Canadian Warplanes 4: Saunders Roe A.27 London flying boat

Saunders Roe A.27 London

(Air Ministry Photo)

Saro London flying boat (Serial No. K5911), of No. 204 Squadron Royal Air Force, c1930s.

The Saunders Roe A.27 London was a British military biplane flying boat built by the Saunders Roe company. Only 31 were built, entering service with the Royal Air Force in 1936. Although due for replacement by the outbreak of the Second World War, they saw some active service pending the introduction of the ultimately unsuccessful Lerwick. Four RCAF airmen were lost in in London flying boats: RCAF Flying Sergeant Gerald Waldo Gates and RCAF Sergeant Roy Robert Wright were killed in a flying accident (KIFA) in Saro (Serial No. K5913), on 12 Sep 1941, and two Canadians serving in the RAF were KIA in Saro Mk. II (Serial No. K9682), on 14 Sep 1940.

The A.27 London was designed in response to the Air Ministry Specification R.24/31 issued for a "General Purpose Open Sea Patrol Flying Boat" and was based on the Saro A.7 Severn. The London and its contemporary, the Supermarine Stranraer, were the last multi-engine, biplane flying-boats to see service with the RAF. The design utilized an all-metal corrugated hull and fabric-covered wing and tail surfaces, with two Bristol Pegasus II radial engines, mounted on the upper wing to keep them clear of spray while taking off and landing.

The first prototype first flew in March 1934 and then went on to serve until 1936 with 209 and 210 Squadrons RAF at RAF Felixstowe and Gibraltar respectively.

Gradually, the Londons' duties were assumed by newer aircraft such as the Lockheed Hudson, while squadrons flying Atlantic and Mediterranean patrols were re-equipped with Short Sunderlands. Some Londons were transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force. All were withdrawn from front-line duties by the middle of 1941. (Wikipedia)

(IWM Photo, CH 1922)

Saro London Mk. II (Serial No. K5910), coded BN-L, of No. 240 Squadron RAF based at Sullom Voe, Shetland Islands, in flight over the North Sea.

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