stated that the Walrus was strong enough to make a wheels-up landing on grass without much damage (he also commented that it was "the noisiest, coldest and most uncomfortable" aircraft he had ever flown).[11]

When flying from a warship, the Walrus would be recovered by touching-down alongside, then lifted from the sea by a ship's crane. The Walrus lifting-gear was kept in a compartment in the section of wing directly above the engine. A crewmember would climb onto the top wing and attach this to the crane hook. Landing and recovery was a straightforward procedure in calm waters but could be very difficult if the conditions were rough. The usual procedure was for the parent ship to turn through around 20° just before the aircraft touched down, creating a 'slick' to the lee side of ship on which the Walrus could alight, this being followed by a fast taxi up to the ship before the 'slick' dissipated.[12]

An elephant pulling a Supermarine Walrus aircraft into position at a Fleet Air Arm station in India, June 1944. A24291
An elephant pulling a Supermarine Walrus aircraft into position at a Fleet Air Arm station in India (c. June 1944).

The RAAF ordered 24 examples of the Seagull V in 1933, these being delivered from 1935. Production aircraft differed from the prototype and the aircraft flown by the RAF in having Handley-Page slots fitted to the upper wings.[13] The first order for 12 aircraft for the RAF was placed in May 1935; the first production aircraft, serial number K5772, flying on 16 March 1936.[14] In RAF service the type was named Walrus and initial production aircraft were powered by the Pegasus II M2; from 1937 the 750 hp (560 kW) Pegasus VI was fitted. Production aircraft differed in minor details from the prototype; the transition between the upper decking and the aircraft sides was rounded off, the three struts bracing the tailplane were reduced to two, the trailing edges of the lower wing were hinged to fold 90° upwards rather than 180° downwards and the external oil cooler was omitted.[15]

A total of 740 Walruses were built in three major variants: the Seagull V, Walrus I and the Walrus II. The Mark IIs were constructed by Saunders-Roe and the prototype first flew in May 1940. This aircraft had a wooden hull, which was heavier but economised on the use of light metal alloys.[16] Saunders-Roe license-built 270 metal Mark Is and 191 wooden-hulled Mark IIs.[16] The successor to the Walrus was the Supermarine Sea Otter, a similar but more powerful design. Sea Otters never completely replaced the Walrus and both were used for air-sea rescue during the latter part of the war. A post-war replacement for both aircraft, the Supermarine Seagull, was cancelled in 1952, with only prototypes being constructed. By that time, air-sea rescue helicopters were taking over from small flying-boats.[17] The Walrus was known as the "Shagbat" or sometimes "Steam-pigeon"; the latter name coming from the steam produced by water striking the hot Pegasus engine.

Operational history

HMS Bermuda aircraft
Supermarine Walrus being launched from the catapult of HMS Bermuda, 1943

The first Seagull V, A2-1, was handed over to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1935, with the last, A2-24 delivered in 1937. The type served aboard HMA Ships Australia, Canberra, Sydney, Perth and Hobart. Walrus deliveries to the RAF started in 1936 when the first example to be deployed was assigned to the New Zealand division of the Royal Navy, on Achilles– one of the Leander-class light cruisers that carried one Walrus each. The Royal Navy Town-class cruisers carried two Walruses during the early part of the war and Walruses also equipped the York-class and County-class heavy cruisers. Some battleships, such as Warspite and Rodney carried Walruses, as did the monitor Terror and the seaplane tender Albatross.

By the start of World War II the Walrus was in widespread use. Although its principal intended use was gunnery spotting in naval actions, this only occurred twice: Walruses from Renown and Manchester were launched in the Battle of Cape Spartivento and a Walrus from Gloucester was used in the Battle of Cape Matapan.[18] The main task of ship-based aircraft was patrolling for Axis submarines and surface-raiders and by March 1941, Walruses were being deployed with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) radars to assist in this.[18][19] During the Norwegian Campaign and the East African Campaign, they also saw very limited use in bombing and strafing shore targets.[20] In August 1940, a Walrus operating from Hobart bombed and machine-gunned an Italian headquarters at Zeila in Somalia.[21] By 1943, catapult-launched aircraft on cruisers and battleships were being phased out; their role at sea was taken over by much-improved radar. Also, a hangar and catapult occupied a considerable amount of valuable space on a warship. However, Walruses continued to fly from Royal Navy carriers for air-sea rescue and general communications tasks. Their low landing speed meant they could make a carrier landing despite having no flaps or tailhook.[22]

