INDEX OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT
The Fairey Fulmar was designed to meet the Admiralty's urgent need for a modern shipboard fighter. The Fulmar prototype was first flown on 4 January 1940 at Ringway and served as the first production aircraft. Fairey's Fulmar was the Fleet Air Arm's first carrier-based fighter with the same weight and firepower of the RAF's Hurricane and Spitfire. In fact, the Fulmar was developed for the FAA after being being rejected by the RAF.
The Fulmar, N1855, was delivered for tests at the C squadron A&AEE Boscombe Down in May 1940, in the same month Fulmar N1856 joined 778 squadron at Lee on Solent with the plan to convert it to a seaplane, but in fact it was completed as a landplane version. May 1940 saw many Fulmars being delivered to 778 squadron. The type was delivered to the first operation unit, 806 in June 1940 stationed at Worthy Down and boarded HMS Illustrious in August 1940.
Fairey Fulmar 808 squadron 1940
Squadron Profiles drawn by E-draw-wings
The Fulmar was also employed in limited numbers by the RAF, inparticular with 273 squadron (eg X8743) in 1942 in China Bay where some aircraft were lost to enemy action.
With its lack of speed, and the Admiralty's need for a truly modern carrier-based fighter, the Fulmar began being replaced by the Supermarine Seafire by 1943. However, it contined to be useful, being sent to 768, 767 and other squadrons to assist conversion of pilots to Barracudas eg DR664 at Lee on Solent by 810 squadron in April 1943 to May 1943.
Mk I Initial production model
Mk II prototype Singel Mk I conversion
Mk II 1300hp Merlin XXX engine; tropicalised, some as night-fighter version
127 Fairey Fulmar I ordered from Fairey under Contract no 752200/38 to spec O.8/38, built at Heaton Chapel and flown at Ringway
Serial numbers N1854-N2016
First prodtn ac Served
as prototype. Ringway 4.1.40. to RN (N1854)
First RN 5.40 to C sqdn A&AEE (N1855)
First sqdn: 5.40 to 778 sqdn at Lee on Solent (N1856). Many to 778 in 5.40
First op sqdn: 806 sqdn in 6.40 (N1856). Many to 806 and 803 sqdns 6.40
Last RN: AHU Abbotsinch 3.45 (N1978). At Balado Bridge dump 3.52
123 Fairey Fulmar I and II ordered from fairey under
contract no 752200/38 to spec O.8/38
Serial Numbers: N3994-N4147 built at Heaton Chapel. Mk II from N4017
11.40 to Lee (N3995)
First sqdn: 805 sqdn from 1.41 (N4000). A number of 808 fulmar these lost on HMS
Ark Royal when sunk on 13.11.41
Last in RN 3.52 on Balado Bridge dump N4021 Mk II
200 Fairey Fulmar II ordered from Fairey under contract
Serial numbered X8525-X8817 built at Heaton Chapel.
4.41 RY (X8525)
First sqdn RN Fighter Flt at Dekheila from 10.41 (X8526), 806 sdn 3.42
(X8525). Many delivered to RN Fighter Flight Dekheila 1941
Last RN: Balado Bridge dump 3.53
50 Fairey Fulmar II ordered from Fairey under Contract
Serial numbered BP775 – BP839 built at Heaton Chapel.
11.41 Arbroath (BP775)
First sqdn: 807 sqdn on 4.42 (BP780), 780 sqdn 4.42 Lee (BP781)
First raf 273 sqdn in the Far East 4.42 (BP777)
Last RN: Balado Bridge dumped 9.52 (BP786)
100 Fairey Fulmar II ordered from Fairey under Contract
Serial Numbered DR682-DR749 built at Heaton Chapel.
2.42 at St Merryn (DR633), DR635, and DR634 etc
First sqdn 886 sqdn at St Merryn 6.42 DR634, 772 sqdn at Machrihanish 10.42
Last RN Balado Bridge dump DR739 on 3.52
Many hundreds of Fairey Fulmar fighters fought over the sea in every wartime theatre. The Fulmar played important roles in the early defense of Malta and the defense of Ceylon, and went on to account for nearly 1/3 of the aircraft shot down by the FAA in WWII. Significant numbers of enemy aircraft were shot down in the Mediterranean Campaigns especially from HMS Eagle, Formidable and Illustrious, most notably on Operation Pedestal.
Fleet Air Arm Fulmar MkI of 803 squadron of HMS Formidable in the Mediterranean December 1940
The Fulmar was also used in Operations in the Arctic, most notably against the German forces at Petsamo and Kirkenes in 1941.
The Fulmar was also employed by the RAF with FAA aircrew. On 9 April 1942, Fulmar X8535 of 273 RAF squadron at China Bay, was shot down in a raid on enemy convoys off Batticlos. Sub Lt PR Peirano and Sub Lt RFH Jacob attached from 803 squadron were both killed.
Surviving aircraft and relics
Of the many hundreds of Fulmar fighters only one remains and it is displayed in the Fleet Air Arm Museum (UK). It is N1854, the first production and prototype aircraft which first flew at Ringway on 4 January 1940. Post war it had thecivil register G-AIBE flying with Fairey. It was delivered to the Royal Navy in 1962.