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Colours of HMAS Canberra´s Supermarine Walrus Aug 1942


Vladi
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Hello, I am now building HMAS Canberra in 1/700 as she appeared just before the time of her loss at Savo Island on August 8th, 1942, but I´ve got an aircraft-related question. She carried a Supermarine Walrus on her catapult at that time and I am trying to find out how this particular aircraft was camouflaged. Unfortunately, there are only a few photos of either Canberra or her sister ship Australia from that time period, neither of them giving a really clear view of the Walrus to be able to tell it´s colours. The regular RAF Temperate Sea Scheme (Extra Dark Slate Grey / Dark Slate Grey / Sky) seems to be an obvious guess but it would be great if anyone had a more sound opinion or even evidence. Thank you!

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According to the RAAF Camouflage and Markings 1939-1945 Vol.2, the orders which called for EDSG, DSG and Sky camouflage for the Seagull and Walrus were issued on 31st July 1942. It is unlikely that the Canberra's Walrus was camouflaged when she was sunk on 8th August 1942, however I found a photo of the Walrus on the catapult of Canberra which seems to be camouflaged.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P04992.010

 

Hope this would be of some help.

 

Jun in Tokyo

https://www.flickr.com/photos/horaburo/albums

 

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Excellent find, thank you, Jun! Actually I remember seeing this photo but I did not save it and I thought it was done earlier.

You are right it is certain this plane was not camouflaged according to the latest orders issued when the Task Force was already en route to Guadalcanal. Now the good question is what colours can be those seen on the photo?

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The RAN would follow RN and hence Air Ministry instructions on camouflage, although possibly with some delay and modification.  Hence it will (should) have been camouflaged before the outbreak of WW2 in the five colour "shadow-shaded" scheme with a high demarcation.  There are a couple of hints in the photo.  The fin flash places the photo as after May 1940.  The "Type A1" roundel confirms this, and the low demarcation of the camouflage dates it to after September 1940.  The appearance of the red, yellow and blue suggest that this photo was taken on ortho film.  The b&w appearance of the sea camouflage colours does appear very differently in different lighting, films and filters, so can be a poor guide, as in this case.  The later "Type C1" roundels with a thinner white ring were in place after 21st May 1942, which may be a little too late for Canberra to respond.

 

It is possible that the orders dated 31st July 1942 were those ending the shadow shading rather than introducing the Temperate Sea Scheme, although I'd have thought that a little late.  They may simply have been a restatement of the established rules, for some unknown (to me) reason.

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Hello Graham, thank you - can you please perhaps send me a link to some examples of the five colour "shadow-shaded" scheme with a high demarcation you mentioned? I am quite fluent in the USN, USAF, IJN and IJA schemes but not that much in RAF/RN/FAA.

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I can't think of a suitable link, but the term shadows shading refers to the use of lighter colours on the upper surface on the lower wing of biplanes - in this case Dark Sea Grey and Light Slate Grey.  Hence five colours.  The lighter colours would normally be applied to the lower side of the fuselage but generally in the FAA the lower surface colour (initially Sky Grey but Sky after September 1940) is taken up to the mid-point of the fuselage, with a wavy demarcation between the two.

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Graham & Greenshirt: I see what you mean, I totally forgot that the bootom wing had lighter colours that the upper one on biplanes (I built a 1/72 Walrus long time ago and I have it right there).

Garry: Yes, the bottom puzzles me, too. And I cannot really see the two-tone pattern on the hull (except the slanting dark part in front of the rudder)...

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Looks like you already know something about her ;)

Reportedly she was painted in some sort of locally mixed approximation of a worn-out USD 5-N Navy Blue (references to "Chicago Blue" are later), so I will use something between 5-N and 5-S. After some consultations (most importantly with Randy Short) I will most probably use 507A for her decks. It just seems not likely to me she had her decks natural wood in the situation when she was expected to counter heavy air attacks.

Edited by Vladi
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B15 seems too dark to me, but I do not have it here to compare.

Generally, I think exact colour shades are less critical in case of 1/700 ships than e.g. for 1/72 aircraft, mainly for proximity effect and heavier weathering effects.

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I am afraid we are now way off the original topic. Can we please return back to Canberra´s Walrus colours (and perhaps move the last 5 posts to the ships section and continue with Canberra colours there - I am not sure if it is possible and how to do it)?

Thanks!

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13 hours ago, Vladi said:

Hello, I am now building HMAS Canberra in 1/700 as she appeared just before the time of her loss at Savo Island on August 8th, 1942, but I´ve got an aircraft-related question. She carried a Supermarine Walrus on her catapult at that time and I am trying to find out how this particular aircraft was camouflaged. Unfortunately, there are only a few photos of either Canberra or her sister ship Australia from that time period, neither of them giving a really clear view of the Walrus to be able to tell it´s colours. The regular RAF Temperate Sea Scheme (Extra Dark Slate Grey / Dark Slate Grey / Sky) seems to be an obvious guess but it would be great if anyone had a more sound opinion or even evidence. Thank you!