Air-sea rescue

Walrus carrier landing
A Walrus lands on a Royal Navy carrier in the Indian Ocean, after rescuing under fire a pilot shot down while attacking Japanese positions on the Nicobar Islands

The Walrus was used in the air-sea rescue role in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The specialist RAF Air Sea Rescue Service squadrons flew a variety of aircraft, using Spitfires and Boulton Paul Defiants to patrol for downed aircrew, Avro Ansons to drop supplies and dinghies, and Walruses to pick up aircrew from the water.[19] RAF air-sea rescue squadrons were deployed to cover the waters around the United Kingdom, the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Bengal.[23] Over a thousand aircrew were picked up during these operations, with 277 Squadron responsible for 598 of these.[24]

Experimental use

In late 1939 two Walruses were used at Lee-on-Solent for trials of ASV (Air to Surface Vessel) radar, the dipole aerials being mounted on the forward interplane struts. In 1940 a Walrus was fitted with a forward-firing Oerlikon 20 mm cannon, intended as a counter-measure against German E-boats. Although the Walrus proved to be a stable gun-platform, the muzzle flash rapidly blinded the pilot, and the idea was not taken up.[25]

Other users

CSIRO ScienceImage 3030 Aerial view of oyster beds
Aerial view of oyster beds at Narooma, New South Wales, from RAAF Supermarine Seagull V, A2-9, 1939

Three Walruses N.18 (L2301), N.19 (L2302) and N.20 (L2303) were to be delivered on 3 March 1939, and used by Irish Air Corps as maritime patrol aircraft during the Irish Emergency of World War II.[23] They were scheduled to fly from Southampton to Baldonnel Aerodrome, Ireland. N.19 made the trip successfully, but N.20 had to be rerouted to Milford Haven and N.18 and its crew of two (LT Higgins and LT Quinlan) were left with no choice but to go down during high seas causing damage to the hull. N.18 ditched near Ballytrent, just south of the former United States Naval Air Station, Wexford. It was decided to tow the N.18, with help of the Rosslare Harbour lifeboat and a local fishing boat to the launch slip once used for the Curtiss H-16s during WW1. It was then loaded on a truck to complete its journey to the Baldonnel Aerodrome where it was repaired. The Supermarine Walrus N.18 (also identified as L2301) is currently on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, England and is one of only surviving 3 aircraft of the type.

A Walrus I was shipped to Arkhangelsk with other supplies brought on the British Convoy PQ 17. After sustaining damage it was repaired and supplied to the 16th air transport detachment. This sole Walrus flew to the end of 1943.[26] After the war, some Walruses continued to see limited military use with the RAF and foreign navies. Eight were operated by Argentina, two flew from the cruiser La Argentina as late as 1958.[27] Other aircraft were used for training by the French Navy's Aviation navale.[27]

Civil use

Walruses also found civil and commercial use. They were briefly used by a whaling company, United Whalers. Operating in the Antarctic, they were launched from the factory ship FF Balaena, which had been equipped with a surplus navy aircraft catapult.[27] The aircraft used were slightly modified; they were fitted with electrical sockets to power the electrically heated suits, worn by the crew under their immersion suits. A small, petrol-burning cabin heater was fitted to help keep the crews comfortable during flights that could last over five hours.[28] A Dutch whaling company embarked Walruses, but never flew them.[27] Four aircraft were bought from the RAAF by Amphibious Airways of Rabaul. Licensed to carry up to ten passengers, they were used for charter and air ambulance work, remaining in service until 1954.[29]

Variants

Seagull V
Original metal-hull version.
Walrus I
Metal-hull version.
Walrus II
Wooden-hull version.

