Westland Wallace was a British two-seat,
general-purpose biplane of the Royal Air
Force, developed by Westland
as a follow-on to their successful Wapiti.
As the last of the inter-war
general purpose biplanes, it was used by a number of frontline and
Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons. Although the pace of aeronautical
development caused its rapid replacement in front line service, its
useful life was extended into the Second
with many being converted into target tugs and
wireless trainers. In 1933 a Westland Wallace became the first
aircraft to fly over Mount Everest, as part of the Houston Mount
Design and development
In 1931, Westland produced the PV-6
private-venture development of its successful Wapiti
. This updated aircraft embodied a
number of improvements including a lengthened fuselage, brakes and
wheel spats on the undercarriage and a new engine. By this time
both the appearance and performance differed considerably from the
standard Wapiti, so the company designated it the "PV6 Wallace."
Compared with the earlier Wapiti, the Wallace was 20 inches (0.5 m)
longer, incorporated an improved undercarriage and was powered by a
655-hp (488-kW) Bristol Pegasus
engine. The first batches of MK I Wallaces were conversions of
Wapitis, a total of 68 powered by 570-bhp (425-kW) Pegasus IIM3
Westland designed an improved version, the Mk II which fitted with
a more powerful engine and the then-novel idea of an enclosed
canopy over both crew positions. This offered greater comfort for
the crew and improved the rear gunner's aim by protecting him from
the slipstream. Three Wallace Is (K4346
were later converted to Mk II standards, including fitting the
original PV-6 prototype, registered G-ACBR (and also
known as the Houston-Wallace) along with Westland PV-3 G-ACAZ, was part of the
Houston Everest Expedition, named after Lucy, Lady Houston the patron, an attempt
to fly over Mount
Both aircraft received modifications that
included fitting heating and oxygen equipment, fully enclosing the
rear cockpits and using highly supercharged Bristol Pegasus IS 3
engines. Flown by Flight
D.F. McIntyre, the two aircraft became the first to
fly over Mount Everest on 3 April 1933.
Most of the Wallaces served with the Auxiliary Air Force
: 501, 502, 503
and 504 squadrons beginning with the converted Wapitis early in
1933. Others operated with the Anti-Aircraft
Co-operation Flight at RAF Biggin Hill.
The last Wallace was completed in October
When withdrawn from the general purpose role, many Wallaces were
converted into target tugs
. A total of 83
Wallaces remained in service at the beginning of the Second World
War. The last were withdrawn in 1943.
- Westland PV-6 - Prototype, later converted to
military configuration as a Wallace I.
- Wallace Mk I - Conversion from Wapiti powered
by a 570-hp (425-kW) Bristol Pegasus
IIM3 engine, 68 converted.
- Wallace Mk II - New aircraft with glazed
cockpit and powered by a 680-hp (506-kW) Bristol Pegasus IV engine, 104 built.
Specifications (Westland Wallace II)
Westland Wallace Mk II
- The Times, 15
- James 2008, p.22-23.
- James 2008, p. 24.
- Thetford pp.456-7
- James 1991, p.208.
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London:Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1991. ISBN 0 85177 847 X.
- James, Derek. "To The Top of the World". Aeroplane.
Vol 36 No. 4, Issue No 420, April 2008, pp. 20-25.
- Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft
of World War II. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1994. ISBN
- Thetford, O.Aircraft of the Royal Air Force
1918-57.London: Putnam, 1957.