INDEX OF NAVAL AIR SQUADRONS

 

 

801 

squadron 

 
Operational History and Background
 


HAWKER OSPREY III, K3628 "134", 801 Sqn FAA, H.M.S. Furious, November 1938 [A0522]
©  Rick Kent FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS


The squadron was formed January 1940 at Donibristle with six Skuas, taking part in the Norway operation in April 1940 from HMS Ark Royal.
 
 
Events in Norway October 1940 with Blackburn Skua Mk II, L2902 801 Sqn, Fleet Air Arm Crew: Lt H. Hayes, and Lt E. Graham during the Norwegian campaign and their internment in Sweden

On 13th October HMS Furious left Scapa Flow for the Norwegian waters again, this time to strike against Tromso. In the early hours of the 16th, the aircraft of 801 squadron were prepared for another sortie. At 0405 hours GMT+1 (B.S.T.) six Skuas from 801 Squadron flew off the deck to attack the harbour at Tromso. L2902 released its load, sometime after this the decision to head for Sweden was taken. The reason for this is not known, but several factors may have contributed to the decision; one being the difficulties in finding HMS Furious again.

The aircraft crossed the Swedish border on a southerly course. Over the village of Malmberget the aircraft was fired at by Swedish anti-aircraft batteries (located there in defense of the mining facilities). This happened at 0856 hours GMT+1 and caused the crew to fire Verey-lights. The aircraft eventually ditched in Lake Vassaratrask near Gallivare. Taking to their dinghy, the crew reached the beach, where they were met by a Swedish Army patrol. After questioning, Lieutenant Hayes and Graham were sent by train to Framby for internment. They were released for repatriation in December.
   The Skua L2902 was salvaged and was put into storage at F4 Froson. It was kept there until the end of 1944, when it was decided to scrap the aircraft. As no British aircraft were taken back to the United Kingdom, they were disposed of in various fashions. L2902 ended up as a gunnery practice target for the Swedish Air Force J26 Mustangs at Brynaset on Ason island, which was first used in 1947. The first attack was made by the first Division (Flight) of the F4 Wing, 'David Rod'.

Wegmann, Rolph and Bo Widfeldt. Making for Sweden, part one: The Royal Air Force. Walton-on-Thames, Surrey: Air Research Publications, 1997 ISBN 1-871187-33-8

The squadron was reformed with 12 sea hurricanes in August 1941, and involved in the defence of Scapa. In May 1942 it sailed to the Mediterranean with HMS Argus, subsequently taking part in the Malta convoys with HMS Eagle. With the torpedoing of HMS Eagle the squadron ceased to exist.

In September 1942, 801 reformed at Stretton with 12 RAF Spitfire Va’s and Vb’s, to be replaced as the second FAA squadron with Seafire Ib’s, which sailed with HMS Furious for the North African landings the following month and returning with the ship to Scapa in October.

During this campaign, the Seafire was first into action during the Allied invasion of Morocco and Algeria when a Mk IB of No 801 Squadron from HMS Furious shot down a Dewoitine 520 on 8 November, 1942. American Spitfire Mk VBs were also used during these landings.


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, along with HMS Furious's fighter squadrons 801 and 880.

The squadron provided cover in the Tirpitz attacks in Norway in April and May 1944 and after re-equipping with Seafire L.IIIs was involved in subsequent Tirpitz ops. Joining 30th Naval Fighter Wing in October the squadron saw service with HMS Implacable, and in March 1945 embarked for the Far East with 24 aircraft.

The squadron joined the British Pacific Fleet in May 1945 as part of the 8th Carrier Air Group escorting strikes on Truk and targets around Japan till after VJ day.

Battle Honours
Dunkirk 1940, Atlantic 1940, Norway 1940 - 4, Malta Convoys 1942, North Africa 1942 - 3, Japan 1945

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel
  • L/C HP Bramwell, RN Jan 1940-April 1940
  • Lt CP Campbell-Horsfall, RN April 1940-June 1940
  • Lt IR Sarel, RN June 1940-May 1941
  • L/C(A) RA Brabner, MP, RNVR Aug 1941-Sept 1942
  • L/C FRA Turnbull, DSC, RN (temp) Sept 1942
  • L/C(A) RMcD Hall, RN Sept 1942-Nov 1943
  • L/C(A) HF Bromwich, RN Nov 1943-July 1944
  • L/C(A) S Jewers, RNVR July 1944-Sept 1945
  • L/C RM Crosley, DSC & Bar, RNVR Sept 1945-end of WW2 .


Aircraft

  • Skua II Jan 1940-May 1941
  • Roc I June 1940-June 1940
  • Sea Hurricane Ia Aug 1941-Nov 1941
  • Sea Hurricane Ib Aug 1941-Aug 1942
  • Spitfire Va, Vb Sept 1942-Oct 1942
  • Spitfire Vb hooked Sept 1942-Oct 1942
  • Seafire Ib Sept 1942-June 1944
  • Seafire IIc Oct 1942-May 1943
  • Seafire LIIc April 1944-June 1944
  • Seafire LIII May 1944-Nov 1945
  • Seafire F.XV Sept 1945-April 1946
Sea Gladiators No 801 FAA Squadron Serials: N5500, N5501, N5502, N5503, N5504, N5505, N5506, N5507, N5508, N5509, N5510, N5511, N5512, N5513, N5514, N5515, N5516, N5517. Notes: N5500-N5511 was received on 8/2/39. N5512-N5517 was received on 21/3/39. in Gladiator production for the RAF and FAA

Ships and Squadron bases
To be listed

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


FURTHER INFORMATION
 
801 squadron today. MOD website
Wegmann, Rolph and Bo Widfeldt. Making for Sweden, part one: The Royal Air Force. Walton-on-Thames, Surrey: Air Research Publications, 1997 ISBN 1-871187-33-8 Account of 16 October 1940 Blackburn Skua Mk II, L2902 801 Sqn, Fleet Air Arm Crew: Lt H. Hayes, and Lt E. Graham during the Norwegian campaign and their internment in Sweden
Operational history of 801 with Gladiators in “Gloster Gladiators and Fiat CR.42s over Malta 1940-41(Håkans Aviation page) Operational history of 801 with Gladiators in “Gloster Gladiators and Fiat CR.42s over Malta 1940-41 (Håkans Aviation page)
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 Aircraft Profiles including HAWKER NIMROD Mk.II, 801 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, H.M.S. Furious, October 1936, HAWKER OSPREY Mk.III, 801 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, H.M.S. Furious, November 1938
 
        Last Modified: 23-2-2001


 

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