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  Supermarine Walrus I Serial Number X9515  
RAAF
8 CU

Former Assignments
2 CRD
2 FBRD

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Harrison July 8, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Supermarine. On June 10, 1942 assigned to the Royal Navy (RN) as Walrus I serial number X9515 at Saunders Roe, Cowes. Next, assigned to the Royal Air Force (RAF) to 276 Squadron at Harrowbeer. Later, disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia arriving November 2, 1942 at Point Cook and reassembled twelve days later.

Wartime History
On November 14, 1942 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). On December 25, 1942 arrived at Garbutt Field. While taxing, the right wing was damaged when pulling off the runway to avoid an approaching aircraft. Assigned to 5 CF on December 26, 1942. On January 4, 1943 transfered to Horn Island Airfield and attached to Commander Torres Strait Defence Force. On June 11, 1943 assigned to 9 Squadron at Bowen Airfield in exchange for Seagull A2-199 and had an 180 hour inspection and on July 29, 1943 assigned to 6 CF.

On September 30, 1943 this Walrus rescued the crew of Anson DJ322 which had force landed on the beach west of Groote Eylandt. On taking off in the rough sea, the left float was damaged and landed. Both floats were removed and the aircraft took off again and returned to base safely.

On April 7, 1944 assigned to 14 ARD for overhaul. On May 4, 1944 to 2 FBRD. On May 14 , 1944 to Qantas at Rose Bay for a complete overhaul. During July 1944 assigned to 6 Communication Unit (6 CU). On June 1, 1945 to 2 FBRD for overhaul. On June 12, 1945 assigned to 8 Communication Unit (8 CU) based at Madang Seaplane Base.

On July 8, 1945 took off from Madang Seaplane Base piloted by F/O Neil M. E. Agnew with passengers Lt. Johnstone from the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) and two native Polis Bois (native police). This Walrus was escorted by Catalina A24-44 to the Karawari River near the Sepik River to rescue P-38 pilot Lt. John P. Carter who bailed out three days earlier and was injured. The area was in Japanese occupied territory, roughly 95 miles west of Wewak.

The pair flew to Carter's location on the Karawari River which was only 40 yards wide with a 4-6 knot current with numerous logs and other debris floating downstream. Meanwhile, Catalina A24-44 overhead while in the vicinity Beaufort A9-657 piloted by F/L Thomas and Beaufort A9-680 piloted by S/L Dewar both from 100 Squadron covered the rescue by strafing nearby villages and suspect Japanese positions.

After landing, pilot F/O Agnew remained with the Walrus on the Karawari River while the the rescue party led by Lt. Johnstone with the two native police deployed a life raft, paddled ashore and used machetes to clear a path while carrying a stretcher. After locating Carter, they carried him back to the river and loaded him aboard the floatplane. The entire rescue took two hours and was photographed by F/Lt John Thomas Harrison aboard the Catalina. Afterwards, the Walrus successfully took off from the Karawari River and flew to Tadji Airfield.

After returning safely, two photographs were taken of the rescue team and Carter and Polis Bois (native police) and Carter to document one of the most audacious rescued ever carried out by the RAAF.

Postwar
On September 28, 1945 assigned to 2 Central Recovery Depot (2 CRD). On October 12, 1945 placed into storage. On February 2, 1946 assigned to 2 FBRD. On August 14, 1946 offered for sale and placed on tender on September 6, 1946. Final assignment was the maintenance squadron at RAAF Rathmines with a total of 602.20 hours of flight time on the airframe.

Dismantled for road transport and by May 28, 1947 listed for disposal and by August 23, 1948 and authorized for write off. On March 2, 1949 transfered to the auction depot at Rathmines, NSW. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
ADF Serials - A2 Supermarine Seagull & Walrus - Walrus I X9515
RAAF No. 100 Squadron Unit History Sheet July 1-31, 1945
NAA [RAAF formation and unit records:] Operations Records Book No.8 (Rescue and Communication) Unit, 1 February 1944 to 4 March 1946 (NAA: AWM64, 638208)
NAA [Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) miscellaneous records:] RAAF War History Section - War Stand Reports - No. 111 Air Sea Rescue Flight (NAA: AWM66, 102 B)
"6. Aircraft [Catalina] A24-44 (F/Lt Miller) to locate P-38 pilot forced down approximately 10 miles N.E. of Lake Chambri in the Sepik River area. Survivor located in dense kunai grass but nearest river suitable for alighting situated 2 miles away. The pilot was only 1/2 mile from the Kerawari River in which a Seagull could alight. It was then too late in the afternoon for a Seagull to arrive before dusk so the pilot was led towards the river.
7. Aircraft A25-55 (F/Lt. Miller) covered survivor but due to low cloud base the Seagull was unable to locate him and returned to base. It was not possible to carry out another attempt before dusk. Messages were dropped to the survivor keeping him au fait with the the situation. Emergency supplies of food and water were dropped to him and he was led to within 250 yards of the river.
8. Aircraft A24-44 (F/Lt. Miller) proceeded to Awar to lead the Seagull to the survivor's position. This was done and the pilot led out of the kunai by two native police boys. When the rescue was affected enemy held villages along the Sepik River were strafed."
Flight and Aircraft Engineer "R.A.A.F. Air/Sea Rescue - How an American Pilot was Picked Up from Under the Noses of the Japs by a Walrus of the Royal Australian Air Force" August 30, 1945 page 228
Wings: Official Magazine of the R.A.A.F. "Walrus rescues Yank pilot" September 4, 1945 page 18
WW2 Nominal Roll - Clive William Miller, 255140
WW2 Nominal Roll - John Thomas Harrison
NAA Agnew Neil Masson Ewing (NAA: A9300, AGNEW N M E)
WW2 Nominal Roll - Neil Masson Ewing Agnew, 423031
London Gazette page 1076, position 34 - 22 February 1946 [Flying Officer “N.M. Agnew (Aus-42303i)”]
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette - page 490, position 46 - 28 February 1946
RAAF Museum Point Cook - Air-Sea Rescue Units via Wayback Machine January 5, 2018
80th Fighter Squadron Headhunters Association - Headhunter Headlines Vol XVIII, No. 7 February 1, 2008
Thanks to Bob Piper and Edward Rogers for research and analysis

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Last Updated
October 11, 2020

 

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