Operational History and Background

GLOSTER SEA GLADIATOR I, N5519 "G6A", 802 Sqn RN, HMS Glorious, August 1939 [A0524]

At the outbreak of war the squadron was serving with HMS Glorious in the Mediterranean with 12 Sea Gladiators. The squadron ceased to exist with the loss of HMS Glorious, sunk by the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau on 8 June 1940 during the defence of Norway.

Hawker Nimrod S1581 is a preserved former Fleet Air Arm aircraft of 802 squadron HMS Glorious.
It made its first post restoration flight in July 2000

Reformed from part of 804 squadron in November 1940 with Martlet Is the squadron sub-flights embarked on HMS Audacity in July 1941, and on HMS Argus in August, and in the following month the whole squadron was involved in Gibraltar escort convoys from HMS Audacity from which it shot down 4 FW200s. The CO L/C JM Wintour RN was shot down in November 1941.

The squadron was lost on 21 December 1941 when HMS Audacity was sunk by U-741.

The squadron was re-formed in February 1942 with Sea Hurricane Ibs embarking on HMS Avenger for escorting PQ18 Arctic convoys in September during which time 5 enemy aircraft were shot down and 17 damaged, in conjunction with 883 squadron.

In September, the squadron embarked on HMS Avenger and provided fighter cover on the Algerian invasion beaches, and on convoy work UK bound was torpedoed on 15 November 1942 by U-155.

The squadron lay dormant till May 1945 when reformed at Arbroath with 24 Seafire L.IIIs. By VJ day, the squadron had spent a short period in HMS Queen, and had been anticipated to leave for the British Pacific Fleet with 9th Carrier Air Group.
802 Squadron was embarked September 13, 1941 with 6 aircraft in HMS "Empire Audacity," the first escort carrier (a conversion of the captured German steamer "Hanover"), to provide convoy cover against the Focke-Wulf Fw-200 Condor. "Audacity's" flight deck was only 460 ft., with no hangar deck and only two arrester wires instead of the usual six, and a crash barrier; all maintenance was carried out in the open, and the deck had to be completely respotted for takeoffs and landings.

While escorting Convoy OG-74, outbound to Gibraltar, the first Fw-200 was shot down on September 21. Eric Brown, later known as one of the foremost test pilots in history, got his first Condor - the squadron's third kill - on November 7, 1941, during the second trip to Gibraltar; his Martlet had a slightly-bent prop, but there were only 4 aircraft left aboard "Audacity" by then. Returning from Gibralter, he scored his second Condor kill on 19 December 1941.

HMS "Empire Audacity" was a priority target for the U-boats by this time; the ship was torpedoed and sunk by U-751 on December 21, 1941, with heavy loss of life. Brown and Lt. "Sheepy" Lamb were the only survivors of 802's pilots.

Battle Honours
Norway 1940, Atlantic 1941, North Africa 1942

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C JPG Bryant, RN (Sq Ldr, RAF) Jan 1938-March 1940
  • Lt JF Marmont, RN March 1940-June 1940
  • L/C JM Wintour, RN Nov 1940-Nov 1941
  • Lt DCEF Gibson, DSC, RN Nov 1941-Dec 1941, Feb 1942-April 1942
  • L/C EW Taylour, DSC, RN April 1942-Sept 1942
  • Lt DPZ Cox, RN Sept 1942-Nov 1942
  • L/C RE Hargreaves, DSC, RN May 1945-end of WW2

  • Squadron Leader John Lawrence Waters AFC, RAF no. 39262 WATERS trained with 802 aboard HMS Glorious in 1940 and subsequently involved in the defence of Malta..

  • Sea Gladiator May 1939-June 1940
  • Martlet I Nov 1940-Dec 1941
  • Martlet III June 1941-Dec 1941
  • Sea Hurricane I May 1941-June 1941
  • Sea Hurricane Ib Feb 1942-Sept 1942
  • Sea Hurricane IIb Sept 1942-Nov 1942
  • Seafire LIII May 1945-Aug 1945
  • Seafire F.XV Aug 1945-end of WW2
Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I (N5519) of 802 FAA Squadron operating from HMS Glorious in August 1939. © 1999 Rick Kent Image kindly provided by Rick Kent (Aircraft Profiles by Fauconberg Graphics

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.
Sea Gladiators in Gladiator production for the RAF and FAA
No 802 FAA Squadron HMS Glorious. 

Serials: N5518, N5519, N5520, N5521, N5524, N5525, N5526, N5527, N5528, N5529, N5530, N5531, N5532, N5533, N5534, N5535, N5537, N5539. 

Notes: N5518; 802 Sq. FAA 5/39-6/39; re-embarked in 802 Sq. on HMS Glorious 11/4/40; believed lost with her on 8/6/40. N5519; 802 Sq. FAA 6/39-9/39. N5520; 802 Sq. FAA 6/39-11/39. N5521; 802 Sq. FAA 5/39-10/39; re-embarked in 802 Sq. on HMS Glorious 11/4/40; believed lost with her on 8/6/40. N5524; to 802 Sq. FAA 17/5/39. N5525; 802 Sq. FAA 6/39-10/39; re-embarked in 802 Sq. on HMS Glorious 11/4/40; believed lost with her on 8/6/40. N5526; 802 Sq. FAA 12/39-1/40; re-embarked in 802 Sq. on HMS Glorious 11/4/40; believed lost with her on 8/6/40. N5527; 802 Sq. FAA 6/39-7/39; re-embarked in 802 Sq. on HMS Glorious 11/4/40; believed lost with her on 8/6/40. N5528; 802 Sq. FAA 7/39-10/39; crashed into lake during training flight on 11/10/39. N5529; 802 Sq. FAA 25/5/39-11/39. N5530; 802 Sq. FAA 5/39-10/39; re-embarked in 802 Sq. on HMS Glorious 11/4/40; believed lost with her on 8/6/40. N5531; 802 Sq. FAA 6/39-1/40. N5532; re-embarked in 802 Sq. FAA on HMS Glorious 11/4/40. N5533; re-embarked in 802 Sq. FAA on HMS Glorious 11/4/40. N5534; 802 Sq. FAA 5/39; crashed into the sea during a training flight on 19/5/39. N5535; re-embarked in 802 Sq. FAA on HMS Glorious 11/4/40.

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

Gloster Gladiators and Fiat CR.42s over Malta 1940-41.  Re 802 sqdn Gladiators in 1940
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 including GLOSTER SEA GLADIATOR Mk.I, 802 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, H.M.S. Glorious, August 1939, HAWKER NIMROD Mk.II, 802 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, H.M.S. Glorious, October 1937  
        Last Modified: 23-2-2001


Return to Home Page


This page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
© 2000-2001 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm Archive
Contact email: