P.O. Ronald John Fyfe

and the Saro Lerwick S36


This page is dedicated to my Great Uncle. Roy did not make it through the Second World War. He went missing in Saro S36 Lerwick L7263  WQ-L, on 22 February 1941, flying out of Stranraer in Scotland. He was 29 years old.

A year earlier, the then Flt Sgt Fyfe, had an encounter with the Kriegsmarine on 20th of June 1940 in Lerwick L7260.He made an inconclusive attack on the source of torpedo trails.

Earlier he had  flown in the first Consolidated PBY-4 Catalina P9630 to Invergordon Scotland, on early trials from the M.A.E.E Sea plane base at Felixstowe, Suffolk, England, where he was also stationed 1939.

Pilot Officer, Ronald John Fyfe. 44549.

209 Squadron.

 Ronald Fyfe.jpg (236759 bytes)      209sqdn.jpg (8813 bytes)                 
209 Squadron Crests (Crown copyright)





I have now found a report in the book, CLIPPED WINGS  by Ian & Ralph Ormes.

    February 6th 1941

The 6th was a busy day for the escorting aircraft - 43 in all took part in the watching of no less than thirteen convoys.

On the following day a search for the survivors of the Calafatis was laid on but bad weather prevented the mission. The Calafatis was on a voyage from Philadelphia for Glasgow with a cargo of steel, was sunk by German aircraft on February 4th. 18 died, 13 survived.

The record continues with routine searches by single aircraft from Stranraer but takes a more poignant turn when the search is for a missing Lerwick WQ-L, the aircraft Roy is in. The aircraft was believed to have gone missing in the Sound of Mull and apart from sister aircraft, a Sunderland from Oban joined in. On the 22nd the search intensified and spread to Minches, Firth of Clyde and Sound of Jura. Three Hudson's and a Whitley and a Stranraer (from Lough Erne) joined in. A tug had earlier reported a flare and hopes had risen. On the following day the search was resumed with square searches of the likely areas, again with no result. One Lerwick laid on for the task had to return after eight minutes with engine trouble, doubtless thankful not to have to be looked for in its turn.

WQ-L was finally presumed missing from its escort duty that started the 21st February, on which day nine convoys had been shepherded by a total of 29 aircraft.

Possible position of crash site    5340N 1240W


F/O          Anderson Peter Thomas    84833  Age 25  Panel No 29  RAF Volunteer Reserve
ing Commander      Bainbridge John Edmond    05139   Age 35  Panel No 28  RAF
F/O           Cragg Edmund Franklin     78670   Age ?    Panel No 30 RAF Volunteer Reserve
CPL           Davis William Charles       570228  Age 20  Panel No 55  RAF
Sergeant        Daniell Michael Charles     761087  Age ?   Panel No 74  RAF Volunteer Reserve
Sergeant     Dingle Ronald Leslie        754495  Age 26  Panel No 36  RAF Volunteer Reserve
P/O           Fyfe Ronald John  (Roy)   44549   Age 29   Panel No 32  RAF
Sergeant      Lewis Thomas Owen        970474  Age 20   Panel No 47  RAF Volunteer Reserve
Sergeant      McDonald Jame McIntosh  621572  Age ?    Panel No 47  RAF
eading Aircraftman  McQuitty Albert Edwards 911664 Age 24  Panel No 56  RAF Volunteer Reserve
Sergeant      Taylor Alan Robert        982555  Age ?     Panel No 53  RAF Volunteer Reserve
Sergeant      Tilley William Ernest       51647   Age ?      Panel No 53  RAF
F/O           Turner Richard Patrick    74697   Age 22    Panel No 30  RAF Volunteer Reserve
Unknown Man, at the moment (14th Man ? )



                                                                     lerwick-z-mart.jpg (108181 bytes)

Saro Lerwick S.36 History

Known as "the flying pig"

Lerwick-L7263-WQ-L.jpg (118649 bytes)

In November 1938 the first three  Saro S36 Lerwicks  L7248, L7249, L7250  were assigned  as prototypes. In June 1939  four Lerwicks entered service trials with No 240 sqdn at RAF Calshot
 In December 1939 they entered There first operational service, With No 209 Sqdn (code letters WQ) at Oban Scotland. The Lerwick still had many unresolved stability problems on the water and in the air. Modifications done did not bring enough improvement, unable to maintain height on one engine, nor could it maintain a constant heading as the controls could not counter torque when only a single engine running on full throttle. The aircraft was considered unacceptable.
After only a few months of operational service the Lerwick was superseded by the Catalina PBY_5 in April 1941, Just as the last aircraft was delivered May 1941.