 

Hi Vladi,

 

Having perused through ADF Serials for the Walrus listed, I found the particular aircraft in question

Walrus Mk I serial P5715 - Note no Australian serial (eg beiginning with A* - ***)

Quote

RN History
19/4/40 First flight
29/4/40 Delivered RNAS Lee-on-Solent for storage
19/6/40 Test flown
19/9/41 Transferred from Saunders Roe ltd to lee-on-Solent
RAAF History
1/5/42 Arrived Qantas, Rose Bay, NSW, ex RN FAA, UK, for erection
5/6/42 RAAF Rathmines
9/6/42 9 Sqn
11/6/42 Departed Rathmines for Amberley for HMAS CANBERRA
15/6/42 Embarked HMAS CANBERRA off Brisbane via RAAF Amberley, Qld
9/8/42 Damaged by Japanese gunfire in Battle of Savo, Solomon Islands and sunk with HMAS CANBERRA by USS ELLETTas beyond salvage
12/9/42 Struck off charge (R)

(Information from ADF serials site)

 

It would appear that P5715  was a replacement for the previous ships aircraft ships aircraft W2768 that had been damaged a few days previous.

Camouflage colours? I would say, given the date of arrival in Australia and issue to HMAS Canberra, P5715 would have worn the camouflage she arrived in from Britain. Only difference would have been changing the RAF/FAA Roundels to Australian (removal of red)

 

Regards

 

Alan

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12 hours ago, Junchan said:

 Walrus on the catapult of Canberra which seems to be camouflaged.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P04992.010

 

Looking at a rather larger TIF image of this picture it does indeed seem to be in 3-colour camouflage, not 5-colour. There is no serial visible - if removed by a censor he did a good clean job. If the fuselage roundel ever had a yellow ring, it has been skilfully painted out. The camouflage is fairly worn with much evidence of "pre-shading" on the float and, to a lesser extent, the mid-fuselage.

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31 minutes ago, Ed Russell said:

Looking at a rather larger TIF image of this picture it does indeed seem to be in 3-colour camouflage, not 5-colour. There is no serial visible - if removed by a censor he did a good clean job. If the fuselage roundel ever had a yellow ring, it has been skilfully painted out. The camouflage is fairly worn with much evidence of "pre-shading" on the float and, to a lesser extent, the mid-fuselage.

 

Ed,

 

I'd suggest we're looking at a photo taken using panchromatic film.  I believe there is a yellow ring to the fuselage roundel, it's just showing dark as is the case with such films.  Another give away is the darkness of the red relative to the blue in the roundel and on the fin flash.

 

Tough to make a call on whether it's 3- or 5-colour camo.  Concur regarding the serial number...it's not visible in the photo so either was overpainted or removed by the censor.

 

Cheers,
Mark

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The red dot rather depends on when the photo was taken.  Even as late as mid-42, aircraft were still operating with Type A roundels in the Far East.  The yellow ring is more problematic.  Is it there or has it been overpainted?  Tough call.  The lack of a serial number is also intriguing.  Yet another photo that poses more questions than it answers.  However, thanks for posting the better quality chip out from the original image...certainly helps move the discussion forward.

 

Cheers,
Mark

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2 hours ago, Ed Russell said:

Here's an enlarged view of roundel - a pan-rendered yellow is usually dark and crisp not like this blur over half the position of the ring.

Would it still be so crisp on a much enlarged detail?

I may see a hint of yellow on the upper right side (between 1-hour and 2-hour positions) and, if so, it appers to be a half-width ring compared to the blue.

 

Claudio

 

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Hi Mark,

 

If I read the serial correctly as A2-9, that's a Seagull V. BOC RAAF Base Laverton (Victoria) 1936.

That particular aircarft did serve on the following ships HMAS Canberra/Sydney/Hobat/Manoora prior to war with Japan December 8 1941.

From November 11,1941 to early January 1943, was shore based. including some major structural damage and major overhaul at Rosebay by Qantas

Issued to 9 Squadron 10 January 1943, lost in practice dive bombing accident February 8 1943,never saw war action

I would say the camouflage in the above photo/Roundel is prewar (with Japan).

 

Regards

 

Alan

Edited by LDSModeller
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1 hour ago, ClaudioN said:

Would it still be so crisp on a much enlarged detail?

 

 

Yes, as much as the other colours are.........

 

Quote

may see a hint of yellow

Ahhh,,, the modeller's friend - The Eye of Faith    (:>)

 

 

Actually, using that same Eye, I think I can see a ring all the way round and this may well indicate overpainting. The serial does seem to have been overpainted also as censors are not usually so skilled.

 

The same Eye sees a horizontal line mid-fuselage on Mark's picture....... the Sky-line or the Shaded-line?

 

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mhaselden: I did find this other pic which may be of interest.  It's Pinterest (so take it with a huge dose of salt) and it's not definitely tied to HMAS Canberra (ie it could be HMAS Australia). 

 

This is HMAS Australia because of dual 4" AA guns seen there, her original single 4" being replaced in 1939. Canberra had single 4" as she has never been modified to dual till her loss.

Nevertheless the Seagull/Walrus camo is interesting, although it is not dated precisely. Again, hard to tell if the tops are one or two colours...

Edited by Vladi
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