Operators

RNZAF Walrus NZ158
Supermarine Walrus, seaplane training flight of RNZAF, c. 1944/45

Military operators

Supermarine Walrus Argentine Navy (4446497743)
Argentine Navy Walrus MK-IV on board cruiser "La Argentina", San Francisco, 1940
 Argentina
 Australia
 Canada
 Egypt
 France
 Ireland
 New Zealand
 Soviet Union
 Turkey
 United Kingdom

Civilian operators

 Australia
  • Amphibious Airways
 Canada
  • Kenting Aviation[34]
 Netherlands
  • Two aircraft were embarked on board of whaling ship Willem Barentsz
 Norway
 United Kingdom
  • United Whalers

Surviving aircraft

SupermarineSeagullRAFMuseumLondonJan2007
The RAF Museum's Seagull V, 2007
Supermarine Walrus HD 874 on display at the RAAF Museum
Walrus HD874 at the RAAF Museum, 2010
Supermarine Walrus I N2301 (G-AIZG) (6858967069)
Walrus L2301 at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, 2011

Three examples survive in museums in addition to one that is privately owned.

Wreckage that is thought to be that of the Walrus assigned to the cruiser HMAS Sydney was photographed when the wreck of the vessel was rediscovered in 2008.[35]

Seagull V A2-4
One of the original Australian aircraft, and now on display at the Royal Air Force Museum London. Built in 1934, it arrived in Australia in early 1936 where it was initially allocated to No. 101 Flight RAAF, which shortly afterwards became No. 5 Squadron RAAF. Before the war, it had various duties, which included survey work and flying from HMAS Sydney. It served for most of the war with No. 9 Squadron RAAF in Australia. In 1946, it was sold to civilian owners and allocated the civil registration VH–ALB. During the 1950s and 60s, it was flown by several Australian private owners before being badly damaged in a takeoff accident in 1970 at Taree, New South Wales. The vandalised, derelict wreck was subsequently acquired from its owner by the RAF Museum, in exchange for a Spitfire and a cash payment.[Note 3] In 1973, it was flown back to the United Kingdom by an RAF Short Belfast via the Pacific and the United States, although the aircraft had to be fumigated in Hawaii due to the discovery of Black widow spiders. Restoration immediately began after its arrival at the RAF Museum store at RAF Henlow and it has been on display at the museum's London site (Hendon) since 1979.[36]
Walrus HD874
This aircraft is on display at the Royal Australian Air Force Museum. It was originally flown by the Fleet Air Arm, before being transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1943. During the war, HD874 was flown by the RAAF's No. 9 Squadron and No. 8 Communication Unit. Post-war, it was placed in storage until 1947, when it was issued to the RAAF's Antarctic flight, for use on Heard Island. The Antarctic Flight only flew it once before it was badly damaged by a storm. It was recovered in 1980, and restored between 1993 and 2002.[37]
Walrus L2301
The Walrus displayed at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yeovilton is a composite aircraft, constructed using the fuselage and engine of Walrus L2301. Built in 1939, this aircraft never flew in British military service. It was delivered to the Irish Air Corps, who flew it during World War 2,[38] when it carried the Irish designation N.18. During its delivery flight, on 3 March 1939, it suffered engine failure and later hull damage from ditching in the high seas. The aircraft was towed to the former launch strip for the Curtiss H-16s at the United States Naval Air Station, Ireland. On 9 January 1942 N.18 was stolen by four Irish nationals who intended to fly to France to join the Luftwaffe. However, they were intercepted by RAF Spitfires and escorted to RAF St Eval; the aircraft and its occupants were returned to Ireland.[38] After the war, it was transferred to Aer Lingus and given the Irish civil registration EI-ACC. However, the Irish airline never flew it and instead sold it to Wing Commander Ronald Gustave Kellett in 1946 for £150[38](equivalent to £10,000 in 2018, when adjusted for inflation).[39] It was given the British civilian registration G-AIZG and flown until 1949 by members of No. 615 Squadron RAF for recreation.[38] In 1963, it was recovered from a dump at Haddenham airfield (formerly RAF Thame)[40] by members of the Historic Aircraft Preservation Society. They presented it to the Fleet Air Arm Museum who restored it between 1964 and 1966, it has been an exhibit at the Fleet Air Museum since then.[38]
Walrus W2718 (G-RNLI)
This aircraft was at one time part of the collection of Solent Sky,[41] an air museum in Southampton. The museum began restoring the aircraft to flying condition. Later the project was sold to James Lyle and the restoration restarted in 2011 at Vintage Fabrics, Audley End, Essex.

