The Stranraer was designed by J.R. Mitchell as a tender to Air Ministry R.24/31
Specification for a coastal reconnaissance flying boat for the RAF. It was turned down but
Supermarine proceeded with the type as a private venture first known as the Southampton V.
After all a contract was placed in 1933 for a prototype powered by two 820hp Bristol
Pegasus IIIM and the type became known as the Stranraer.
The Stranraers hull and structure were of metal with the wings and empennage covered with
fabric; in some places stainless steel was used. The six-crew consisted of a pilot, a
navigator, a radio operator and gunners who had sleeping quarters and cooking facilities
at their disposal. It had guns in nose, dorsal and tail positions, under the lower wing an
1,000 lb (454 kg) load of bombs or fuel could be carried.
The first flight was made on July 27, 1934 by ‘Mutt’ Summers, following the initial
flight-test programme the Stranraer (K3973) was delivered to the RAF on October 24. On
August 29, 1935 an initial order was placed for 17 aircraft (K7287 to K7303) to the production
specification 17/35. The production version was fitted with the 920hp Pegasus X and the
first flew in December 1936, entering service operations on April 16, 1937; the last
Stranraer was delivered April 3, 1939. An additional order for six aircraft (K9676 to
K9681) was placed in May 1936, but subsequently cancelled; the type served until
October 30, 1942.
Canada selected the Stranraer for service with the RCAF and Canadian Vickers received an
order for three aircraft in November 1936. The first Canadian built Stranraer (RCAF 907)
flew for the first time on October 21, 1938 piloted by Herbert Hollick-Kenyon. The order
was increased to 40 but material shortage due to the war slowed production and it was not
until December 1941 before the last aircraft was delivered.
The Stranraer served well but lacked the later required longer range, so they were
assigned to secondary roles from 1943, being supplanted by the Catalina and Canso; the
final aircraft was withdrawn from the RCAF on January 20, 1946. The Canadian Stranraers
were identical to the British version, only landing lights were fitted to the lower port
wing. The first 17 aircraft had the Pegasus X engines, the latter 23 were fitted with the
1,010 hp Pegasus XXII engines.
Twenty Stranraers were sold to Siple Aviation Ltd. and of these thirteen came on the
Canadian civil register. Two Stranraers CF-BXO and –BYX (ex-RCAF 920 and 915) were fitted
with 1,000 hp Wright GR-1820-G202GA Cyclone engines increasing performance and maximum
T/O-weight. These were know as Super Stranraers, one of them (CF-BXO) is restored in RCAF
colours and can be seen in the RAF Museum in London, UK.