Originally designed by Henry Knowler of Saunders Roe, twenty one aircraft were built in total, with the sequential serial numbers L7248 Through L7268. The Lerwick had an all metal hull with anodically-treated metal covering. In side the Lerwick had a work bench and vice, a lavatory, facilities for cooking and fresh water tanks. Large lockers, fitted with padded tops and used as sleeping berths, are employed as additional stowage compartments for the numerous items of equipment. The control cabin and wardroom can be heated by air fed through ducts from the rear of the engine oil coolers. Accommodation for a first and second pilot, and for members of the crew acting as navigator, observer, engineer and wireless operator, is provided in an enclosed cabin which forms an upper deck of the hull forward of the main plane leading edge. Entrance to this cabin is gained through the roof of the wardroom, with the aid of a ladder, after entering the door on the starboard side of the hull. A door on the port side of the hull facilitates entry by members of the crew to the galley, from which compartment access to the wardroom may be gained after passing along the hull through the main aft-cabin and the mid stowage compartment. 
The pilot and co-pilot in tandem, as well as the flight engineer the rear. It had three power operated Frazer-Nash gun turrets. The bow FN7 housing a .303in (7.7mm) Vickers K gun, note some later service aircraft had doubled nose guns fitted. A  retractable dorsal FN8 mounting twin.303in (7.7mm) Browning guns and the FN4A tail turret four Browning. The bow turret could be retracted backwards to assist mooring up, similar to the Sunderland.
The bomb load consisted of either four 500lb (226kg), eight 250lb (113kg) bombs or four depth charges, were carried in two streamlined nacelles behind the engines. Bomb aiming was carried out from a position low in extreme bow, a glass screen being provided behind a sliding hatch. However due to restricted vision sighting was often carried out from the cockpit on low level approaches.
The Lerwick was powered by two 1.375hp (1,025kW) Bristol Hercules II ,14-cylinder sleeve-valve radial engines, driving three-blade de Havilland constant speed propellers. These were the world's most powerful aero engines at the time.

The first Lerwick had Hercules HE.1M engines but from L7252 Hercules MK.IIs were fitted. The final eight had Hercules IVs.

The inside of a MK1 Lerwick Galley, wardroom, aft cabin etc

LERWICK _LOWER DECK  PLAN.jpg (40733 bytes)

                  Lewrick Galley.jpg (211524 bytes)   Lerwick aft look forward.jpg (229703 bytes)   Lerwick-aft cabin.jpg (190867 bytes)   Lerwick-wardroom-13.jpg (147249 bytes)   Lerwick-cockpit-12.jpg (180888 bytes)   Lerwick inner bow.jpg (154271 bytes)   Lerwick-stern compartment.jpg (152046 bytes)  REAR PORTION OF CONTROL CABIN- PORT.jpg (91588 bytes)

                         Versions that I have added colour with Paint Shop Pro. 

   Lerwick1 inner bow-col.jpg (160720 bytes)    Lerwick6 aft look forward-col-CREAM.jpg (241038 bytes)      TEST IMAGE--Lerwick1 inner bow-col-CREAM.jpg (199058 bytes)  Lerwick-stern compartment-col.jpg (163317 bytes)    REAR-lewrickCABIN-port-colour.jpg (95691 bytes)

       inside lerwick 3.jpg (66474 bytes)      inside lerwick2.jpg (58798 bytes)            inside lerwick.jpg (50203 bytes)  

Lerwick flair rack, Emergency carrier pigeon, and Lerwick galley.


The MK1 Cockpit
The pilot and co-pilot sat in tandem

   lerwick-cockpit.jpg (249391 bytes)   lerwick-cockpit2.jpg (239588 bytes)   lerwick-cockpit-3.jpg (248627 bytes)   lerwick-cockpit-4.jpg (244734 bytes) 

Versions that I have added colour with Paint Shop Pro.

lerwick-cockpit-COLOUR.jpg (256252 bytes)    lerwick-cockpit2-COL.jpg (253454 bytes)    lerwick-cockpit-3-COL.jpg (257460 bytes)    lerwick-cockpit-COLOUR4.jpg (248545 bytes)

Crew 6

Lenght 63ft 7 ins 

Wingspan 80ft 10 ins

Height 20ft 0ins

Wing area 845ft

Loaded weight 28,400 lb

Max takeoff weight 33,200 lb

Powerplant 2 x Bristol Hercules II radial 1,375 hp

Any items in gray I am unsure about at the moment

The Prototype

L7248.jpg (28494 bytes)  LERWICK-NO-TAILGUN.jpg (416977 bytes)     saro-lerwick584X255.jpg (18763 bytes)         SaroA36Lerwick300X181.jpg (21424 bytes)        lerwick1939.jpg (14631 bytes)       LERWICK-7248-NEW.jpg (537180 bytes)

Lerwick-L7248 DOCK.jpg (26812 bytes)   Lerwick-z20Flying.jpg (85865 bytes)   LERWICK L7248 FELIXSTOWE 1939.jpg (44957 bytes)
L7248 Prototype was the first Lerwick built. The 1st image shows a very early version with none stepped float. The 2nd was taken at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe, note old style tail and no rear turret again. The 5th image looks the same as the 2nd image in the L7249 images below but note, it has a dark top to the tail. In the 7th image you can see L7248 still with no tail gun. Crashed 21/10/41.The last image is L7248 moored at Felixstowe M.A.E.E.  in 1939.

Lerwick L7249 AIR.jpg (120307 bytes)        Saro-Lerwick2.jpg (48284 bytes)      Lerwick-flight.jpg (98854 bytes)       LERWICK-FLIGHT1.jpg (151876 bytes)       LERWICK-FLIGHT2.jpg (272293 bytes)     LERWICK-L7249 take2 001.jpg (339118 bytes)   wpe4.jpg (25823 bytes)
L7249 In The air, 1st and 2nd image show the dark top of the modified and taller tail .In the 6th image you can see the dorsal turret retracted clearly.


LERWICK-NEWER.jpg (756457 bytes)
I am unable to see what this Lerwick is. A big image when opened.

