Fairey IIIF 

Prewar Fairey III S1307


In 1917 the Fairey N.10 seaplane was converted to landplane configuration and designated the Fairey IIIA. The Fairey III is one of the most successful Fairey designs. Designed in 1917 the type was still in use in 1941. The first production Fairey III flew in June of 1918. In 1919 due to the ending of the war the type was considered obsolete. However numerous variants proved this to be untrue.

HMS Hood with her aircraft Fairey IIIF (S1532) in 1930/1931.

 With RAF, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy, Irish Army Air Corps, Argentina, New Zealand,
 Chile, Australia, New Guinea, North Russian Expeditionary Force

Fairey III Lusitania in Portugal

Fleet Air Arm history

Total FAA 1939-1945:             2
First delivered to RN:               pre-war
Squadron 1939-1945:               2 SOTT GUI 1507M 6.39
Last served with RN                1940

The Fairey III served with front-line squadrons 823, 824, 825 from 1933-1936 when replaced by the Fairey Seal and Fairey Swordfish. However it continued to serve with 718 squadron till December 1936 in Bermuda.

HMS Valiant during her 1929-1930 refit with Fairey III on the catapult

Antiquated by the start of the Second World War, only two still survived in the Fleet Air Arm in 1939. Fairey III  S1851 served with 2 SOTT GUI in June 1939, thence to ATC Cleveland, Somerset by 1944. The second Fairey III, S1800 was at 20 MU in July 1939, thence forwarded for Ground Instructional duties March 1940.

Fairey III S1405 "45" of HMS Glorious in 1931-1932

Aircraft Type:
Fairey IIIF (IIIB)
Primary Role:
General purpose Naval reconaissance floatplane
First Flight: 
1926 although the first Fairey III appeared in 1919; the line continued for many years.
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
1933-1936, GI in 1940
Fairey Aviation
One 570 hp Lion XIA engine
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wing Span: 13.94m Length: 10.82m Height: 4.26m Wing Area: 41.20m2
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty Weight: 1779kg Max.Weight: 2858kg



Speed: 209km/h
Ceiling: 6095m
Range: 3-4 h
None in WW2
20 MU, 2 SOTT
Battle honours:
None in WW2
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours
None with FAA 1939-1945

Surviving aircraft and relics
The Fairey III has only one known complete example worldwide, in addition to a fuselage frame of a Fleet Air Arm aircraft and one replica.

The Fleet Air Arm Fairey III fuselage frame is preserved at the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

FaireyIIID Mk2 replica preserved at the Museu do Ar (Portugal)

The sole surviving complete Fairey III is a Mk 2 version of the Fairey III D, and is preserved in the Museu da Marinha - Navy Museum (Portugal). This aircraft, No 17 serial F.402, and named "Santa Cruz" was involved in a transatlantic crossing attempt by Portugal in 1922. For the crossing, the crew used a modified Fairey IIID named the "Lusitânia”, which had its wings and landing gear altered in order to adapt it for the journey. The attempt was made on 30 March 1922, but the Fairey III crashed at the S.Pedro Rocks off the Brazilian coast while landing on the sea for refuelling. The crew completed the journey with a standard Fairey III D (No 17 serial F.402 ), named “Santa Cruz”, which landed in Rio de Janeiro on 17 June 1922.

The original aircraft is exhibited in the Portuguese Navy Museum and there is a replica in the Portuguese Air Museum.

Associations and reunions
No information
The FLEET AIR ARM MEMORIES website of Chris Young  The photograph collection of the late C.S.Snoxell, TAG who served on HMS Argus and other carriers 1923-1941. Includes a number of Fairey III photographs
Detailsd of the Fairey III transatlantic crossing and the two preserved Fairey III in Portugal Fairey IIID Mk2 replica preserved at the Museu do Ar (Portugal)
Fairey III Profile publications No 44
  Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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