The extraordinary war/emergency story of one British made Irish flown Supermarine Walrus (L2301)…

Courtesy of Ciaran on Twitter… and the Fleet Air Arm museum in Yeovilton, Somerset... here’s the story of one aircraft which was delivered to the Irish Army Air Corps just prior to the outbreak of World War Two (or The Emergency as you Mexicans call it)…

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
03/03/1939 – set 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, put into 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
1943 – noted wearing camouflage; Based at Rineanna (Shannon Airport) with 1 Sqdn IAAC on west coast patrols
02/08/1945 – sold to Aer Lingus
22/08/1945 – allocated EI-ACC, does not appear to have been used by Aer Lingus
1946 – up for sale
11/1946 – bought by Wing Cmdr RG Kellet for 615 (County of Surrey) Sqdn RAuxAF as a squadron hack for £150
12/12/1946 – registered as G-AIZG
03/1947 – Ferried 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
1948 – retired
1949 – noted on dump at Thame in Oxfordshire
1963 – recovered by Historic Aircraft Preservation Society, bought by two members (Snaddon and Fisher) for £5 and handed over to FAAM
01/1964 – to RNEC Arbroath for restoration
06/06/1966 – handed over to FAAM
06/12/1966 – arrived at FAAM

Thanks again Ciaran…

  • Drumlins Rock

    “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”

    Anyone any info on who the 4 represented? Presume it was the IRA trying to help their Nazi mates again. Wasn’t it generouse of the RAF to let them all back home, including the plane.

  • Mick Fealty

    It might be safer to presume it was airmen bored out of their skulls sitting in a field in Limerick with damn all to do all day.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Could it have been the Irish Army searching for deserters?

  • babyface finlayson

    ‘A lonely impulse of delight, drove to this tumult in the clouds’
    Probably.

  • That I recall from this being on the radio a few years ago, it was one airman who persuaded three engineers to rob the plane with him. Or maybe two and two. Anyway, they were very bored and decided that the Luftwaffe posed the better chance for excitement. There were no Nazi sympathies or – that I recall – no political motivations at all.

    They were spotted by the RAF over South-West England, and were presumed to be Polish and forced down.

    The pilot ended up serving time for the theft and afterwards he joined the RAF and apparently served very well indeed for the tail end of the war.

  • Mick Fealty

    Nice one Ciaran!

  • Mister Joe

    …bored out of their skulls ..

    Reminds me of driving in Donegal a few years ago and two young lads were sitting at the side of the road hitchhiking. They held a sign that said “ANYWHERE”.