LERWICK.jpg (80212 bytes)       Lerwick-BIG610X316.jpg (25542 bytes)          Lerwick-NEW.jpg (77765 bytes)         LERWICK-7250.jpg (884268 bytes)       Lerwick-L7250 AIR.jpg (26543 bytes)       Lerwick-L7250 IN AIR.jpg (21338 bytes)   

Lerwick-L7250-LAND.jpg (31593 bytes)
L7250 WQ-U Prototype three. Note the backgrounds of the 1st and 2nd images, one of them seems to have had the houses removed, could this be the work of the Ministry of Defense? 


lerwick-bombdoors.jpg (91475 bytes)
Here we can see the streamlined nacelles behind the engines. With the bomb doors open.

l7252 dubber boat.jpg (87219 bytes)   l7252 picup image.jpg (133255 bytes)   l7252 pilot log.jpg (168763 bytes)
Sent to Pembroke for trails never got to 209 Sqdn , note the pilots entry "Test of Dinghy" in the log book.

In service


No 240 Squadron

L7250 9/6/39
L7251 11/7/39
L7253 19/9/39
L7254 2/10/39 (Not delivered)


No 209 Squadron 


L7250 WQ-U Joined 209 on 30/11/39 or .11/5/40.
L7251 WQ-
? Joined 209 on  1/1/40 or 11/1/40, retuned 13/7/40
L7252 WQ-
? Allocated to 209 10/2/41, but sent top Pembroke for trails.
L7253 WQ-G Joined 209 on 20/02/40.
L7254 WQ-M Joined 209 on 4/5/40.
L7255 WQ-A Joined 209 on 2/12/39, returned 8/6/40,Stranraer 13/11/40.
L7256 WQ-
V may be H Joined 209 on 26/12/39,or 20/1/39, returned 15/5/40,Stranraer 3/3/41.
L7257 WQ-F Joined 209 on 17/1/40, Oban 13/7/40, 10/4/41, 13/9/41.
L7258 WQ-R Joined 209 on 20/3/40, Stranraer 4/11/40.
L7259 WQ-
? may be O Joined 209 on 2/4/40, returned 22/2/41,Stranraer 4/5/41
L7260 WQ-P Joined 209 on 31/5/40, Stranraer 15/2/41. Hercules II engines.
L7261 WQ-
? Joined 209 on 16/6/40
L7262 WQ-
? Joined 209 on 1/7/40, Stranraer 21-23/10/40, 23/12/40.
L7263 WQ-L Joined 209 on 8/9/40, Stranraer 12/12/40.
L7264 WQ-N Joined 209 on 8/9/40, Stranraer 26/11/40.
L7265 WQ-
? may be Q Joined 209 on 5/12/40.
L7266 WQ-YD Joined 209 on 3/4/41

L7267 WQ-S may be L Joined 209 on 29/3/41

LERWICK-production.jpg (795628 bytes)      
This is a fantastic image from Aeroplane Monthly, Lerwick L7252 in production with an other  un-marked. also a big image.


209-1939-oban.jpg (11548 bytes)     lerwick-L7255.jpg (650110 bytes)
 L7255 WQ-A No 209 Sqdn 1939 over Oban. The second image is the same but much bigger.



LERWICK WQ F.jpg (657789 bytes)     LERWICK-L7253 001.jpg (298100 bytes)     Lerwick-L7257 WATER.jpg (34400 bytes)   LERWICKwq-F-L7257-800.jpg (80383 bytes)   

L7257 WQ-F. Just to prove WQ-F is L7257 check forth image here. The fifth image I have added colour with Paint Shop Pro.

 LWERICK_SUNK_-NOV-41-INVERGORDON.jpg (10102 bytes)   lerwick-l7257 ta-r.jpg (57247 bytes)

L7257 here with new serial No TA-R RCAF 422 Sqdn,Sunk at its moorings,November 11th 1941.

LerwickTA-R-TRANSPORT.jpg (84125 bytes)      lerwick l7257 ta-r.jpg (140463 bytes)

L7257  TA-R RCAF 422 Sqdn. On a transport after recovery, what a very interesting image. Note code and serial. So we can see from this that this Lerwick went from an F to an R.



LERWICK-209-6.jpg (114958 bytes)    LERWICK-209-1939-7.jpg (59461 bytes)    LERWICK-CAMO.jpg (8410 bytes)
L7265  WQ-Q No 209 Sqdn 1939. 


lerwick L7266 flight.jpg (27879 bytes)
L7266 In flight, so they say ? 

Lerwick-209-5.jpg (38776 bytes)    
Unable to see what the 1st Lerwick this is, would love to know what the code is.

lerwick-front-on.jpg (60343 bytes)

Another unknown 209 Sqn Lerwick, note the Nacelle bomb doors are open, although the starboard outer seem partially hung-up.

