SUPERMARINE WALRUS PROPELLER
On display is a propeller used on the Supermarine Walrus clearly illustrating the unusual arrangement of having two propellers bolted together. This ancient looking flying boat might not seem like it belongs on a page of World War Two aircraft, but the Walrus, affectionately known as a Seagull, served throughout the World War Two until production of this aircraft ceased in 1944. The Walrus was designed by R.J. Mitchell of the same Supermarine Company that manufactured the famous Spitfire fighter.
The Spitfire itself was actually developed from a floatplane design which the company had used to win the Schneider Cup.
The Walrus was a highly innovative aircraft which first flew in 1933 and was the first British military aircraft to be built with a fully enclosed cockpit and retractable undercarriage (the wheel wells can are just visible under the lower wings). This aircraft was used very successfully for search and rescue and many South African Air Force pilots who were forced to bale out over the Mediterranean Sea, were rescued by a Walrus aircraft. Although the South African Air Force as such did not operate the Supermarine Walrus, many of these aircraft were in fact flown by SAAF pilots seconded to the Royal Air Force or in some cases, by South African Nationals flying in the Royal Air Force. The Walrus appeared in South African skies during 1942/43 as they formed part of the equipment operated by the British Fleet Air Arm who used these aircraft to patrol and monitor the convoys anchored outside South Africa’s Harbour ports as well as convoys sailing around the South African coast.