Page last updated at 07:24 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Sharks share tank with 'walrus'

Artist's impression of the Walrus in the shark tank

Three sharks at a Devon aquarium are to share their tank with a walrus - not the water-borne mammal but a replica of an amphibious biplane.

The model of the World War II aircraft is part of the National Marine Aquarium's Lost at Sea exhibition.

The first part of the replica will be placed in the sand tiger shark tank at the Plymouth attraction on Thursday.

One plane crew sent on a secret mission from Plymouth in WWII never returned. The aquarium hopes to honour them.

'Mark of respect'

The Walrus was first introduced in 1935 and used during the war for reconnaissance.

In June 1940, Winston Churchill requested the Royal Air Force undertook a secret mission from Plymouth to rescue a family in occupied France.

The plane with its crew of four took off from Mount Batten, never to return.

The RAF, which has donated the life-sized aircraft replica said it was currently contacting their families to notify them so they could be honoured in the display.

The air force added that it was pleased to have a permanent association with the aquarium.

John Crouch of the aquarium said: "We wanted a Walrus in one of our tanks as a mark of respect for the locally-based crew who lost their lives and are extremely grateful to the RAF for its continued support."

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