In action



L7256 WQ-V  In action on 25/3/40 against a submarine. bombs dropped by (F/Lt. Bennett)
L7260 WQ-'
?' In action on 20/6/40 against a submarine,by (F/Sgt.Fyfe)
L7262 WQ-P  In action on 4/7/40 Escorting S.S."EASTERN PRINCE" (F/Lt Denis.Spotswood)
L7256 WQ-V  In action on 4/7/40 Escorting a cruiser and two sloops.
L7262 WQ-P  & L7260 WQ-'
?' In action on 5/7/40 Escorting "LUARENTIA".
L7256 WQ-V In action on 8/7/40 Escorting a cruiser HMS GLASGOW.
L7256 WQ-V In action on 9/7/40 Escorting a cruiser HMS NORFOLK.
L7262 WQ-P In action on 20/7/40 searching for Dutch Naval Focker T.VIII2 OF No320 Sqdn.
L7262 WQ-P In action on 26/7/40 South of St Govan's Head searching for Focker T-8W that had ditched and was found in tow behind the trawler King Edward.
L7258 WQ-R In action on 10/1/41 searching for survivors of "BASSANO", none found.
L7264 WQ-N In action on 12/1/41 on escort duty with convoy HG49 U-boat sighted on surface 0114 hours 300 yards on port bow, position QXJJ 1258 225 dgr 10. boat completely on surface then dived continued hunting till 0610 hours.
L7263 WQ-L In action escorting convoy OB271. met at 1955 hours consisting of 4 DR, 2 EV, 25 MV.Remaind with convoy till 0038 (F/Lt Pain, P/O Fyfe, P/O Cragg). 7 crew.
L7264 WQ-N In action search for SS"ALMEDA STAR" torpedoed at position HGUJ 1620.(F/Lt Wyllie,P/O Bunting,P/O Jennings).1012 hours met 2 DR (H30 and H84) at 1108 hours met stationary tug, at 1218 hours met tug "SALVONIA". At 1334 received signal return immediately to Oban.
 WQ-Y In action on 19/1/41 patrol spotted a submarine position JFZR 2243 295dg.(FL/t Pain, P/O Nixon,P/O Van Bergen) crew 8.
L7263 WQ-L In action on 24/1/41 escorting convoy HG50.(F/Lt. Fox , P/O Fyfe).7 crew
L7263 WQ-L In action on 28/1/41 escorting convoy SC19.(F/Lt. Fox, P/O Fyfe, P/O Cragg) 7 crew.
L7264 WQ-N In action on 6/2/41 on escort duty with convoy SC20, investigate oil streak, drop two depth charges and  two 100 lb A/S bombs, against possible submarine. (F/Lt.Wyllie, P/O Bunting, P/O Ryan). 7 crew.
L7266 WQ-Y In action on 4/2/41 searching for  "BARON RENFREW" found ship under tow by two tugs and escorts.6 crew.
L7266 WQ-Y In action 22/2/41 This is the report about the search for L7263 WQ-L that has now gone missing. The aircraft Roy is in.

Airborne at 0214 to search for WQ-L /209.Searched until 0940 hours L/209 not found. From 0330 until dawn letter of the day flashed on the upward and downward identification lights at approximately half minute intervals. At 0940 hours Naval tug signalled to V/S "Any news of missing twin engine flying boat". Naval tug to aircraft "Saw flair position 5310 North 1240 West 2000 hours". At 0950 hours aircraft signalled to EVA (K07) "Any news of missing flying boat" EV to aircraft "Regret, no". Signalled to base at 1000 hours and 1100 hours. Set course for base at1135 hours continuing search coastwise via North of Ireland. Force landing in position JFZR 24101 at 1232 hours owing to airlock in petrol feed. Signalled to base "WHS-JFZR 2401 underway Loch Foyle send power boat to tow". Airborne at Loch Foyle at 1328 hours. Signalled base. Landed at base at 1403 hours. Weather- cloudy. Cloud s/10 cu and st cu. Visibility 4 miles at 1500 feet. Cloud 270dg 15 knots. sea slight. Occasional sleet showers.(F/Lt Pain, P/O Nixon,7 crew

L7266 WQ-Y In action the next day 23/2/41 Airborne at 0815 hours to search for L/209 sighted convoy of 14 MV in position on JFZR 2357 280dg at 0843 hours. Sighted large portion of steamer floating keel uppermost about 12 feet protruding above surface in position MFUJ 5401 at 1125 hours and at 1155 hours sighted part of raft floating awash, nothing on it in position QXBM 0840. L/209 not seen. Set course for base at 1722 hours. Landed at base at 1756 hours.
Weather fine. Cloud 2/10. CU. Visibility over 30 miles at 4000 feet. wind 080dg 7 knots sea calm.(F/Lt Pain, P/O Nixon,) 7 Crew.

L7259 WQ-'?' In action 26/2/41 escort convoy OB290 position JFYH 0625 240dg. Sighted SS"SOLFERINO" on fire also "KYRIAKOULA" and "HELMORE HELP" both being abandond 2DR and 1MV picking up survivors. All collected. Circled "KYRIAKOUKA" and "HELMORE HELP". again both had bad list to port. "SOLFERINO" not present, presumed sunk.

Lerwick Three plane Formation flypast in Felixstowe for the local "Warship Week" 16/5/1942. Possibly including L7267,L7250 

No operations were flown during September and October 1940

During August and September 1942 fifteen Lerwick sorties escorting North Russian convoys were flown.

What happened to them

Items in gray are facts I am unsure about

L7248   21/10/41  Crashes, hit a hill side Faslane. Seven killed one of them a civilian tech. A calibration flight from M.A.E.E

L7249   01/9/39  Sunk. With M.A.E.E. at Felixstowe, during take off, a camera hatch was left open. Some records say it sank at pierside mooring due improperly secured hatch. Salvaged and used statically till July 1940.

L7250 WQ-U 14/8/41 Became TA-U with No4 OTU. 2/2/42 Damaged at Invergordon. 2/2/42 M.A.E.E. Felixstowe. 18/8/42 Became DG-U with 422 Sqdn Withdrawn at Pembroke Dock 19/10/42.

