View Full Version : Shagbat

Agaricus bisporus
21st Apr 2004, 16:07
Back in the '70s there were rumours of a Supermarine Walrus or Seagull still flying in the Oz outback. Any knowledge? Has another of these wonderful beasts been revived since?

21st Apr 2004, 17:09
Never heard that one (though stories abound about Col Pay flying his Spitfire without the knowledge or consent of thos ein charge... course, I don't believe them:) )

Dick Melton's Shagbat G-RNLI (formerly a road-going Caravan would you believe!) is in progress, though I understand the project is for sale... Keep it here!

Edited to say: Hendon's Walrus is a Seagull and came from Aussie civil at some stage... maybe that's the one...?

21st Apr 2004, 17:58
Yep, sounds like VH-ALB now at Hendon.

In the 1960s, a Walrus Mk.1 appeared on the Australian civil register as VH-ALB. The aircraft was former RAAF A2-4, which in the 1960s flew joy flights from Seaford on Pt. Phillip Bay. It was entry 48 in the Dec.1969 - Jan. 1970 England-Australia Air Race, entered and piloted by A.E. Parkes of Sydney, NSW, and crewed by B.A. Watson of Mt. Pritchard, NSW, L.A. Ashenden of Como West, NSW and J.L. Nichols of Queenscliffe, NSW. It failed to finish, and was subsequently sold in the UK.

An example of the Walrus is in the care of the RAAF Museum, Point Cook, Vic., and is one of four survivors in the world. It is serial HD874 - the same aircraft wrecked by the Antarctic storm in 1947. It was recovered from the Antarctic in 1980 and stored until restoration began in 1993.

24th Apr 2004, 21:12
The machine in the RAF Museum was a seagull originally. The fuselage and wing centre section (inc engine) were refurbished by EWAU at Wyton. That's where it was converted into a Walrus, with the engine turned round to a 'pusher'. The wings were restored at Cardington, but only to ground display standard.

Peter Shepherd was OC Standards at Yeovilton at the time; he tried his level best to swap that machine for the one in the FAA Museum - he wanted to get the thing flying. He offered the RAF Museum his machine refurbished in exchange, but the then RAF Museum director wouldn't have it - he firmly believed that no historic ac should be flying.

25th Apr 2004, 13:50
Erm, turn a Seagull IV's motor about you would get a tractor. Seagull looked very much the same as the Shagbat. Now the Sea Otter... Also used by RAN FAA.

25th Apr 2004, 18:02

I can assure you that the engine on Seagull V VH-ALB (ex- A2-4) was facing backwards when it came out of the back of one our 53 Squadron Belfasts at Brize Norton on delivery from Australia.

I wonder who tried to convert it into a Sea Otter?

25th Apr 2004, 20:23
Hi all,
Been reaseaching the Seagull V and Walrus for a book I'm working on. (note no advert, despite the fact that I LOOSE money on this venture!)

A2-4 is was, and will remain a Seagull V. The differences between Seagull V and Walrii are minor. 24 Seagull V were built, all for Australia, and differ only in minor equipmnt fit and Seagulls having Handley Page slats on the upper wings. The jury struts inboard of the mainplanes were removable on the Seagull V, when the wings were spread, but were often left in situ, as the Walrus' were fixed.

Engine ALWAYS pointed aft. Sometimes the early props could be reversed with - as they say - hillarious consiquences, until the prop bolt holes were arranged to stop this stunt.

HD874 was built as a Mk.II (alegedly with a wooden hull, like all Mk.II Walrii) but has a metal hull now, which is the hull it had when wrecked on Heard Island.

VH-ALB / A2-4 was the airworthy machine mentioned at the start of the thread. Not only did it 'fail to finish' it also failed to reach the start, due to a landing accident, which damaged the hull, and resulted, eventually in the RAF Mausoleaum nailing it down. It's a great restoration however, and very well presented. Sad that only G-RNLI is our only hope of a flyer, and while Dick Melton has a complete kit, he told me that he wants to sell it as he's to old to finish it. As no-one in the UK is prepared to pay the price Dick's asking, it may go abroad. I don't care where, s long as it flies!

Fourth machine is the Fleet Air Arm Museum's example, - Ex Irish Air Corps, and only surviving Walrus that was hijacked...


Agaricus bisporus
27th Apr 2004, 16:06

By whom?

