View Full Version : Yet Another Mystery Plane Quiz - 4 Dec

4th Dec 2003, 10:11
Here is another mystery plane. (http://users.erols.com/rcarpen/Q8.JPG)

The experts should get it right away.

Maybe I need to get even fuzzier photos.


4th Dec 2003, 14:11
a Supermarine Walrus maybe ?

4th Dec 2003, 14:20
Is it a Sea Otter? I guess Walrus would be too obvious, wouldn't it?

4th Dec 2003, 14:55
My guess is a Walrus. It looks as if it has a pusher prop - I think that the Sea Otter had a tractor prop.

4th Dec 2003, 16:06
And on this subject, which was the first aeroplane in RAF service with rereactable undercarriage and enclosed cockpit. Maybe it's too easy posting this question here?!

4th Dec 2003, 16:35
Supermarine Walrus. Yes, Sea Otter had a tractor prop. R. J. Mitchell (he of Spitfire fame) - one of his best designs!

It's in pre-war colours, wearing a sash which in a clearer picture (hem) would identify which FAA unit it was serving with.

As for the undercarriage thing, the prototype was landed wheels down on the water with the C in C of the Norther Fleet aboard before the war, and turned turtle. All including the pilot(!) recovered OK, including the a/c. However the reasons for the accident were several, including 1 - a requirement when flying over land to have the chassis in the 'down' position and 2) the accident resulted in the much loved claxon warning! As for retractable - it should read 'fully retractable' as several of Supermarine's previous amphibians (as well as Vickers examples) hadd undercarriages that could be swung up out of the way of the water, but they never bothered 'stowing' them out of the slipstream!

- I'm writing a book on the Walrus as you may guess...

4th Dec 2003, 17:35
JDK: Were any of the earliest Walruses actually operational with the RAF, as opposed to the Fleet Air Arm? Most were assigned to capital ships for fleet reconnaissance, and presumably on FAA strength. The Walrus didn't really come into its own with the RAF until it was adopted for ASR duties after the start of WW2. In which case, I'd vote for the Blenheim and Wellesley being the RAF's first operational aircraft with enclosed cockpits and fully retractable undercarriages.

4th Dec 2003, 19:43

when I looked into this I got two references - Walrus and seagul. Is there a difference?

4th Dec 2003, 20:09
I went to an aviation lecture earlier in the year by Nick Berryman who, during ww2, was on ASR duties flying the Walrus and Spitfire. He would be sent out after a reported ditching in the Spitfire which had been modified to carry a lift raft which could be dropped to the ditched pilot. After finding pilot and dropping raft he would return to base, pick up the Walrus and return to rescue the pilot. A fascinating evening about a little known but still vital aspect of ww2 aviation.

4th Dec 2003, 20:16
I'm nearly positive that it's a Walrus. That was the answer I expected. As I said, an easy one. The picture was cropped from one of the plane flying over Gibraltar. My reference says that the Walrus entered service in 1936. It certainly looks like it was designed 10 years earlier.

I'll try for better photos in the future.


4th Dec 2003, 20:20
This is going to wander into hair-splitting territory! First - I dint say dat... Lots of people do though! First Br Mil a/c p'haps...

However - the Seagull V (the Walrus pre-cursor) for the Australians was tested by the RAF for the RAAF at Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment (staffed I believe by the RAF). The Walrus (basically the Seagull V for the British - the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm) was ordered at this point.

They were issued to the FAA for use aboard Royal Navy carriers, but in the thirties, the FAA was RAF staffed in groundcrew etc!

So... Probably not RAF.

However, what I think is interesting is that wind-up wheels got back to the 1920s - it's just that they weren't stowed!


4th Dec 2003, 20:23
Quick bit of Googling, the Seagull was the Aussie name for the Walrus - the example in the RAF Museum at Hendon is a Seagull, and I believe has an VH- identity.

JDK, any idea how Dick Melton is getting on with G-RNLI in deepest Norrrrfolk?

4th Dec 2003, 20:32
Hi Seecue,
It's DEFINITELY a Walrus. To answer the Q's...

OK. The Walrus was the British version of the Seagull V designed and built for the Australians by Supermarine. 24 Seagull Vs were made - they have Handley Page slats on the upper wings, A2-xx serial numbers, and a jury strut at the inner end of the mainplanes which was removeable when the wings were spread (but they weren't always removed, so it's not a certain ID point).

The Walrus was exacly the same as a Seagull V apart from those points (jury strut being fixed) serials were standard RAF / RN (e.g. K1234) The Aussies ended up with Walruses to replace lost Seagulls, which retained the name and the non Aussie serial. That is the short version of the explanation!

