Aviation Historian 14
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J.Knightly - The Last Seagull
The last Seagull in its final resting place - on display in wartime camouflage and with its original RAAF serial A2-4 at RAF Museum Hendon in London.
A young lady wades ashore from the Seagull at “the Prom”, to which Gibbes regularly flew for beach picnics and spear fishing. On one occasion the Seagull broke free of it moorings and drifted away from shore, leaving the crew no choice but to swim for it.
Equally at home on land, sea or air, Supermarine Seagull VH-ALB bobs serenely in the lagoon at a resort on the Victoria/New South Wales border circa 1960.
Keeping the old girl shipshape - Seagull V VH-ALB is hosed down by its crew in the lagoon at the Cypress Gardens resort at Lake Mulwala on the Victoria/New South Wales border circa 1960.
A peaceful scene with the Seagull moored in the early morning light in the Cypress Gardens Boat Harbour, probably during co-owner Tony Whiter’s water-skiing trip to the resort in November 1960.
The Seagull, probably seen here moored at Portsea on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, was photographed by co-owner Tony Whiter sometime during the Gibbes/O’Hara/Whiter syndicate’s ownership of the amphibian between 1959 and 1962. Gibbes later recalled: “It never failed to startle the odd fisherman ... in the seclusion of his boat far out at sea, suddenly to be accosted by an amphibian whose crew asked “for a loan of some bait to do a bit of fishing please...".
In its distinctive blue-green colour scheme and bearing the name of its owner on the forward fuselage, VH-ALB makes stately progress over Victoria.
Following its restoration to airworthy status in 1969 VH-ALB was put into a crude semi-camouflage scheme with no titles on the forward fuselage, as seen here. The undercarriage has not been retracted, apparently a common occurrence if a flight was only of relatively short duration.
“Watch this!” The Seagull clatters overhead at the Cypress Gardens Motel, providing an impromptu airshow for the bathers ashore.
Picture-postcard perfect - a photograph from the cockpit of the Seagull during one of its trips to the picturesque Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria. The amphibian’s ability to alight on the water and taxy to the more secluded beauty spots was invaluable, but charters were relatively few.
A fine portrait of Seagull V A2-4 in service with the RAAF, wearing its pre-war overall aluminium colour scheme. Note the Handley Page slats fitted only to the Australian Seagull Vs and not to the later Walrus. The jury struts on the forward spars at the wing roots were also removable on the Seagull, but are absent in this photograph.
Despite being a Seagull, VH-ALB was initially given a flying walrus motif on the forward fuselage. The stylised amphibian’s body was brown, with a red flying helmet, black goggles and a white scarf with yellow polka-dots. The winged arrow on which the walrus perched was white. Not entirely appropriate, the walrus was eventually replaced with lettering.
The Seagull at Bankstown, New South Wales, following its forced landing on January 27, 1970, during which a tree stump damaged the starboard undercarriage leg and gouged a long tear in the fuselage, clearly visible here.
A characteristically witty "Wrendering” of the Seagull and its three owners (from left to right; O’Hara, Gibbes and Whiter) by renowned aviation cartoonist E.A. "Chris” Wren.