Crest photo courtesy of R.D-C (

Operational History and Background

Fairey Swordfish MkI 811 sqdn, HMS Courageous 609/K8440 January 1939

On the outbreak of war this Swordfish squadron transferred from Donibristle to HMS Courageous, but all aircraft were lost when the ship was sunk on 17 September 1939.

The squadron was reformed in July 1941 as a torpedo bomber reconnaissance (TBR) squadron intended for service with escort carriers, with 14 Chesapeakes and 2 Sea Hurricanes. The unsuitability of the Chesapeakes gave way to replacement with 6 Swordfish IIs in November 1941.

From August 1942 the squadron undertook anti-shipping and mine-laying night operations from Bircham Newton under the control of RAF Coastal Command till December when absorbed into 812 squadron.

In January 1943, the squadron received 3 Wildcat IVs and embarked the following month in HMS Biter for escort duties, damaging U-203 on 25 April, and damaging U-89 on 12 May after which RN ships were able to sink both U-boats. Six later attacks were unsuccessful.

On 16 February 1944 the wildcats shot down a Ju 290B and its attached glider bomb.

Over the rest of 1944 the squadron operated from Limavady, under Coastal Command on further operations, and in September embarked on HMS Vindex with 12 Swordfish and 4 Wildcats on North Russian Convoys, disbanding on its return in December 1944.

The squadron was not to be reformed till September 1945, equipped with 15 Mosquito FB.VIs.

Battle Honours
English Channel 1942, North Sea 1942, Atlantic 1943 - 4, Arctic 1944

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C S Borrett, RN July 1939-September 1939
  • L/C RD Wall, RN July 1941-Oct 1941
  • L/C WJ Lucas, RN Oct 1941-Feb 1942
  • L/C HS Hayes, DSC, RN Feb 1942-Jan 1943
  • Lt JG Baldwin, Rn Jan 1943-April 1943
  • Lt AS Kennard, DSC, RN April 1943-Nov 1943
  • L/C EB Morgan, RANVR Nov 19430-July 1944
  • L/C(A) EEG Emsley, RNVR July 1944-Dec 1944
  • L/C(A) SMP Walsh, DSO, DSC & Bar, RNVR Sept- end of WW2
  • Aircraft
  • Swordfish I Oct 1936-Sept 1939
  • Sea Hurricane July 1941-Sept 1941
  • Chesapeake I July 19410-Nov 1941
  • Avro 652 July 1941-March 1942
  • Swordfish II Nov 1941-Dec 1944
  • Swordfish III July 1944-Dec 1944
  • Wildcat IV Jan 1943-April 1944
  • Wildcat V March 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  
    Robert Horsten's FAA
            Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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