Walkaround - Supermarine Walrus L2301

Walkaround - Supermarine Walrus L2301
FAA Museum / Yeovilton
November, 7th, 2018.

The iconic Supermarine Walrus is one of the most recognazable amphybian airplanes of the World War II. It played a distinguishable role as both, spotter and rescue airplane. Some will remember the Walrus mounted on catapults of cruisers and battleships of the Royal Navy, others will remember of its services while rescueing airmen in North Atlantic or South Pacific oceans... Whatever is the case, the Walrus is not sang as it should.

(Credit: unknown)

This is a walkround I made during a visit to the Fleet Airm Arm 
Museum in Yeovilton, UK in 2018. The museum is located 7 miles (11 km) north of Yeovil, and 40 miles (64 km) south of Bristol. There are not many Walrus in museums out there and, as far as I can tell, none of them is in flying condition. This one, L2301, is one of the aircraft flown by the Irish Air Corps before being bought back by the Fleet Air Arm after the war for use as a training aircraft. Of particular interest is an episode during 1942, when this particular aircraft was stolen by Irish National in an attempt to join the Luftwaffe (see below).

The L2301 history log reads as follows (source: FAAM):

1939  Built at Woolston, Southampton for the Fleet Air Arm to Specification 37/36, contract 5344422/36.  Diverted prior to issue to Irish Army Air Corps
24/02/1939 First flight wearing 'B' condition markings; Serial N18 applied
03/03/1939Set off for Baldonnel, Dublin along with L2302 and L2303 still wearing 'B' markings, forced landed on water off Wexford coast, wings damaged, crew Lt Quinlan and Lt Higgins, stored in Wexford and completed journey by road.
09/01/1942 Four Irish nationals stole the aircraft and attempted to fly it to Cherbourg to join Luftwaffe. Escorted into St Eval by RAF Spitfires, aircraft and its crew returned under guard to Ireland.
1943Noted wearing camouflage; Based at Rineanna (Shannon Airport) with 1st Sqdn IAAC on west coast patrols.
Sold to Aer Lingus
22/08/1945Allocated EI-ACC, does not appear to have been used by Aer Lingus.
1946Up for sale.
11/1946bought by Wing Cmdr RG Kellet for 615 (County of Surrey) Sqdn RAuxAF as a squadron hack for £150.
12/12/1946Registered as G-AIZG
03/1947Ferried from Dublin to Biggin Hill via Croydon for customs by Flt/Lt FB Sowrey and Kellet, used for bathing parties along south coast by sqdn members.

1949Noted on dump at Thame in Oxfordshire.
1963Recovered by Historic Aircraft Preservation Society, bought by two members (Snaddon and Fisher) for £5 and handed over to FAAM.
01/1964 Moved to RNEC Arbroath for restoration.
06/06/1966Handed over to FAAM.
06/12/1966Arrived at FAAM.

In case you don't know, the Walrus was designed by RJ Mitchell himself, the famed engineer who designed the Supermarine S6.B and the celebrated Spitfire. Its first flight took place in 1933 with production ceasing in 1944.

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. RAF air-sea rescue squadrons were deployed to cover the waters around the United Kingdom, the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Over a thousand  aircrew were picked up during these operations, with 277 Squadron responsible for 598 of these

General views:









Besides its use as catapulted spotters, their low landing speed meant they could make a carrier landing despite having no flaps or tailhook. After serving in the Royal Navy, Irish Air Corps, Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force, the last Walruses were retired in 1954.

(Credit: Wikipedia Creative Commons)
I hope you find these photos useful somehow. If you have any interesting information about the history of this aircraft, please drop me a line.

Rato Marczak © 2018