800 squadron 


Operational History and Background

BLACKBURN SKUA II, L2933 "K", 800 Sqn RN, HMS Ark Royal, November 1939 [A0227]

At the beginning of the war, 800 was flying Skua and a few Rocs from HMS Ark Royal. Fighter patrols were carried out off Norway and submarine patrols in the NW approaches.

During the German invasion of Norway in 1940, whilst based at Hatston, 800 and 803 squadrons dive-bombed the German cruiser Konigsberg at Bergen. Squadron aircraft shot down six He111s. The 800 Squadron CO, Capt RT Partridge, RM was taken POW and four aircraft lost on an attack on the Scharnhorst. In July 1940, the squadron was involved in the attack on the French Fleet at Oran. Two SM 79 bombers shot down off Sardinia.

Konigsberg attacked and sunk by 800 and 803 squadron in Norway 1940

800 squadron attack on the German cruiser Konigsberg

In the attack on the Konigsberg, 800 Sqdn provided 5 aircraft and 7 crews while 803 Sqdn provided 11 aircraft and 9 crews. The force took off at 5.15 am on the 10th April, 1940. They arrived over
Bergen at 7.20 and made a quick circuit of the harbour, then the Skuas circled around and attacking the Konigsberg from behind the Floyen and the Ulriken mountains making their dives  from prow to stern, dropping 500 lb bombs, most bombs being released between 1,500 to 3,000 foot above the target. 

The Germans had 15 minutes warning of the approach of the dive bombers but only two 2cm guns on the prow of the ship could be bought to bear on the Skuas. The forward 3.7cm batteries of the Konigsberg had
been destroyed by the Norwegian harbour defences and the heavy AA guns at the rear of the ship
could not be bought to bear to fire forward over the main structure of the ship. Two Skuas had  holes shot in their wings but these caused no major damage.

Two direct hits amidships of the Konigsberg were claimed and another near the bow. One  bomb exploded next to the port side of the ship. Five bombs hit the harbour mole. The rest were near misses , mostly off the stern of the ship. The Konigsberg started sinking by the bows with flames rising from her. The damage caused by the bombs did not sink the ship directly, rather it was the inability of her crew to control the fires without the equipment damaged by the Norwegian shore batteries. Flooding caused by the bombing was minimal but could not be controlled because the Konigsbergs pumps were out of action due to the loss of electrical power. Magazines had to be deliberately flooded to stop the threat of fire reaching them. The 
Konigsberg finally sank some 2 hrs 45 mins after the Skua attack. 

On the two squadrons return flight, while climbing through clouds, one of the Skuas went into a spin and crashed, killing the leader of 803 Squadron's third section. Lt.BJ Smeeton, and his crewman Mid. (A) F Watkinson. All the other aircraft made it back to their base on the Orkneys.

Second Wave attack on the Konigsberg by 800 Squadron









Lt.Cdr. Geoffrey Hare detached from 803 Squadron

Capt. Richard Thomas Partridge

Lt.Cdr. Geoffrey Hare




PO(A) Harold Arthur Monk

LA Leslie Charles S Eccleshall




PO(A) Jack Hadley

LA Maurice Hall



Became separated on outward flight, arrived 10 mins later and attacked alone

Acting Lt. Edward Winchester Tollemache Taylour

Acting PO(A) Howard Gresley Cunningham




Lt. James Anthony Rooper

PO(A) Richard Stephens Rolph



Reported hit on Konigsberg

Lt. Kenneth Vyvyan Vincent Spurway

PO(A) Christopher James Edwin Cotterill




Acting. PO(A) James Alexander Gardner 

NA1 Alan Todd

Bismarck smoking on the horizon whilst under fire from the big guns of the Fleet immediately prior to her being sunk, 26 May 1941

The squadron was regrouped with Fulmars in April 1941 at Gibraltar, proceeding with two Flights, to HMS Victorious to search for the Bismarck, and to HMS Argus. On regrouping in June 1941, the squadron joined HMS Furious for an attack on Petsamo, and after the West Indies onboard HMS Indomitable was involved in the Madagascar operations.