L7251 WQ-First Lerwick to receive Hercules II engines.  21/11/40 Sank at moorings during a gale Loch Ryan, Stranraer. Entrance hatches and front turret apparently not properly secured allowing water to pour in.SOC 29/11/42.
L7252 WQ- 24/3/41 Damaged after forced open sea landing, sank Bristol channel. The Captain/First Pilot that day was  S/L Banks and Eddie E Briggs as 2nd Pilot. Ditching position "170 St Goven 10".All crew safe. Struck off 26/3/41 Cat E.
Here is the story of the last flight of L7252.
The work being carried during these flights was with the Flying Boat Blind Approach System (FBBA) which was a development of the Blind Approach Beacon System (BABS) used for Land based aircraft.
Since BABS was not available for flying boats the development unit was given the task of working out a flying boat blind approach system (FFBA). This system used the VHF direction finding for obtaining alignment for landing. Two Lorenz beam beacons were used as ILS to provide inner and outer markers. Practices on this system took place on 28 Feb 1941.
It was whilst testing carrying out the final tests for this system on 24 March 1941 that flying boat (Lerwick 7252) was forced to ditch in the open sea. This was because the system was not adequate to cope with bad weather which prevailed on the day.
It ditched in the Bristol Channel at 1405 on 24th March, as it was coming to rest it hit hard against a swell and the starboard engine came adrift from its top two mountings, pivoted on the bottom two, and the propeller, still turning, cut a hole in the hull.
The boat sank in 25 minutes. The crew took to the dinghy, and shortly after this, the weather being still very bad, heard the engines of what sounded like a German bomber flying from East to West. Nothing more was heard until after dark at about 8pm when the Captain of the flying boat, Sqdn Ldr Banks, heard engines and the 2 star cartridge was fired off but the sound of the engines disappeared.
After the event it was discovered that the the Captian of the RAF launch based at Tenby had seen the distress signal, but had returned to Tenby for more fuel. The weather was still bad on the morning of the 25th but eventually the crew were fortunate to enough to see 3 ships on the horizon. Their last pyrotechnic signal was fired and the ships went past and started to disappear, however one of the ships eventually turned round and came back to pick them up.
The three ships were Exeter and two destroyers escroting her northwards for repair after the Battle of the River Plate. The Exeter saw the signal and informed the other two ships that "the submarine on port bow is friendly". Fortunately for the crew the Captain of one of the destroyers, Lt Cdr Jonas of HMS Jackal has served in submarines and said he had never seen a signal like that, and asked permission to investigate.The crew was picked up at 1235 hrs on 25 March after 22 1/2 hys in the dinghy. They returned to dry at Plymouth the same day.

L7253 WQ-G   20/2/40. Crash, stalled off Lismore Island 5M West of Oban in poor visibility. The aircraft stalls and bounced several times on the water, a wing tip breaks off and so the starboard float is lost, keeled over capsizes,(this seems to happen often)  water pours in through open windows.The pilot Flt Sgt Corby drowns, his body is recovered but three crew lost,two of the crew did survive. The aircraft is salvaged and used as a training airframe and sinks later in a gale at Wing Bay.
L7254 WQ-M  16/10/41 Accident, struck rock taxing .Helensburg Bay Marine Training,24/7/42  Moved to Wig Bay and used as an instructional airframe but sank in a gale. Then moved to No63 MU, Scrapped. 10/12/42 30/3/43

L7255 WQ-A  06/12/40 Sank at moorings in Stanraer during a gale, one wingtip float breaks off, flying boat capsizes. Struck off 10/1/41.

L7256 WQ-H   4/5/41 Became TA-V with No4 OTU.30/8/41 Became TA-Y with No4 OTU.  23/7/42 Became DG-V with 422 Sqdn. Struck off 3/12/42.Lots of code changes here.

L7257 WQ-F  30/4/41. Became TA-R with No4 OTU. Sunk at moorings during a gale at Cromarty Firth Invergordon. Retrieved by 56 maintenance unit. See images above.

L7258 WQ-R  11/11/41, 23/7/42 Became DG-R with 422 Sqdn. Struck off 4/2/42 Scrapped 14/10/42.

L7259 WQ-O 20/10/41 orStruck off 29/11/42.

L7260 WQ-P?  7/1/41. ? with No4 OTU. 23/7/42 Became DG-P with 422 Sqdn. ??/??/?? Crash two crew missing. Scrapped 3/12/42.

L7261 WQ-?   29/6/40 Accident, Flg Off Pain returns from an shipping escort mission due to severe weather. The starboard float collapse as he taxied crosswind to the mooring, rapidly sank in 30 minutes in Ardentrive Bay. The airframe is beached four days later  and a salvage operation starts, but L7261 never flies again. Struck off 10/7/40.

L7262 WQ-P  Crash, wing dropped on take off 07/1/41 Stranraer.(F/Lt.Spotswood, Sgt Briggs, P/O Windeler) two crew drowned Sgt Evans and AC1 Middlebrook.Crew 7,visabilty good,light wind from E.N.E. Scrapped.

L7263 WQ-L   22/2/41 Crash, Missing  flying out of Stranraer on escort duty.  the aircraft Roy is in  Said to be crew of 12 onboard ? inc, P/O Ronald John Fyfe,44549 age 29 and Cpl William Charles Davis, 570228 age 20. I was told by my late father, they had a crew of 12 onboard at the time, but I have also read in other reports that it had 14 onboard when it went missing? That's a lot more than the said normal crew of nine, that was then reduced to six to save weight. Note also on board at the time Wing Commander John Edmond  Bainbridge. Wing Commander Mac Dermontt appointed a few days later. Struck off 1/3/41.

L7264 WQ-N 16/5/41 Became TA-N with No4 OTU. 1/8/42 Became DG-N with 422. Had a forced landing. Scrapped 3/12/42 at No63 MU Wig Bay.