Specifications (Supermarine Walrus I)

Supermarine Walrus
9 Sqn (AWM 044443)
A Seagull V embarked on the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart, 1939

Data from Supermarine aircraft since 1914[42], Supermarine Walrus I & Seagull V Variants[43]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 37 ft 7 in (11.46 m) on wheels
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 10 in (13.97 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 3 in (4.65 m) on wheels
  • Wing area: 610 sq ft (57 m2)
  • Empty weight: 4,900 lb (2,223 kg)
  • Gross weight: 7,200 lb (3,266 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,050 lb (3,651 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Pegasus VI 9-cylinder air-cooled radila piston engine, 750 hp (560 kW)
  • Propellers: 4-bladed wooden fixed-pitch pusher propeller

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 135 mph (217 km/h; 117 kn) at 4,750 ft (1,448 m)
  • Cruise speed: 92 mph (148 km/h; 80 kn)
  • Alighting speed: 57 mph (50 kn; 92 km/h)
  • Range: 600 mi (521 nmi; 966 km) at cruise
  • Service ceiling: 18,500 ft (5,600 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,050 ft/min (5.3 m/s)
  • Time to altitude: 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 12 minutes 30 seconds
  • Wing loading: 11.8 lb/sq ft (58 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.094 hp/lb (0.155 kW/kg)

Armament

or 2x 250 lb (110 kg) bombs
or 2x 250 lb (110 kg) Mk.VIII depth charges

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

Notes

  1. ^ Later, the commander of experimental flying at Farnborough and an Air Vice Marshal
  2. ^ Backhouse was being flown back from a conference in London: cloud cover forced the flight to be made at a low altitude, and then-current regulations required the undercarriage to be lowered when flying at less than 2,000 ft
  3. ^ Spitfire Mk. XVI TE384 and Australian $5,000. The Spitfire was eventually restored to flying status.

References

Citations

  1. ^ Kightly and Wallsgrove 2004, p. 11.
  2. ^ Brown 1972, p. 25.
  3. ^ Brown 1972, p.28.
  4. ^ a b c Flight (1934), p.299
  5. ^ Flight (1934), p. 298.
  6. ^ a b c "Supermarine Walrus Manual". Seawings. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
  7. ^ Mitchell, 2006, p.135
  8. ^ Kightly and Wallsgrove 2004, p. 10.
  9. ^ Nicholl 1966 p.26.
  10. ^ Mitchell, 2006, p.136
  11. ^ Shelton, John (30 June 2012). "Mitchell's Walrus – 'he looped the bloody thing'". R J Mitchell and Supermarine. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  12. ^ Nicholls 1966, p.48.
  13. ^ Nicholls 1966, p.29.
  14. ^ Thetford 1982 p.321.
  15. ^ Nicholls 1966 p.29.
  16. ^ a b London 2003, p. 179.
  17. ^ London 2003, p. 232.
  18. ^ a b London 2003, p. 177.
  19. ^ a b London 2003, p. 182.
  20. ^ London 2003, p. 178.
  21. ^ "Italian Advance In Somaliland". The Times (48691). London. 10 August 1942. p. 4.
  22. ^ London 2003, p. 181.
  23. ^ a b London 2003, p. 183.
  24. ^ Nicholls 1966, p.116.
  25. ^ Brown 1972, p.34.
  26. ^ "British aircraft in Russia" by Viktor P. Kulikov, Air Power History, Spring, 2004
  27. ^ a b c d London 2003, p. 213.
  28. ^ Grierson, John (June 1947). "Air-Whaling". Flight. 52 (2011).
  29. ^ Brown 1972, p.47.
  30. ^ Brown 1972, p. 47.
  31. ^ Brown 1972, p. 40.
  32. ^ Kightly and Wallsgrove 2004, p. 116.
  33. ^ Brown 1972, pp. 47–48.
  34. ^ Kightly and Wallsgrove 2004, p. 128.
  35. ^ "P09281.982". Australian War Mamorial. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  36. ^ Andrew Simpson (2007). "Individual History: Supermarine Seagull V A2-4/VH-ALB" (PDF). Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  37. ^ "Supermarine Walrus HD 874". RAAF Museum Point Cook. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  38. ^ a b c d e "Supermarine Walrus (L2301)". Fleet Air Arm Museum. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  39. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  40. ^ Peter Chamberlain. "1945–1963". Haddenham Airfield: A history of a small Buckinghamshire airfield. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  41. ^ Solent Sky Museum
  42. ^ Andrews, C.F.; Morgan, Eric B. (2003). Supermarine Aircraft Since 1914 (2nd Revised ed.). London: Putnam Aeronautical. pp. 141–155.
  43. ^ Brown 1972, p. 48.

