Operational History and Background

Formed at Worthy Down in July 1940 as Fleet Fighter squadron with 12 Fulmar Is the squadron moved to the Isle of Man for land based patrols over the Irish Sea.

Fairey Fulmar 808 squadron 1940
Squadron Profiles drawn by E-draw-wings

FAIREY FULMAR I, N1892 "6K", 808 Sqn RN, HMS Victorious, December 1940 [A0207]

In July 1940 the squadron operated at Wick in Northern Scotland on dockyard defence, and subsequently recognised as only one of two FAA squadrons operating with RAF Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain (also see 804 squadron).

In October 1940 the squadron embarked on HMS Ark Royal to join Force H in the Mediterranean, and in November 2 enemy aircraft were destroyed during an attack on Sardinia, and 2 more in attacks on Sicily in January 1941, and a third in May during the defence of Malta.

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

Following the squadron's May 1941 participation in the pursuit of the Bismarck in the Atlantic, subsequently in July and August 1941 15 enemy aircraft were claimed jointly with 807.

With the sinking of the Ark Royal in November 1941, the remaining aircraft of the squadron landed at Gibraltar, and subsequently merged with 807 squadron.

The squadron was re-formed in January 1942 with 6 Fulmar IIs, embarked briefly on HMS Biter, working up on HMS Battler in April-May 1943, A Flight subsequently shot down a Fw 200 on 22 June 1942 whilst on Gibraltar convoy escort.

The whole squadron with HMS Battler took part in the Salerno landings in September 1943, the squadron returning to the UK in HMS Hunter as part of the 3rd Naval Fighter Wing.

In May 1944 the squadron, with 20 Seafire L.IIIs, was attached at Lee-on-Solent to No. 345 Recce Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, RAF for the Normandy D-Day landings, then re-equipped with 24 Hellcat Is and IIs, joining HMS Khedive in January 1945 for the East Indies Fleet.

Hellcat II, JZ788, 808 Squadron, HMS Khedive, May 1945
© Scott Fraser

The squadron was involved in operations off Malaya and Sumatra in April 1944, including from HMS Emperor, and in May provided cover during the re-occupation of Rangoon, and strikes against airfields in Sumatra in June. Cover was provided during the occupation of Malaya after VJ-Day.

Post war 808 sqdn reformed on 25 April 1950 as a Royal Australian Navy squadron at St Merryn, embarking with its Sea Furies on HMAS Sydney as part of the 21st CAG.

Hellcat II, JW872, 808 Squadron, HMS Khedive Malay Coast, June 1945
© Scott Fraser

Battle Honours
Spartivento 1940, 'Bismarck' 1941, Malta Convoys 1941, Atlantic 1943, Salerno 1943, Normandy 1944, Burma 1945

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • Lt HER Torin, RN July 1940-July 1940
  • L/C RC Tillard, RN July 1940-May 1941
  • L/C EDG Lewin, RN May 1941-Nov 1941
  • Lt CP Campbell-Horsfall, RN Jan 1942-March 1943
  • L/C(A) AC Wallace, RNVR March 1943-Oct 1943
  • L/C(A) JF Rankin, DSC, RN Oct 1943-May 1945
  • L/C(A) CF Wheatley, RNVR May 1945 -June 1945
  • L/C(A) RF Bryant, RN June 1945 - end of WW2
  • Aircraft
  • Fulmar I July 1940-1941
  • Fulmar II 1941-Nov1942
  • Spitfire Vb hooked Dec 1942-April 1943
  • Seafire L.IIc Dec 1942 -May 1944
  • SpitfirePR.XIII March 1944 -March 1944
  • Spitfire Vb Feb1944 -May 1944
  • Spitfire LF.Vb May 1944-July 1944
  • SeafireL.III June 1944 -Oct 1944
  • Hellcat I Oct 1944-March 1945
  • Hellcat II Oct 1944-end of WW2
  • Ships and Squadron bases
    To be listed
    The Squadron Today
    Link to current Fleet Air Arm squadron information

    Associations and Reunions
    No information

    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  
    808 squadron in : Robert Horsten's FAA
    An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS including FAIREY FULMAR I, N1892 "6K", 808 Sqn RNAS, HMS Victorious, December 1940,GRUMMAN HELLCAT Mk. II, 808 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Khedive, August 1945
    The following profiles are offered by Scott Fraser, owner of Tally Ho! decals, Hellcat II, JW872, 808 Squadron, HMS Khedive Malay Coast, June 1945, Hellcat II, JZ788, 808 Squadron, HMS Khedive, May 1945
    Squadron Profiles drawn by E-draw-wings
            Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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