Operational History and Background

The squadron formed at Lee-on-Solent in November 1941 as a Fleet Fighter squadron with 6 Martlet Is.

Martlet II (G-36B), AM978, 888 Squadron, HMS Formidable Madagascar, May 1942
© Scott Fraser

In February 1942, the squadron embarked on HMS Formidable, and provided cover for the operations against Madagascar in May 1942, and sorties against possible Japanese invasion.

Martlet II (G-36B), AJ108, 888 Squadron, HMS Formidable Operation 'Torch', October 1942,
© Scott Fraser

In February 1943, embarking from Hatston to HMS Formidable the squadron took part in the invasion of North Africa, and was successful in shooting down 2 enemy aircraft.
Subsequently the squadron provided cover for the landings in Sicily in July 1943 and the Salerno landings in September 1943.

In November 1943 the squadron disbanded at Yeovilton.

In June 1944 the squadron reformed at Burscough with 6 Hellcat II(PR)s, embarking on HMS Rajah for Ceylon where the squadron was involved in photographic reconnaissance duties.

The squadron embarked on HMS Indefatigable in December from Colombo Racecourse, and took part in operations over Sumatra in January 1945. It subsequently transferred to HMS Empress for sorties over Penang, Phuket and northern Sumatra.

From April until June 1945 the squadron transferred to HMS Emperor, and subsequently HMS Ameer, for sorties over southern Malaya, returning to Colombo racecourse were it remained until after VJ-Day when it operated under Air Command South East Asia.

Battle Honours
North Africa 1942, Sicily 1943, Salerno 1943

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • Capt FDG Bird, RM Nov 1941-Oct 1943
  • L/C M Hordern, RN Oct 1943-Nov 1943
  • L/C(A) L Mann, RNVR June 1944-March 1945
  • L/C(A) BA Macaw, DSC, RNVR March 1945-end of WW2
  • Aircraft
  • Martlet I Nov 1941-Oct 1943
  • Martlet II Dec 1941-Sept 1943
  • Martlet IV Oct 1942-Nov 1943
  • Hellcat II(PR) June 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
    The following profiles are offered by Scott Fraser, owner of Tally Ho! decals Martlet II (G-36B), AM978, 888 Squadron, HMS Formidable Madagascar, May 1942, Martlet II (G-36B), AJ108, 888 Squadron, HMS Formidable Operation 'Torch', October 1942
            Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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