Bibliography

  • Cummins, Patrick J. "US Navy Anti-Submarine Operations, US Naval Air Station, Wexford, 1918" Aviation News, Volume 15, No 19, 6–29 Feb 1987
  • Andrews, C. F. and Morgan, E. B. Supermarine Aircraft Since 1914. London: Putnam.,2nd rev. ed. 2003. ISBN 0-85177-800-3.
  • Brown, David. "Supermarine Walrus I & Seagull V Variants". Aircraft in Profile, Volume 11. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications., 1972.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Five: Flying Boats. London: Macdonald & Co., 1962 (5th Impr. 1972). ISBN 0-356-01449-5.
  • "The Supermarine "Seagull" Mark V" (PDF). Flight. XXVI (13): 297–300. 29 March 1934. No. 1318. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  • Hall, Alan W. "Aircraft in Detail: The Supermarine Walrus". Scale Aircraft Modelling Magazine, Vol.8 No.7, April 1986.
  • Kightly, James and Wallsgrove, Roger. Supermarine Walrus & Stranraer. Sandomierz, Poland/Redbourn, UK: Mushroom Model Publications, 2004. ISBN 83-917178-9-5.
  • London, Peter. British Flying Boats. Stoud, UK: Sutton., 2003. ISBN 0-7509-2695-3.
  • London, Peter. "From Seagull to 'Shagbat':The Life and Times of the Supermarine Walrus: Part One – Development and Production". Air Enthusiast, No. 74, March/April 1998. pp. 34–39. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Mitchell, Gordon. R. J. Mitchell – Schooldays to Spitfire. The History Press Ltd., 2006. ISBN 0-7524-3727-5
  • Nicholl, George William Robert. The Supermarine Walrus: The Story of a Unique Aircraft. London, G.T. Foulis, 1966.
  • Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft Since 1912. London: Putnam, 1982 (5th ed.) ISBN 0 370 30021 1

Further reading

  • Núñez Padin, Jorge Felix (2016). Núñez Padin, Jorge Felix (ed.). Viking, Southampton & Walrus. Serie Aeronaval (in Spanish). 34. Bahía Blanca, Argentina: Fuerzas Aeronavales. Retrieved 31 October 2017.

External links

1700 Naval Air Squadron

1700 Naval Air Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy was formed in November 1944 at RNAS Lee-on-Solent as an amphibian bomber reconnaissance squadron. It was equipped with the Supermarine Sea Otter, and the squadron joined HMS Khedive in January 1945 bound for Sulur in India. On arrival the Sea Otters were augmented with Supermarine Walrus amphibian aircraft.The squadron's aircraft were distributed among the escort carriers of the Far East Fleet for air sea rescue and minesweeping duties. By April 1945 aircraft of the squadron were serving in HM Ships Stalker, Hunter, Khedive, Emperor, Ameer, Attacker and Shah. July saw operations at Car Nicobar, and off Phuket Island.

701 Naval Air Squadron

701 Naval Air Squadron was a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm squadron, formed on 24 May 1939, that saw service during the Second World War.

Formed on 15 July 1936 as No. 701 (Catapult) Flight FAA at RAF Kalafrana, Malta by re-designating No. 444 (Fleet Reconnaissance) Flight FAA; 701 Squadron saw action in the Norwegian campaign in mid-1941, and in May six Supermarine Walrus aircraft of the squadron were flown off HMS Glorious to support operations off Harstad. In June 1940 the squadron briefly appeared on HMS Ark Royal, and the squadron was at Reykjavík in October 1940, when they were taken on board HMS Argus.By July 1943, the squadron was attached to No. 201 Group RAF for the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky).

