Short S.26/M "G Class"
|The S.26 was designed as
an enlarged Short C-Class Empire flying boat, also
incorporating features from the Short Sunderland. Greater
use of extrusions in the structure, rather than bent
sheet sections, compared to the C-Class aircraft, helped
to keep the weight down. It was powered by four 1,400 hp
(1,044 kW) Bristol Hercules sleeve valve radial engines,
and it was designed with the capability of crossing the
Atlantic without refuelling, and was intended to form the
backbone of Imperial Airways' Empire services.
Three Short S.26 G-class aircraft were built for Imperial Airways, subsidised by the Air Ministry in anticipation of military use.
When converted to the S.26/M version, the aircraft had defensive armament of 12 x 0.303 inch machine guns in two dorsal, and one tail, Boulton Paul BPA Mk II four-gun turrets. Offensive armament was eight 500 lb (227 kg) bombs under the wings. There was internal stowage for 20 reconnaissance flares, 28 flame floats and 8 smoke floats. Air to surface vessel (ASV) radar was fitted, plus armour plating for the internal fuel tanks and the crew stations.
Two of the aircraft were handed over to Imperial Airways for crew training, in 1940 all three were impressed (along with their crews) into the RAF, before they could start civilian operation. They were modified by Shorts to S.26/M military configuration before delivery to the RAF. After modification at Rochester, Airborne Surveillance Radar was fitted by Blackburn Aircraft Limited at Dumbarton in Scotland.
From 1941, the G-Boats served with No. 119 Squadron RAF and No. 10 Squadron RAAF, flying stores to Gibraltar and the Middle East before the two survivors were passed on to BOAC in December 1941.
Page Author: Brendan Cowan.
Source: National Archives, British Military Aircraft Serials 1911-1979, Bruce Robertson, Australian War Memorial, Air Britain, 'Maritime is number 10': A history of 10 Squadron RAAF, the Sunderland era 1939 - 1945, K. C. Baff, (Netley: Griffin Press Limited, 1983), http://www.planecrashinfo.com, http://aviation-safety.net , National Archives of Australia ,
Emails: Martin Edwards,
Updated 29 November 2013
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