27th Apr 2004, 21:06
Ah, you'll have to buy the book, won't you! ;)

By a discontented Irish Air Corps pilot. He didn't get far (in a Shagbat, who's suprised?) and was sent back home (from wartime England IIRC) under arrest. More at the FAAM, and in the Profile by Aeroplane Montly, and the EXCELLENT book by GWR Nicholl - The Supermarine Walrus - well worth tracking down.

Shagbat stories are legion. How about a Shagbat airliner taking up to ten? (But only in Papua New Guinea, where the passangers were - shall we say - smaller and lighter than a strapping jack tar!)

There's a fair amount out on the web - there'll be more once I've got the website going too - so have a browse.

Last piece of trivia. It took the dunking of the RN CinC in Scapa Flow in the thirtiesby landing a Shagbat with the wheels down to result in the instillation of the u/c warning horn shortly after... The first a/c u/c warning horn.


29th Apr 2004, 17:57
Well, I had no idea what a Shagbat was.............

but hope you like the pic of the Walrus at Pt. Cook, Vic - just seeing it was a pleasure!


30th Apr 2004, 07:23
Wow! That hits one in the eye this early in the morning!:ok:


5th May 2004, 15:16
So the Shagbat has scored a few firsts then:

1. First RAF aircraft to have a fully enclosed cockpit
2. First RAF aircraft to have retractable undercarriage
3. First aircraft to have an U/C warning horn

(First two off the plaque at the RAF Museum.)

Any more for this wonderful old machine?

6th May 2004, 09:04
Rather a lot (more) actually.

However I don't have the proof text of my book to hand, not GWR Nicholls' which tells the story wonderfully. One point to bear in mind that the Walrus was one of the few W.W.II a/c to be in service in the same mark from 39 until 45. Unlike another Supermarine product we might mention!

Bizzare fact: One was towed to Murmansk after the convoy PQ17 was scattered, while the Walrus from HMS Norfolk was airborne. The crew returned to the Rondezvous to find no ships. Norfolk had tried contacting them by W/T but without luck. Our brave fliers found a merchantman who they landed alongside who then towed and then carried the Warus to Russia.

I was looking at the papers in the National Archives (formerly the PRO) arguing over who was to pay and how much for the Russians to have this aircraft. A spare engine was dispatched, but after going around India and Arabia made it (overland) to Russia. Not surprisingly, the final fate of this a/c is unknown!

Biggest 'error' is to put the ASR Walrii in the Battle of Britain. Due to a shortsighted attitude, the RAF assumed the RN would look after downed pilots. (They were a bit busy.) The Germans actually had a full ASR system with rescue planes, rescue floats et al in 1940, even though they'd not really expected to fighting over the channel. The Walrus joined the ASR 'team' in 1941.

For a few pics of the four surviving Walrii, have a look at
here (http://community.webshots.com/user/buchonalia)

James K

10th May 2004, 01:20
I have a B&W photo of VH-ALB in Darwin, I assume on its way to the Air Race in the 60's, siting next to a PBY-5A-I think. All I need is some help to post it -Please? PM me. It is on a floppy and is about 360kb- scaned from the orignal.
I have memories of my late father telling me of two -'two winged seaplanes' being dumped in storm bay at the mouth of the river derwent here in Hobart. He said they were funny, in that the engines faced backwards, and could not understand how that worked.

Agaricus bisporus
10th May 2004, 16:32
1946, thanks for that. For help on posting pics take a look on the Rotorheads forum, they're a friendly and helpful lot and they'll give you a hand I'm sure. Can't wait to see your pics!

Is there a prospect of one of these gems getting airborne?

11th May 2004, 22:13
Flying Walrii.

In theory all four survivors could (hem) be made airworthy. Engines are a problem (those navy boys have been Pegasus bagging for the last 40 years, and not left many scraps for the rest of us...)

Dick Melton's machine, G-RNLI is partway rebuilt (to airworthy signed off standard) and is a complete kit, avec engine, but he's decided to call it a day, and want's to sell up. Buyers? Not so far, sadly.

I would love to see one go. At v. v. best it won't be for a while yet.

1946- please PM me to discuss details!

Anyone else interested in more Walrus info share etc, feel free to do likewise.

James K

13th May 2004, 23:37
Photo as promised
Hopefuly this will work---