710 Naval Air Squadron

710 Naval Air Squadron (710 NAS) was a Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. 710 NAS was a seaplane squadron that was stood up at RNAS Lee on Solent on August 23, 1939. They were equipped with the Supermarine Walrus flying boat and did multiple deployments onboard HMAS Albatross (1928), a seaplane tender. They performed convoy escort, anti submarine patrols, and air sea rescue services in the Atlantic off the west coast of Africa and in the Indian Ocean, in addition to support roles like pulling target drogues for gunnery practice and aerial photography. The squadron supported Allied landings during Battle of Madagascar in April and remained in the area through November. The squadron did some further work in the Indian Ocean but was eventually sent back to England where it was disbanded on October 14, 1943. The squadron was reformed on October 7, 1944 on the Isle of Man as a torpedo training squadron equipped with Fairey Barracuda and Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers. The squadron was finally disbanded at HMS Urley [RNAS Ronaldsway] on December 20, 1945.

714 Naval Air Squadron

714 Naval Air Squadron was a squadron of the British Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. It was first formed as 714 (Catapult) Flight on 15 July 1936, by renumbering 406 (Catapult) Flight, and operated Fairey IIIF floatplanes from cruisers on the Royal Navy's East Indies Station. The Fairey IIFs were quickly replaced by Hawker Osprey floatplanes and Supermarine Walrus flying boats, and in 1937 these were supplemented by Fairey Seafox floatplanes. By July 1938 it had consolidated on the Walrus as equipment, and in early 1939 it was upgraded to full squadron status. It was disbanded on 21 January 1940, when all the Fleet Air Arm's catapult units were merged to form 700 Naval Air Squadron.The squadron was reformed on 1 August 1944 at RNAS Fearn near Tain, Scotland, as an operational training squadron equipped with the Fairey Barracuda. It moved to RNAS Rattray (HMS Merganser) near Crimond, Aberdeenshire in October 1944. Its commanding officers included Lieutenant Commander J R Godley, who transferred from the disbanded 835 Naval Air Squadron, taking over in May 1945. The squadron disbanded on 29 October 1945.

777 Naval Air Squadron

777 Naval Air Squadron was a Fleet Requirements Unit which was formed in West Africa during the Second World War.

Broadmeadow Aerodrome

Broadmeadow Aerodrome was an aerodrome located at District Park, Broadmeadow, Newcastle, Australia, operating from 1929 to 1963.

The Newcastle Aero Club (NAC) selected a site after careful consideration and began preparations and cleared the land at District Park in 1928, to create a grassed runway. The first aircraft to land at the aerodrome was an Avro 504K, registered as VH-UBC, on 4 September 1929, which had Newcastle's Own painted on one side of the tail rudder and Spirit of Newcastle painted on the other side.

The first Tiger Moth in Australia delivered on 2 June 1935, registered as VH-UTD and named Halycon, was kept at the aerodrome by the NAC.

Early pioneering aviators Charles Kingsford Smith, Jean Batten and Bert Hinkler visited the aerodrome during their flights up and down the east coast of Australia.

During World War II, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) utilised the aerodrome as a satellite aerodrome to RAAF Williamtown. The NAC workshops over-hauled RAAF trainers and manufactured wooden wing-tips for the Mosquito fighter bomber. The aerodrome was also utilised by PBY Catalina, Supermarine Walrus and Dakotas.

After the war ended the NAC purchased a Bellman Hangar from the RAAF and erected it on-site next to its main hangar. In 1953, the Newcastle Aero Club became the Royal Newcastle Aero Club, with permission granted by Queen Elizabeth II. During the 1950s the Club was given notice by the Department of Civil Aviation to relocate from the field at Broadmeadow because the area had become built-up and high television antennae on the perimeter of the field interfered with landing approaches. In 1963, the Club transferred its operations from Broadmeadow to its present airport at Rutherford, Maitland.

HMS Daedalus II

HMS Daedalus II was a British Royal Navy air station and training establishment between 1940 and 1946. The name applied to four different locations with the United Kingdom at various times during the Second World War. The establishment was formed to free up space at RNAS Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus).

The first location was former Royal Air Force (RAF) station at Lympne Airport. This RAF station was taken over by the Fleet Air Arm in July 1939 and commissioned as HMS Buzzard for use as a training establishment for mechanics from HMS Daedalus. It was renamed as HMS Daedalus II in January 1940 but the airfield was transferred back to the RAF in May 1940.