L7265 WQ-Q 23/3/42  Became TA-Q with No4 OTU. 21/12/41. Crash, stalled when landing at Invergordon. Pilot Flg Off Armstrong, with the unit No4 (C) OTU. The port wing dropped and the port float hit first. The aircraft recovered and flew on, left wing low. A further landing attempt near the North Trots, was disastrous. Several of the crew were then injured. Struck off 31/12/41 With 199.15 flying hours logged.

L7266 WQ-D. 16/8/42 Became DG-Y with 422. Scrapped 3/12/42.

L7267 WQ-S or L. 29/3/41 I have read this may have been L to replace L7263 that went missing. Last operation with 209 Sqdn, 29/4/41. 4/6/42 Became TA-S  with No4 OTU. 24/7/42 Became DG-S with 422 Sqdn, Crash landing 10/9/42,Lough Erne at 12.35,on practice flight, duration 45 minutes. Bounced when hitting water. Pilot open up throttle but port engine did not respond A/C skidded and tail was severed off. P/O L.Hore and P/O S.Butler, 422 Sqdn. 
The following comes from Mr R J Webster one of the crew.
"I was on the lower deck at the time , I can only tell you how it looked to me. We made a bad landing and it appeared we hit the water with the tail, I was thrown forward to the floor and when I got up we had a gaping hole at the rear of the plane and about a hundred yards behind us the tail section complete was sinking then it sank.
The main part of the plane floated and as it was not too far from the slipway boats came out to pick us up, they put floatation bags under the wing and it was towed to the slipway, dragged up and then was broken up and shipped away. No one was really hurt and not all got wet".

L7268 WQ-? 5/5/41 Became TA-Q with No4 OTU. 14/10/41 Crash,lost engine power stalled and dived into the sea 6 miles east-north-east of Tarbat Ness on. Six crew lost 3 recoverd alive. With No.4 (c) OTU. Cat."E" 21/11/41 struck off. And another report said 9 killed 3 injured.


Trying to sort out what code and serial went together is a mine field I have read so many magazine Lerwick histories,books etc and the all seem to have mistakes some even quote the same codes for four planes in one article. Some could be type errors ie O or Q, I have seen L7259,L7262,L7265,L7268 all written down as WQ-Q some one's wrong. It would seem that if an aircraft was lost the code could be reused on a replacement aircraft.


The many movements made, by the Lerwick family of twenty one aircraft


British aero and marine engineering company

L7248 at Saro 22/8/39 fitted with taller rudder and auxiliary tailplane.
L7250 at Saro 8/7/40 
L7252 at Saro 29/7/40
L7254 at Saro 22/11/39 for mods,7/7/40
L7255 at Saro 4/7/40
L7256 at Saro 8/8/40
L7257 at Saro 8/5/40
L7258 at Saro 24/5/40 
L7268 at Saro
xx/xx/xx, xx/xx/xx.

M.A.E.E Felixstowe
(Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment)


L7248 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe x/x/38, 14/3/39 Performance criticisum reported.
L7249 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe 13/6/39, sank when here in accident.
L7250 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe 16/12/41, 26/5/42
L7251 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe 1939
L7252 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe 29/7/39.Trials with larger fin.
L7254 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe 13/2/40,8/6/41,25/5/42 Mooring trials.

L7259 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe  ?/5/41.
L7267 at M.A.E.E  Felixstowe  14/2/42 to 10/5/42.


M.A.E.E Helensburgh
(Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment)

L7248 at M.A.E.E  Helensburgh 29/4/40
L7258 at M.A.E.E  Helensburgh 22/1/41
L7252 at M.A.E.E  Helensburgh 28/4/40


RAF Calshot

L7250 at RAF Calshot 12/12/39, 13/6/40, 25/7/40
L7251 at RAF Calshot 23/9/39, 14/3/40
L7254 at RAF Calshot 24/4/40, 3/7/40, 7/10/40
L7255 at RAF Calshot 20/11/39, 26/6/40, 16/9/40
L7256 at RAF Calshot 28/3/40, 18/7/40, 22/1040, 4/5/41, 4/6/41, 24/9/41
L7257 at RAF Calshot 23/3/40, 22/5/40
L7258 at RAF Calshot 21/5/40, 6/6/40
L7259 at RAF Calshot 8/7/40, 18/7/40, 9/5/41, 19/8/41
L7260 at RAF Calshot 22/5/40, 18/7/40, Reserve 16/5/41
L7261 at RAF Calshot 1/6/40
L7262 at RAF Calshot 28/6/40
L7263 at RAF Calshot 19/8/40
L7264 at RAF Calshot 29/8/40
L7265 at RAF Calshot 14/10/40
L7267 at RAF Calshot 2/3/41, Reserve 16/5/41


No4 (Coastal) Operation Training Unit Stranraer

Flying Boat Training Squadron

Singapore IIIs, Stranraers, Catalinas and Lerwicks.

L7250 Was Then TA-U  OTU 18/8/41.
L7256 Was Then TA-V  OTU 20/8/41, 18/11/41
L7257 Was
Then TA-R  OTU 30/4/41.  
L7258 Was
Then TA-?  OTU 29/4/41.may have become R after L7257 sunk.
L7259 Was
Then TA-Q  OTU 23/3/42.
L7260 Was
Then TA-?  OTU 4/6/41.
L7262 Was Then TA-P  OTU
L7264 Was
Then TA-N  OTU 16/5/41, 6/6/41.
L7265 Was
Then TA-?  OTU 23/7/41
L7266 Was
Then TA-Y  OTU xx/xx/xx   
L7267 Was Then TA-S  OTU 4/6/41. Detached to Felixstowe between February and May 1942
L7268 Was Then TA-? or Q  OTU on 5/5/41 


LERWICK 422 TA-S.jpg (23847 bytes)    
L7267  TA-S RCAF 422 Sqdn.  