And! Seagull I & II much earlier wooden amphibs, the III was the version for Australia of the II, the IV never happened, the Seagull V 'became' the Walrus I and the Walrus II was a Saro built wooden hulled version of the I. Then there was the Sea Otter, and finally the Seagus ASR.1 a monoplane amphib with a Griffon, variable incidence wing with slats, slots, flaps etc. As amazing looking as you'd expect.

See http://community.webshots.com/user/buchonalia for some of my Walrus pics.

4th Dec 2003, 20:41
Ah yes, the Seagull ASR.1 - up there with the Mallard and Sealand as the best looking amphibs! :ok:


4th Dec 2003, 20:46
Hi Tredigraph,
To split hairs, as the Seagull V came first, the Walrus was a very close derivitive of the Seagull V... But what you've put is broadly most people's understanding!

G-RNLI - PM me and I'll be happy to share - but basically Mr Melton's got a complete kit, partly done and is looking for a buyer, as he wants to retire 'properly'!

A2-4 at the RAF Museum was a VH- reg Seagull, indeed. Meanwhile, at Point Cook in Aus, is Walrus HD874. Rather a poetic swap I feel!

5th Dec 2003, 03:24
My very first Airfix kit was a Walrus. I was too young to do much of it myself, so my father did most of the work. It hung from my bedroom ceiling for years.

My R.E teacher was a Walrus pilot during the B.O.B and used to tell us many stories about picking downed aircrew up from the channel....much more interesting than R.E!

5th Dec 2003, 10:36
Surprised nobody has mentioned it's wonderfull nickname - SHAGBAT. Does anybody know what it means?

A google doesn't reveal much, except another name I hadn't heard before - STEAM CHICKEN .

5th Dec 2003, 16:30
Loki: I wonder if your teacher got religion before or after making open-sea landings in a Walruses?

5th Dec 2003, 17:40
Ah, yes, Walrii nicknames. Shagbat, the most popular one, is that of "a mythical bird that flies in ever decreasing circles until the inevitable conclusion..." I think it may have originally been a reference to it's Fleet shot spotting role when it would have flown in circles and figure 8s over and over again.

'Steam Pigeon' is apposite, and 'Flying Gas Ring' came from the sight of the exhaust on the radial at night.

My favourite storry, in Laddie Lucas' Wings of War book, is of a US officer seeing a Walrus parked on a North African airfield. He got driven round it in a Jeep, and after close inspection said: "Jesus Christ. Now I've seen everything!"

There were quite a few US aircrew who were VERY pleased to see a Shagbat from a watery point of view in the Channel, 1943 - 45...

Loki, I'd say your teacher probably got religion DURING the rescues - I would! It probably wasn't BOB period though. That's what most people think, but ASR only really got going with Walruses (after using Defiants and Lysanders) in late 40 and from 41 onwards. I'm not saying your teacher was wrong, just that's what everyone thinks - Channel = 1940...

There's a great book called 'Another Kind of Courage' by Norman Franks on the ASR Sqns. HIGHLY recommended. Your teacher may be in it. Sadly OP now. However, a sequel, by Franks has just come out covering the Med ASR Sqns.


5th Dec 2003, 17:57

My Boy's Bumper Book of RAF Aeroplanes says the Shagbat first entered service with the RAF in 1934. How does that compare with your records?

I agree it would be lovely to see one in the air. Will the book be a good one worth buying? Will it make enough money to pay for the restoration to airworthy condition of the Melton example? Sorry, forgive the tongue in cheek questions.



6th Dec 2003, 17:51
No problem, thanks for the Q's! In order -

The Seagull V entered service with the RAAF before the British, though the prototype was being 'evaluated' by the RN using RAF facilities as well as RN in '34. So... Another example of the Aussies being ahead of the Poms? I like to think so!

As Aerohack pointed out, the Walrus didn't really enter RAF (rather than RN FAA) service until W.W.II, so it's not quite an RAF first. British military, yes, I think.

I too would love to see one in the air - and hear it too. Aparently, due to the 4 blade wooden pusher-prop passing the exhaust, they had a unique 'beat' to their sound. Rather like the Boxkite at Old Warden, I think it's a 'got to be seen to be believed' type!

I'd like to think the book will be worth buying! (But then, I wrote it!) The book will be the most accurate technical information & photos on the Walrus published since the original handbook - a grand claim, but there's been very little on the Walrus published, and much of that the old chestnuts repeated. GWR Nicholls' book 'The Supermarine Walrus' (1967, Foulis) will remain the best history of operations and stories - that is until I get to produce the second book intended for 2005/6 on the whole Walrus story. But that depends on sales of the first book! No adverts here, so have a google for 'Kightly walrus stranraer' for info!

Will it make enough money to pay? No! I'm making no money myself, and there's none left once we publish it (we plough profits back) but let's just say I'm seeing what I can do to help get G-RNLI into the air. Once I've got any more to say, I'll say it, so watch this space (or pm me!)
Thanks for the interest,