As the airfield in Kent was being transferred back to the RAF an air-sea rescue seaplane base and aircrew training centre was established at the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Sandbanks in Dorset and this base was formally commissioned as HMS Daedalus II on 15 May 1940. 764 & 765 Naval Air Squadrons (NAS) were based there with their Supermarine Walrus, Fairey Swordfish and Fairey Seafox aircraft. This station was also known as RNAS Sandbanks. Concurrently the training establishment formerly at Lympne was moved to Clayton Hall, Newcastle-under-Lyme as a base to train artificers but also retained the name Daedalus II.In 1942 an outstation of the Sandbanks base was opened at RNAS Lawrenny Ferry in Pembrokeshire and 764 NAS was moved there as an operational conversion unit. 764 NAS remained at Lawrenny Ferry until October 1943 when the squadron was disbanded and the base reduced to care and maintenance status.Sandbanks was also reduced to care and maintenance status in October 1943 and 765 NAS was also disbanded. The base at Sandbanks later became part of the landing craft base HMS Turtle.By Christmas 1943, Clayton Hall was the only remaining site of HMS Daedalus II and continued to train aircraft artificers throughout the war until January 1946 when HMS Daedalus II was decommissioned.

HMS Mentor

At least four ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Mentor:

HMS Mentor (1780) was an armed ship of unknown name and 24-guns that the British Royal Navy captured from the Americans in 1778, and that purchasers converted to the Liverpool privateer Who's Afraid. Sir Peter Parker purchased her at Jamaica in 1780 and renamed her HMS Mentor; she was burnt in 1781 during the Siege of Pensacola to prevent the Spanish from capturing her.

HMS Mentor (1781) was an 18-gun sloop, the former Massachusetts privateer Aurora, which HMS Royal Oak captured on 10 July 1781; Mentor foundered off Bermuda after 16 March 1783 with the loss of all hands, including the men she had rescued from HMS Cerberus.

HMS Mentor (1914) was an Hawthorn M-class destroyer launched in 1914. She served on the First Ostend Raid and the Battle of Dogger Bank (1915); she was broken up in 1922.

HMS Mentor (1981) was a tender, sold in 1992.During World War II, the Ministry of Defence took over Lews Castle as accommodation for the air and ground crew of 700 Naval Air Squadron. The squadron operated a detachment of six Supermarine Walrus aircraft from a slipway at Cuddy Point in the Grounds. The base was referred to as HMS Mentor.

Lastly, from 1794 to 1798, the Admiralty employed HM Hired armed ship Mentor. Then on 12 May 1799, Mentor, of 517 tons burthen, twenty-four 9-pounder guns, and 60 men under the command of Gilbert Curry, received a letter of marque.

Lews Castle

Lews Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal Leòdhais) is a Victorian era castle located west of the town of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. It was built in the years 1844–51 as a country house for Sir James Matheson who had bought the whole island a few years previously with his fortune from the Chinese Opium trade. It was designed by the Glasgow architect Charles Wilson.In 1918, the Lewis Estate, including the castle, was bought by industrialist Lord Leverhulme from the Matheson family. He gave the castle to the people of Stornoway parish in 1923.

During the Second World War the Castle was taken over as accommodation for air and ground crew of 700 Naval Air Squadron, who operated a detachment of six Supermarine Walrus aircraft from a slipway at Cuddy Point in the Grounds. The base was referred to as HMS Mentor.

After the war, the Castle was used for accommodation for students of Lews Castle College in the 1950s. After the accommodation closed, the building was left disused for several decades.

The building, which is protected as a category A listed building, is now owned by the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. On 22 November 2011 Lews Castle was awarded £4.6 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable it to be converted into a bilingual museum and cultural centre. In 2016, the ground floor of the castle reopened to the public, including a restored ballroom and a cafe. In 2017, Natural Retreats, a luxury holiday property company, opened apartments in the castle.

No. 275 Squadron RAF

No. 275 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force air-sea rescue squadron that served between 1941 and 1959.

No. 281 Squadron RAF

No. 281 Squadron was a Royal Air Force air-sea rescue squadron during the Second World War.

No. 282 Squadron RAF

No. 282 Squadron was a Royal Air Force air-sea rescue squadron during the second world war.

