The Saro Lerwick was ordered out of the drawing board in the rearmament turmoil of the late 1930’s to replace the archaic Saro London and Supermarine Stranraer. That Russian rulette approach didn’t pay in this case. First flown in late 1938, the Lerwick soon proved to be a seriously flawed design: underpowered, of dubious stability, structurally weak, horrible seaworthy qualities, …, you name it. Anyway, the RAF needed this kind of seaplane, they needed it now and there weren’t other options at the time. The Lerwick didn’t disappoint. Introduced in service in 1939, retired and reintroduced in 1940, the 21 built suffered an atrocious accident rate: almost 50% (10) were lost for various reasons. The Catalina replaced them in 1942 -their crews’ sighs of relief should have been colossal.
All that apart, the Lerwick was, in my opinion, a really cute little thing.