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Supermarine Walrus

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Designed by R.J. Mitchell the Walrus flying boat played a vital role in the rescuing of downed aircrew in the English Channel and North Sea. Serving in the Fleet Air Arm until 1956 the Supermarine Walrus would serve in a number of crucial roles.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
21st June 1933
Entered service
September 1936
Total built

Front view
Walrus front view photo
Side view
Sorry, no view photo available
Rear view
Walrus rear view photo

The Walrus had its roots in the Supermarine Seagull Mk V which had little in common with the Seagull Mk III, the major changes included metal replacing wood to build the hull of the plane. J 'Mutt' Summers flew the prototype on the 21st June 1933 and an order for twenty four aircraft was placed for use with the Royal Australian Navy, with the first Seagull Mk V becoming operational over three years later during September 1936. Meanwhile a prototype Seagull Mk V was delivered to Felixstowe on the 29th July 1933 for trials by the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment which resulted in Specification 2/35 being issued just under two years later during May 1935 followed three months later with the plane being named the Supermarine Walrus.

The following March saw the first two Walrus aircraft completed and these were at first also sent to Felixstowe before going to Calshot and Lee-on-Solent for pilot and observer training respectively. Built to specification 37/36 the Walrus Mk I was powered by the 620-hp Bristol Pegasus IIM2 and orders were placed during 1936 for this aircraft, although production of the aircraft was later given to Saunders Roe Ltd to allow Supermarine to focus solely on production of the Supermarine Spitfire. The Walrus Mk II saw the wooden hull returning and 775-hp Bristol Pegasus VI engines power the plane.

By the time the Second World War (1939 - 1945) broke out the Walrus had been delivered to many of the various different types of ships serving with the Royal Navy as catapult flights before all being merged as No. 700 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm during January 1940. The Supermarine Walrus's other roles with the RN included communication flights, depth charge attacks and spotting for the ship's guns.

The Walrus also served with the Royal Air Force where it was used to rescue downed aircrew and built a reputation to take a lot of punishment and bearing in mind a lot of these missions were undertaken in mined waters or under attack the achievements of No. 277 Squadron in rescuing 598 aircrew is impressive.

By the time production ended in 1944 740 Supermarine Walrus's had been built and the last Walrus to be scrapped by the Royal Navy was done so in 1956.

Technical Details

Click on the aircraft image to view a larger version.

Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Walrus Mk I 135 mph 600 miles 18,500 ft two or three 0.303-in machine-guns
and either 600lb bombs or
two depth charges
Walrus Mk II 135 mph 600 miles 18,500 ft two or three 0.303-in machine-guns
and either 760lb bombs or
two depth charges


Click on a photo to view a larger version.
Walrus Mk I

See This Aircraft

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Walrus Mk I Fleet Air Arm Museum

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