No. 283 Squadron RAF

No. 283 Squadron was a Royal Air Force squadron that served during the Second world war in the air-sea rescue (ASR) mission role while flying Supermarine Walruses and both in ASR and the anti-submarine patrol role while flying Vickers Warwicks.

No. 293 Squadron RAF

No. 293 Squadron was a Royal Air Force air-sea rescue squadron. During the Second World War the unit operated search and rescue missions for Allied aircraft operating over Italy.

No. 294 Squadron RAF

No. 294 Squadron was a Royal Air Force air search and rescue (ASR) squadron active under RAF Middle East Command. During the second world war the unit operated rescue missions for Allied aircraft and aircrew over the eastern Mediterranean and later the Persian Gulf and Arabian sea.

Scarff ring

The Scarff ring was a type of machine gun mounting developed during the First World War by Warrant Officer (Gunner) F. W. Scarff of the Admiralty Air Department for use on two-seater aircraft. The mount incorporated bungee cord suspension in elevation to compensate for the weight of the gun, and allowed an airgunner in an open cockpit to swivel and elevate his weapon (a Lewis machine gun) quickly, and easily fire in any direction. Later models permitted the fitting of two Lewis guns; while this doubled the firepower available, operation of the paired guns was more cumbersome, and required considerable strength from the gunner, especially at altitude, so that many gunners preferred the original single gun - and this became the postwar standard. In either case, the mounting was simple and rugged, and gave its operator an excellent field of fire. It was widely adapted and copied for other airforces.

As well as becoming a standard fitting in the British forces during the First World War, the Scarff ring was used in the postwar Royal Air Force for many years. Perhaps the last British aircraft to use the mounting was the Supermarine Walrus amphibian prototype.

Scarff was also involved in the development of the Scarff-Dibovsky synchronization gear.

Although it was a seemingly simple device, later attempts to emulate the Scarff ring as a mounting for the dorsal Vickers K in the World War II Handley Page Hampden bomber were failures. Handley Page had designed a carriage with ball-bearing wheels running on a track around the cockpit. Vibration when firing shook the balls out, jamming the mounting.In the 1930s, the Germans developed a similar system called the Drehkranz D 30 (German: "turntable") which was used on a number of German aircraft, most notably the Junkers Ju 52.In British use the Scarff ring was replaced in the 1930s by specialised power-operated turrets such as those made by Boulton Paul or Nash & Thompson, aircraft air speeds having by then risen to the point where a manually-operated gun was infeasible.

Supermarine Sea Otter

The Supermarine Sea Otter was a British amphibious aircraft designed and built by Supermarine; it was a longer-range development of the Walrus and was the last biplane flying boat to be designed by Supermarine; it was also the last biplane to enter service with the Royal Navy and the RAF.

Supermarine Seagull (1921)

The Supermarine Seagull was a British amphibian biplane flying boat developed from the Supermarine Seal by the Supermarine company. The Seagull was constructed of wood. The lower wing was set in the shoulder position and had two bays. The engine was mounted in a nacelle slung from the upper wing and powered a four-blade propeller in tractor configuration. The fuselage had an oval cross-section and had a planing bottom with two steps.

Sydney Richard Ubee

Sydney Richard Ubee, AFC, CB, (1903–1998), Air Vice-Marshal.

In his book "Wings on my sleeve" (page 157 et seq), Eric Brown records his admiration of a number of erstwhile colleagues who deserve recognition:-

"I was fortunate to have such fine C.O.s as Alan Hards, Dick Ubee, Silyn Roberts, and Alan[sic] Wheeler"

Sitter in 4 portraits, and Photographs (one by Elliott & Fry 1951) in the National Portrait Gallery Collection ref:NPG x91562, NPG x86064 and NPG x100225.

Mentioned in THE LONDON GAZETTE, 4 APRIL, 1933 2289

1 OCTOBER, 1937;7 JUNE, 1940; and 23 JULY, 1929.The Supermarine Walrus was the first amphibious aircraft in the world to be launched by catapult with a full military load, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Sydney Richard Ubee.

Ubee was awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC), posted in The London Gazette Supplement for 2 January 1939.Ubee was awarded the CB (Companion of the Order of The Bath (Military Division)) in the 1952 New Year Honours

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