Operational History and Background


The squadron officially formed for the first time at Palisadoes, Jamaica in February 1942 as a torpedo bomber reconnaissance Swordfish squadron, subsequently embarking on HMS Furious in April 1942 from Norfolk, Virginia, USA for the UK.

After DLT on HMS Activity, the squadron embarked on HMS Battler in April 1943 for convoy duties, and fighter flight of 6 Sea Hurricane IICs from 804 squadron being incorporated in June 1943 which spent part of September and October operating from HMS Ravager.

After a period at Eglington, in November 1943 the squadron embarked on HMS Chaser, the fighter flight being at Abbotsinch, and subsequently from Eglington the squadron transferred to HMS Nairana in December 1943 returning to Hatston and Machrihanish in January 1944.

HAWKER SEA HURRICANE IIC, NF700 "7T", 835 Sqn RN, HMS Nairana, June 1944 [A0681]

Most of 1944 was spent in Atlantic convoy duties onboard HMS Nairana, and in May and June two JU 290s were shot down. Then in August the squadron was involved in Arctic Russia convoys to and from Hatston, and attacked two U-Boats and shot down four enemy aircraft, and in March 1945 was involved in operations off Trondheim.

The squadron disbanded in March 1945 at Hatston, the fighter flight being absorbed into 821 squadron.

Battle Honours
Atlantic 1943 - 4, Arctic 1944 - 5

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

L/C M Johnstone, DSC, RN Feb 1942-April 1942

Lt JR Lang, RN April 1942-Sept 1943

L/C WN Waller, RN Sept 1943-Dec 1943

L/C EE Barringer, RNVR Feb 1944-Aug 1944

L/C FV Jones RNVR Aug 1944-Jan 1945

L/C(A) JR Godley, RNVR Jan 1945-March 1945



Swordfish I Feb 1942-Feb 1943

Swordfish II Oct 1942-June 1944

Swordfish III July 1944-March 1945

Sea Hurricane IIc June 1943-Sept 1944

Wildcat V Sept 1944-March 1945


Ships and Squadron bases
HMS Furious in April 1942

HMS Battler in April 1943

HMS Ravager 1943

HMS Nairana most of 1944


The Squadron Today
Link to current Fleet Air Arm squadron information

Associations and Reunions

835 sqdn Naval Air Squadron reunion
Reunions are and for the last 4 years have been at Honiley Court Hotel, Honiley, near Warwick. The previous reunion was on the 2nd April 2005 and organised by Donald Payne Tel 01306 884 774. See 835 squadron webpage for details. Contact: David Whittick. Or contact details via FAAOA


835 Naval Air Squadron Old Comrades Reunion Web Site

835 squadron had a New Zealand contingent: including Lt Burgham, Bill Armitage and Peter Picot. See details on Royal New Zealand Navy: The Past, Present & Future

Books about 835 squadron

Alone on a Wide Wide Sea; the story of 835 Naval Air Squadron in the Second World War. By E.E. Barringer. Pen & Sword Books / Leo Cooper. ISBN: 0850522781.

The story of Fleet Air Arm 835 squadron told by one if its surviving commanding officers. 835 naval air squadron engaged in the battle of the Atlantic, through the eyes of the aircrew whose flying skills played a vital role in helping the merchant vessels fight their way through.

Click here to view details 

Hardcover - 209 pages (October 1994)

See Fleet Air Arm Books for other publications


Swordfish Patrol by George E. Sadler. Bridge Books; ISBN: 1872424538.

The story of the hundreds of lonely hours spent shepherding essential but vulnerable merchant vessels through the U Boat infested waters to a safe berth in Allied territory where the airman's success was measured, not by locating the enemy but by keeping him at arm's length. The author carried out patrols in all weathers, in every season, providing cover for convoys. He completed the highest number of deck landings in his squadron before being sent ashore as an instructor shortly before the end of war in Europe.

Click here to view details

Paperback - 136 pages (1996)

See Fleet Air Arm Books for other publications


 Bring Back My Stringbag; Swordfish Pilot at War, 1940-1945, By John Kilbracken. Pen & Sword. ISBN: 0850524954.

This vigorous, extraordinarily vivid account by Lord Kilbracken, John Godley, of his five years in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War provides a remarkable picture of personal dealings with Swordfish aircraft - affectionately known as Stringbags - which, he asserts, seemed to have been left in the war by mistake. 


An entertaining account of the author's five year service career in the FAA in which he flew 67 operational sorties, including a spell in Nairana (a MAC conversion) on the Murmansk run. Godley, was the final CO of 835 squadron before the end of the war.

Click here to view details 

Paperback - 245 pages (1996) 

See Fleet Air Arm Books for other publications





835 Naval Air Squadron Old Comrades Reunion Web Site

Excellent and well organised veteran’s website with information about news and events, history of the squadron and their ship HMS Nairana, paintings, FAQs, links and old comrades reunions. Webmaster is David Whittick.

Paintings of 835 Naval Squadron Old Comrades Reunion Site

To purchase a print, e-mail for details, quoting the print name. All Paintings are copyright© Jock Bevan.

“Alone on a Wide Wide Sea: the story of 835 Naval Air Squadron in the Second
World War” by EE Barringer

The story of 835 Naval Air Squadron on board Escort Carrier HMS Nairana as told by the squadron’s fourth CO, Lt Cdr Barringer.

The story of "NICKI" Sea-Hurricane IIc NF 672- (7K) of  FAA 804 and 835 Squadrons - Royal Navy as seen by one of her pilots

by Ian Burgham with Lt.-Cmdr Allen Burgham,



Swordfish Patrol by George Sadler

George was a pilot on Swordfish in 835 squadron.

HMS Nairana – FAA Archive

FAA Archive summary of one of 835 squadrons main ships

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


An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS, including HAWKER SEA HURRICANE Mk.IIC, 835 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Nairana, June 1942,



        Created: 23-2-2001, Last modified: 14-6-2005


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