Operational History and Background

The squadron formed at Donibristle in July 1941 as a Fleet Fighter squadron with 9 Martlet Is, moving to St Merryn in November, Yeovilton in December, and subsequently to Turnhouse with 13 Group RAF until mid March when it transferred to Machrihanish.
In May 1942, the squadron embarked in HMS Illustrious to provide support during the invasion of Madagascar, after which it merged into 881 squadron.

A remaining detachment still existed, and had embarked on HMS Archer in April 1942, disembarking at Floyd Bennett Field, New York, USA carrying out anti-submarine patrols with Swordfish until it was disbanded in September 1942.

The squadron was reformed in September 1942 at Donibristle with 12 Martlet IVs, embarking on HMS Victorious the following month to take part in the landings in North Africa. The ship then sailed through the Panama Canal to undertake sweeps in the Coral Sea, and provide support to US forces in the Middle Solomon islands including by using US Navy F4F-4s.

The squadron disembarked at Eglington in September 1943, and joined the 7th Naval Fighter Wing, embarking in HMS Searcher for convoy duties to the USA in December 1943. January 1944 was spent in Brunswick.

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 including 800, 804, 881, 896, 882, and 898 fighter sqdns

In February 1944, HMS Searcher joined the Home Fleet and was involved in a number of operations against Norwegian targets, including the Operation Tungsten dive-bombing strike against the German battleship Tirpitz in Kaa Fjord, northern Norway, on 3 April 1944, returning to Hatston two days later on 6 April 1944.

Subsequently the ship sailed for the Mediterranean, the squadron in detachments at Ta Kali and Dekheila. The squadron provided bombing attacks in support of the US Army during the landings in southern France, and subsequently took part in operations in the Aegean in September 1944.

October till December 1944 was spent at Long Kesh, the squadron subsequently embarking on HMS Searcher in February 1945 for further operations off Norway, including a successful strike on the U-Boat base at Kilbotn in May 1945.

In June 1945 the ship sailed for Ceylon, arriving at Cochin in July 1945, and Katukurunda, Ceylon just after VJ-Day on 20 August 1945.

Battle Honours
Diego Suarez 1942, North Africa 1942, Atlantic 1943-1944, South France 1944, Norway 1944-1945, Arctic 1945

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C ON Bailey, Rn July 1941-Aug 1941
  • Lt FC Furlong, RNVR (temp) Aug 1941-Sept 1941
  • L/C HJF Lane, RN Sept 1941-Sept 1942
  • Lt (A) ILF Lowe, DSC, RN Sept 1942-Dec 1942
  • L/C EA Shaw, RN Dec 1942-Oct 1943
  • L/C(A) GR Henderson, DSC, RNVR July 1944-Nov 1944
  • L/C RA Bird, RN Nov 1944-June 1945
  • L/C(A) GAM Flood, RNVR June 1945-end of WW2
  • Aircraft
  • Sea Hurricane Ib July 1941-April 1942
  • Martlet I July 1941-Sept 1942
  • Martlet II April 1942-Dec 1942
  • Martlet IV Sept 1942-July 1943
  • Wildcat F4F-4 June 1943-July 1943
  • Wildcat V Sept 1943-Jan 1945
  • Wildcat VI Jan 1945-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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