The Supermarine Walrus (5)

Here is the Airfix kit of the Walrus:

Assembly tended to be a rather fiddly process for an impatient young boy. I, for one, was completely unable to stick the numerous struts into the bottom wing, and then wait overnight while everything dried, so that the struts could then be lined up accurately with the holes in the top wing. If you didn’t do this, of course, you finished up with a very tricky sticky situation with an ever increasing amount of glue spreading from the top of the tube to clumsy little fingers to the flat surfaces of the wings.

And finally….

The Walrus was sometimes known as the “Steam-pigeon”, the name coming supposedly from the steam produced by water striking the hot Pegasus engine. Usually, though, its nickname was the “Shagbat”.

People ask, of course, “What is a shagbat?” Well, according to a book I found about British military aircraft, a shagbat was…

“a legendary bird, whose reputedly ever-decreasing circular flightpath had its own inevitable conclusion”.

So….. is there any other definition of a shagbat.? Well, I don’t think there is, but I can offer you a couple of twos for you to add together and produce at least fifty-five.

First of all, as a verb, “shag” is a word beloved of young men down the pub, and means “to have sex,” I tried very hard to think up some examples, but none of them were suitable, although the one about the hole in the fence was jolly funny. The Urban Dictionary expressed it very well, however:

“Used by people who think the term “making love” is too innocent and ” f**** ” is too coarse.”

And what does the “bat” bit mean? This I found in a second on-line dictionary:

“Any annoying post-menopausal woman, but especially one who applies a considerable amount of make-up….She may even scare small children with her appearance. An example would be “I try to be nice to the old bat.”:

Put the two words together and you have “shagbat”. The sort of woman you wake up with after a wild Saturday night in a small town whose name you cannot, for the moment, remember:


Filed under Aviation, History, Humour

24 responses to “The Supermarine Walrus (5)

  1. GP

    YIKES!! The definitions are as bad as the pictures!

  2. Pierre Lagacé

    Don’t be to hard on yourself with having had problems with your model kits John.
    How many have you built in your younger days?

    • My mother would have said “Too many”. With my younger brother’s help we probably made around a hundred over the years, but I realise now that I was far too impatient for such a meticulous hobby. I was probably most interested in the paint schemes and above all the decals. Never happier than finishing off a Bf 109 of the Slovak Insurgent Air Force !

  3. I could never get on with Airfix. How did Rod Stewart gatecrash the post?

    • I agree with you about Airfix.I could only ever manage aeroplanes. Ships, famous people and buildings for your model railway layout left me cold, I’m afraid. As for Rod Stewart, I think I googled “aging rock star millionaire” or some other equally jealous phrase.

  4. I really can’t imagine how anyone could associate the Walrus with such delightful ladies, unless of course, it’s because as an exhausted downed airman you sleep after being collected and wake up not having a clue as to where god has deposited you and with whom!

    • Funnily enough, I’m just reading a book where a group of 30 soldiers didn’t have a clue where they had been deposited, not by a Walrus but by the Halifax towing their glider to Sicily for the airborne invasion. They quickly formed up, and seeing an approaching lorry, proceeded to ambush it. It was lucky they didn’t kill anybody, because they had been taken in a huge circle by the towing aircraft, from Tunisia,to Malta and then a big semi-circle back to North Africa. The lorry they had captured was actually the bloke who took the showers and baths from one army camp to the next.

      • That’s just marvellous. It’s nice that in all the confusion and chaos of war there are humorous little stories to add that human touch to it all.

  5. Pierre Lagacé

    Off topic John. I need your help with the meaning of K.C. in this letter…

    November 27, 4AM.

    Well I’m on a train in London now. The leave is over and I’ve sure had a good time. I’ve sure seen a lot. I hope there’s some mail for me when I return. We travelled all night. The train was crowded but I got a seat. The same with this train. We stood in line and I got a good seat considering the job the railways have here. Transportation is ok. Also everywhere you turn there’s a Y.M.C.A., K.C., or many other canteens or restrooms. It’s really grand. You can get a real good meal for a few cents. Well my old uniform is shot. The seat is out again also the crotch and I tripped on the curb in a London fog and tore out my knees. Well that’s all for now. I mailed 3 Xmas gifts to you from Scotland. Hope you get them ok. Send me no artificial milk but chocolate is possible. So Long for now.

  6. My immediate response was “Not a clue” but a little detective work suggests to me that he is talking about a “Kardomah Café”
    Wikipedia will explain it all…..

  7. Thank you for sharing!!.. I use to like doing models, mainly sailing ships, but today the ole eyes are not up to the small parts.. 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May your troubles be less
    Your blessings be more
    And nothing but happiness
    Come through your door
    (Irish Saying)

    • I must admit, my eyes are a little blurred from time to time. I find that I often have to give them a good clean and rub if I’m watching anything serious!
      You’re absolutely right about those small pieces. Some of them are really difficult to deal with, and sometimes, once you’ve glued the fuselage together on an aircraft, you can’t see them anyway!

  8. Chris Waller

    The British armed forces have a rare talent for neologisms, don’t they?

    And the winner is that extremely long abbreviation, “DOWOIROAS” !!!!

    It means “Died of wounds or injuries received on active service”.

    Or is that an acronym? It certainly isn’t easy to pronounce in English, although you might get away with it in French as a Past Historic:

    “Tu dowoiroas en Afrique du nord.” Which means “You died of etc etc in North Africa” but I suppose you’d have to be talking to “un fantôme”.

  9. atcDave

    I think every ASR aircraft was considered beautiful by someone!
    BTW, Airfix released a new Walrus kit in 1/48 a few years back. No doubt, it will still be a bit fiddly. No way around that with all those struts and wires! But I expect good things when I do manage to get to it.

    • Good luck with all the wires. I have a vague idea that in the 1960s when I made kits, the idea was to stretch the glue very carefully on a 1-72 kit, and it would represent a wire on the real aircraft. Surely I must be suffering with false memory on that point. I certainly never tried it, not intentionally, anyway.

      • atcDave

        I remember using stretched sprue. Of course there’s a better product now! But no doubt, rigging is a bear.

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