Sea Hurricanes were received in 1942 and took part in the North African landings in HMS Biter in November 1942.

In July 1943, 800 was the first FAA squadron to equip with the Hellcat. Joining No. 7 Naval Fighter Wing the squadron provided escort for April 1944 attacks against the German battleship Tirpitz from HMS Emperor.

Successful attack in Operation Tungsten of 3 April 1944 on the Tirpitz in Kaa Fjord, North Norway by 827 and 830 squadron Barracuda dive-bombers from HMS Furious and HMS Victorious and supported by the 7th Naval Fighter Wing including 800, 804, 881, 896, 882, and 898 fighter sqdns

Royal Navy Hellcat I's (F6F-3) from 800 squadron were involved in escorting Barracuda attacks on the german battleship Tirpitz from April to August 1944 in Alta Fjord, Norway. One of these operations, on 8 May 1944, the Luftwaffe fighters flew up to protect the battleship. Some of the 800 squadron Hellcats from HMS Emperor went to attack the German aircraft and shot down 1 Fw-190 and two Bf-109G fighters. The Hellcats suffered one loss to the Luftwaffe and another to anti-aircraft fire. Sub Lt. B. Richie claimed the Focke-Wulf and went on to claim a total of 6 kills, becoming one of only a few Royal Navy Hellcat aces.

Tally Ho! decals Hellcat I, JV131, 800 squadron HMS Emperor, March 1944 during Tirpitz attacks
© Scott Fraser

GRUMMAN HELLCAT I, JV105 "EW", 800 Sqn RN, HMS Emperor, August 1944 [A0165]

Tally Ho! decals Hellcat II, JX899, 800 Squadron, HMS Emperor Singapore, Sept 1945
SUPERMARINE SEAFIRE FR.47, VP461 "178/P", 800 Sqn FAA, HMS Triumph, September 1950 [A0223]

In June 1944, 804 squadron was absorbed and the squadron took part in the invasion of southern France in August 1944.

In May 1945 the squadron took part in the recapture of Rangoon, aircraft operating from HMS Shah and HMS Emperor. The squadron returned to the UK after the end of the war.

Tally Ho! decals Hellcat II, JX899, 800 Squadron, HMS Emperor Singapore, Sept 1945
© Scott Fraser

Battle Honours
Norway 1940 - 4, Mediterranean 1940 - 1, Spartivento 1940, Malta Convoys 1941 - 2,
Norway 1940 - 4, 'Bismarck' 1941, Diego Suarez 1942, North Africa 1942, South France 1944, Aegean 1944, Burma 1945, Malaya 1945

In the Korean war the Seafires of 800 squadron flew 245 CAP missions, and 115 strike missions over Korea without a single loss to enemy fire.

Lt Rodney Maurice Roger's sacrifice (22th August 1944)
                 800th Squadron - HMS Emperor - Fleet Air Arm

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

    • L/C GN Torry, RN (Flt Lt, RAF) Nov1938 - April 1940
    • Lt EGD Finch-Noyes, RN (Temp) May 1940-June 1940
    • Capt RT Partridge, RM April 1940-May 1940
    • Lt EGD Finch-Noyes RN (Temp) May 1940-June 1940
    • LtRD Smeeton, RN June 1940-May 1941
    • L/C JAD Wroughton DSC, RN May 1941-March 1942
    • L/C JM Bruen DSC, RN March 1942-Dec 1942
    • L/C H Muir-Mackenzie, DSC, RN Dec 1942-July 1943
    • L/C SJ Hall, DSC, RN July 1943-Sept 1944
    • L/C Fell, DSC, RN Sept 1944-Dec 1944
    • L/C (A) DB Law, DSC, RN Dec 1944-May 1945
    • L/C H De Wit, RNethN May 1945-Dec 1945