Some of the Lerwicks, served with 422 Sqdn RCAF (Canadian) to allow some training while
 waiting Catalina's. This was only for a short time.


RAF Pembroke Dock

L7250 at Pembroke Dock 8/9/1940,19/10/42 withdrawn
L7251 at Pembroke 30/7/40
L7252 at Pembroke Dock 21/11/40,14/2/41  (209Sqdn trials)
L7254 at Pembroke Dock 12/10/40
L7255 at Pembroke Dock 18/9/40
L7256 at Pembroke Dock 17/7/40, 26/11/40, 22/8/42
L7257 at Pembroke Dock
x/x/xx, 5/8/40
L7258 at Pembroke Dock 20/7/40
L7259 at Pembroke Dock 16/7/40
L7260 at Pembroke Dock 17/7/40, 22/8/42
L7262 at Pembroke Dock 19/7/40
L7265 at Pembroke Dock 26/11/40  store


No 422 Squadron

No 422 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force, formed April 2nd or July 1st 1942 at Lough Erne, as a flying boat unit. Lerwicks transferred from 4 OTU (c) to 422 Sqdn in July 1942.

L7250 Was DG-U  422 Sqdn 18/8/42.
L7256 Was DG-V  422 Sqdn 23/7/42.
L7258 Was DG-R  422 Sqdn 23/7/42.
L7259 Was DG-Q  422 Sqdn 23/7/42.
L7260 Was DG-P   422 Sqdn 23/7/42.
L7264 Was DG-N  422 Sqdn
1/8/42, 23/8/42.
L7266 Was DG-Y  422 Sqdn 16/8/42.
L7267 Was DG-S  422 Sqdn 24/7/42. Crash landing 10/9/42,Lough Erne. P/O L.C.Hore P/O S.W.Butler.


No 423 Squadron

 if an when ????



RAF Mount Batten
Plymouth Sound Devon England
Seaplane Station and Flying boat base

L7260 at RAF Mount Batten 23/8/42 till ?/9/42



Scottish Aviation Ltd
Tasked with carrying out much of the modification work to the newly arrived seaplanes

RAF Greenock
Flying Boat Maintenance Base


L7251 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 10/12/40.
L7250 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 19/11/40 on charge of No43 Group.
L7254 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 3/11/41,26/11/40.
L7256 at Scottish Aviation Greenock Returned for scraping. 26/10/42 Reduced to produce.
L7257 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 23/7/41.
L7258 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 14/5/41, 7/11/41,had a forced landing here 13/1/42, Returned on 14/19/42,for scraping.
L7260 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 3/12/42 Overhaul 25/10/41 to 22/3/42, Returned on 20/19/42,for scraping. Reduced to produce.
L7262 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 27/1/41 and declared Cat."B" 28/5/41.
L7264 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 3/6/41, Returned on 22/19/42,for scraping.
L7266 at Scottish Aviation Greenock 22/1/41, 19/5/41, 20/11/42, 3/12/42 Reduced to produce.


RAF Wig Bay
Near Kirkcolm and Greenock

wig bay.jpg (94281 bytes)

L7254 at Wig Bay No63 MU, 24/7/42 Became 3300m at MTS.
L7264 at Wig Bay No63 MU, 3/12/42 Reduced to produce.



  Some of the changes made to the Lerwick S.36


LERWICK L7248 FINS.jpg (41479 bytes)
L7248 In tests to improve things had Auxiliary fins fitted, an immediate improvement was noted. Then the fins were removed and the height of rudder increased. Later the taller rudder and fins were fitted together, rolling was removed and yawing reduced.They were later removed.

LERWICK SARO-FINS.jpg (483822 bytes) 
L7248 Here again at Saunders Roe, with the extra tailplane finlets and the modified taller top, to the tail fin.

wpe8.gif (197134 bytes)    lerwick-step-float.jpg (134536 bytes)
The first and second version of float.

LERWICK L7248 twin.jpg (90178 bytes)
L7248 At some time had a twin tail unit fitted similar the Consolidated XP4Y.


LERWICK-TWIN-BUMP.jpg (56883 bytes)   Lerwick-TEST-l7248004.jpg (17544 bytes)
L7248 Here we can see an odd bump on the port bow side.




L7251 First flight with Hercules II engines 21/9/40.

L7252 On this aircraft a taller rudder and enlarged fin was fitted. Direction control proved to be adequate and there was only a slight rolling tendency. This improvement was used on the later Lerwicks.

L7254 On this aircraft the angle of the wings to hull incidence was increased by +2 degrees and larger air screws of 14' 6" were fitted, but found to be to close to the sea in rough-water. and went back to 13' 6" air screws. The tail unit was raised by 15". Unfortunately the aircraft still rolled and yawed, with the roll worsening as speed increased.

L7261-8 Were fitted with Hercules 1V engines in place of the Hercules 11.

L7262 First flight with modified floats etc Sqd Ldr Winn and Flg Off Wyllie 16/8/40.

On the 2/1/41 W/Cdr Bainbridge flew to Pembroke Dock to carry out tests on Lerwick L7265 with Rotal Electric Airscrews. The weather was bright with visibility 20 miles.

