Operational History and Background
The squadron formed at Dekheila as a Fleet Fighter squadron in March 1941 with 6 Sea Gladiators and 3 Buffaloes.  The squadron embarked, 2 days after forming, on HMS Eagle, returning a week later to Dekheila.

The squadron disbanded in May 1941.

In December 1941 the squadron was next officially reformed, at Yeovilton with 6 Sea Hurricane IBs for duties with HMS Charger, but instead after a period at Yeovilton, St Merryn, Sherburn-in-Elmet and Hutton Cranswick joined HMS Victorious from Hatston in June 1942 for Malta convoy duties.

The summer was spent at Lee-on-Solent and Machrihanish from where the squadron, with Seafire Ibs and IICs, embarked on HMS Formidable in October 1942 to take part in fighter duties during the landings in North Africa, and further Mediterranean operations until October 1943, with shore bases of La Senia, Gibraltar, Tafaroui, Ta Kali, Dekheila, and Paestrum, disembarking at Lee-on-Solent where it disbanded in November 1943. One small detachment having spent September and October 1943 with HMS Unicorn.

In February 1944 the squadron reformed at Lee-on-Solent with 12 Seafire F.IIIs and L.IIIs, as part of the 3rd Naval Fighter Wing, moving to St Merryn, Henstridge and Dundonald.

In May 1944 the squadron moved back to Lee-on-Solent in preparation for D-Day. The squadron now equipped with 20 Seafire L,IIIs formed part of the Air Spotting Pool of No 34 Reconnaissance Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force, providing offensive sweeps and bombardment spotting duties, remaining at Lee-on-Solent until August 1944.

In December 1944, the squadron embarked on HMS Ruler for the British Pacific Fleet, having re-equipped with 24 Hellcat Is and IIs the previous month.

After providing fighter cover for the Fleet, the squadron disembarked at Ponam in June 1945, and the aircraft refitted with rocket projectiles. The squadron was due to join the new 12th Carrier Air Group, and embarked on HMS Indefatigable, but with VJ-Day the squadron disbanded at Schofields in September 1945.

Battle Honours
Malta Convoys 1942, North Africa 1942, Sicily 1943, Normandy 1944, Okinawa 1945

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C JN Garnett, RN March 1941-May 1941
  • Lt EDG Lewin, RN Dec 1941-Feb 1942
  • L/C(A) RHP Carver, DSC, RN Feb 1942-Nov 1943
  • L/C(A) SL Devonald, RN Feb 1944-Nov 1944
  • L/C(A) JR Routley, RNVR Nov 1944-Sept 1945
  • Sea Gladiator March 1941-May 1941
  • Buffalo I March 1941-May 1941
  • Sea Hurricane Ib Dec 1941-Aug 1942
  • Spitfire Va Sept 1942-Oct 1942
  • Spitfire Vb/hooked Sept 1942-Oct 1942
  • Spitfire Ib Oct 1942-Aug 1943
  • Seafire IIc Sept 1942-Nov 1943
  • Seafire L.III Feb 1944-Nov 1944
  • Seafire F.III Feb 1944-Nov 1944
  • SeafireL.IIc Aug 1944-Nov 1944
  • Hellcat I Oct 1944-May 1945
  • Hellcat II Oct 1944-Sept 1945
  • Corsair II June 1945-Aug 1945
  • Corsair IV June 1945-Aug 1945

  • Ships and Squadron bases
    To be listed

    The Squadron Today
    Link to current Fleet Air Arm squadron information

    Associations and Reunions

  • 885 Naval Air Squadron. (H.M.S Ruler)
  • Contact: D.S.Papworth, Cariad, 2 Coltsfoot Drive, Sheringham, Norfolk. NR26 8XG.
    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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