Sea Hurricane JS278 of 800 sqdn flown by Sub Lt RL Thompson from HMS Biter

    • Roc I May 1939-May 1941
    • Fulmar I May 1941-June 1941
    • Fulmar II June 1941-July 1942
    • Sea Hurricane Ib June 1942-Oct 1942
    • Sea Hurricane IIb Sept 1942-Oct 1942
    • Sea Hurricane IIc Oct 1942-Nov 1943
    • Hellcat I July 1943-May 1945
    • Hellcat II Oct 1944-end of WW2

800 sqdn seafire FR.47. After strikes at terrorists in Malaya in early 1950, with 802 Squadron's Firefly Mk. Is, 800 Squadron's Seafires provided air cover for the retreat to the Pusan perimeter, south Korea 1950.

Ships and Squadron bases

The Squadron Today
Link to the current squadron information

Associations and Reunions
800-804 Squadron Armourers 1942-45
          Contact: Tom Brown, 27 Heatherset Gardens, Norbury, London. SW16 3LS, UK




800 squadron today. MOD website


The Sinking of the Konigsberg. in BLACKBURN SKUA website

Role of 800 sqdn in this historic attack


Role of 800 sqdn in the attack on Konigsberg

Andrew G Linsley, Lt RN Ret'd, North East Area Organiser - Royal Navy Historic Flight

OPERATION SKUA or "More ice in your gin" tells the story of the loss of a wartime aircraft, a Blackburn Skua of 800 Squadron from HMS Ark Royal. 

TITAN FURBALL: 3 July 1940
by Nowfel Leulliot 

Operation Catapult to neutralize the French Navy
and prevent its possible use by Germany. 

Order of Battle Mers-el-Kebir (Operation Catapult) 3 July 1940. Contributed by Dan Muir 

Role of 800 sqdn in the battle

Memorial to 8 may 2000 tribute to Lt Rodney Maurice RODGERS 

Memorial to 8 may 2000 tribute to Lt Rodney Maurice RODGERS, KIA on 22th August 1944 at Villeneuve-les-Béziers (Hérault-South of France). 

With Gallantry and Determination" The Story of the Torpedoing of the Bismarck by Mark E. Horan


Grumman's Cats: The First Cat: The F4F Wildcat

Mention of 800 squadron in trhe Tirpitz attacks

The Supermarine Spitfire, an operational history by Christopher Whitehead. 


World Aircraft Carrier Lists and Photo Gallery - from 1913 to 2000. Naval History Information Center, Haze Gray & Underway

American based World Aircraft Carrier Lists & Photo Gallery - one of the definitive online sources for British and world aircraft carrier & seaplane tender data, histories and images - over 1000 photos. 

Sturtivant, R & Ballance, T  (1994). 'The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1994 ISBN: 0 85130 223 8


An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS

An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS including BLACKBURN SKUA II, 800 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Ark Royal, South Atlantic, November 1939, GRUMMAN HELLCAT Mk.I, 800 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Emperor, Mediterranean Sea, August 1944 Operation Dragoon - Invasion of Southern France, HAWKER NIMROD Mk.I, 800 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, H.M.S. Courageous, September 1937

Scott Fraser, owner of Tally Ho! decals

The following profiles are offered by Scott Fraser, owner of Tally Ho! decals Hellcat I JV131, 800 squadron HMS Emperor, March 1944 during Tirpitz attacks, Hellcat II, JX899, 800 Squadron, HMS Emperor Singapore, Sept 1945,
Hellcat FR.II, JW723, 804 Squadron, HMS Ameer Malay Coast, August 1945.

Internet Hobbies.  Scale Models  F-6F-5, 800 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm 


Garden of Remembrance, South Atlantic Medal Association 82

Lieutenant Commander G. W. J. BATT, DSC, Lieutenant N. TAYLOR, 800 Squadron Fleet Air Arm killed in the Falklands War 1982


        Created: 23-2-2001, last modified 3-6-2005


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