Across The Cornish Coast - Short Sunderland
Short Sunderland Aviation Art Painting Print by Artist Chris French FGAvA
The first Sunderland flew on 16th October 1937, with the first production aircraft going to 228 Squadron in November 1938. Three units of Coastal Command had been equipped with the type by September 1939.
The aircraft was to be continually improved with new detection devices, engines, armour and armament. The Sunderland could bristle with up to sixteen machine guns of various calibres, being highly respected by German fighter crews who nicknamed it “The Flying Porcupine”.
Due to their sheer size, Sunderland’s were never produced in the quantity required , leading to the lend-lease and purchase of American B-17, B-24 and PBY.
Used all over the world, Sunderlands would have a humanitarian role during the Berlin Airlift and then see service in the Chinese Civil War and Korean War, two trying to reach the stranded frigate HMS Amethyst in the earlier campaign. European based Sunderland’s would continue to serve until 1957 while in the Far East, the last RAF aircraft was retired in 1959.
The last French aircraft remained in service for a few years longer.