On the 8/1/41 Mr Eosworth of the Rotol Airscrew co.Ltd. Visited 209 Sqdn in connection with trials to be carried out on a Lerwick L7265 fitted with a Rotol Electric Airscrew.


Other bits and pieces

Here is a short tail from Airfix Magazine 1967 about the Lerwick, the account is by J.P.Balfour

I encountered the Lerwick in the summer of 1941 at Invergordon when it was being used by 4 OTU for observer training. 209 Sqn based at Oban flew Lerwicks and, as far as I know their operations were confined to the Nort-West approaches. I believe pilots found difficulty with the aircraft when taking-off  with full fuel and bombs loads, and I know they had some accidents. I flew the aircraft later when, with no bombs and about half fuel load and a crew of eight, it was quite tricky to get airborne in a straight line. This was due to the high torque re-action with two Hercules engines on take-off being liable to case a violent swing to starboard. Owing to the short waterline and the relatively small fin and rudder, once a swing had started the only safe cure was to abandon take-off and start again, as it was impossible to regain control.

At Invergordon, on light loads, we found that using the starboard engine well in advance of the port one, reasonable take-offs could be made, but even then I managed on more than one occasion to get airborne purely on the starboard engine. This of course, would not have been possible when fully loaded.

Once airborne the aircraft was delightful to fly, being as fast as a Spitfire at sea level, at least on half loads. At Invergordon we were often "chased" by Spitfires from Kinloss, and could hold our own as far as speed was concerned.

Despite their failings, Lerwicks of 209 Sqn flew patrol of many hours duration over convoys North-West of Scotland during 1940 and the early part of 1941. They were withdrawn from operations at the end of April 1941.They then had another brief period of service ahead of them, for 422 Sqn now flew them from Lough Erne for training until October  1942.




ler1.jpg (16531 bytes)
Here is a link to a rare Contrail Vacform 1/72 scale model kit, of the Saro Lerwick s36 WQ-F.  L7257



Another Lerwick found on internet WQ-F L7257. 


lerwick model WQ-F.jpg (43214 bytes)  
And yet another Lerwick WQ-F L7257. How about some of the others chaps ?


LERWICK MODEL RAF MUSEUM.png (104561 bytes) Here is another model, I found this image at the RAF Hendon Museum site, at last WQ-Q. L7265 



Small image this one but it is of WQ-Q L7265, but with different camouflage colours.



LERWICKMODEL-F2.jpg (119049 bytes)

 I have found a Lerwick that was scratch built you can read about it here at the French language forum. http://maquette72.free.fr/amis/GMazon/2010_114_saro/index_gilles_114_saro.php  The model is by Giles Mazon. Scroll down the page and you will come to the start of the build.




World War II Recognition Spotter Model, British Saro Lerwick . Produced by Cruver, made from Acetate, 9/1942, 10 1/2" long 13" wingspan,


lerwick-plan.jpg (209897 bytes)
Part of an old U.S. Navy Bureau Of Aeronautics, Lerwick model plan.


lewrick-plan1.jpg (1087570 bytes)       lewrick-plan2.jpg (1358692 bytes)       lewrick-plan3.jpg (1346437 bytes)
Some more plans, large images. 


 lerwick PLANS-A.jpg (463284 bytes)

And plans again.


Lerwicktail.jpg (29639 bytes)

Tail wheel beaching gear


LERWICK-ADD.jpg (26389 bytes) LERWICKDRAW2.jpg (31832 bytes)  wing-lerwick.jpg (22952 bytes) lerwick-reklamn__karti_ka_757.jpg (21737 bytes) SaundersRoe-Cloud-1937-1.jpg (98592 bytes) SaundersRoe-Lerwick-1940-1.jpg (57753 bytes) SaundersRoe-FlyingBoats-1945-1.jpg (100219 bytes)  SaundersRoe-MarineAircraft-1939-1.jpg (96417 bytes) add-lerwickjpg.jpg (193661 bytes) 

Saunders Roe adverts of the time.


This drawing shows the streamlined nacelles behind the engines open and a bomb dropping out.


LERWICK400X270.jpg (16674 bytes) 
Cigarette card.

Allan Forbes AGAvA.jpg (87056 bytes)
Here we have an oil painting by Allan Forbes AGAvA. "Lugubrious Lerwick" More paintings of other aircraft can be found here.     http://www.gava.org.uk/ Try typing Lerwick in the search box.

lerwick-shrimp-vid.jpg (14222 bytes)
 Screen grab. Found this Saro Lerwick within the Saro Shrimp video. In the fantastic Seawings site, Go to References, then Video Gallery section, on page 7. See links. Or click here for Youtube link Saro Shrimp. You should see the Lerwick three times.



 TWIN-COLOUR.jpg (60376 bytes) Lerwick-209-colour.jpg (43307 bytes)  wpe6.jpg (7613 bytes)
Here are some old monochrome images, I have added some colour with PaintShop Pro.Image 2 is  green and brown. Some say could be grey and green. Has any one an original colour photo?



Back to Roy Fyfe story. One of my own paintings. The Consolidated Catalina PBY_4  P9630, he flew in, this was the first to enter Great Britain, flying over M.A.E.E  RAF Felixstowe, England on trials.

p9630 catalina.jpg (111650 bytes)

I am still finding things out about the Lerwick's so things may change as I discover new information or correct errors found. I have purchased a dvd from the National Archive listing 209 operations when the Lerwick's were about. It is a lot to look at.


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