Operational History and Background

Gloster Sea Gladiator of 804 squadron 1940
drawn by E-draw wings

Formed in November 1939 from 769 squadron Sea Gladiators which had been detached to Hatston to counter enemy attacks on Scapa, the squadron subsequently embarked on HMS Glorious in April 1940 to provide fighter patrols during ferrying operations of 269 squadron RAF Gladiators to Norway, and then transferred to HMS Furious at Cambeltown in early May 1940.

May until September 1940 was spent by 804 squadron at Hatston, operating in defence of Scapa Flow, and subsequently recognised as only one of two FAA squadrons operating with RAF Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain (also see 808 squadron).

Grumman Martlet of 804 squadron 1940
Profile drawn by E-draw wings

Most of September was spent at detachments on HMS Furious, and In October 1940 the squadron was re-equipped with Martlet Is at Skaebrae, and subsequently with Fulmar IIs and Sea Hurricanes from February 1941 at Yeovilton.

From April 1941 the squadron’s new role was to operate from catapult-armed merchant ships (CAM- ships) until the role was taken over by the RAF Merchant Ship Fighter Unit in May 1942. During this time the squadrons had detachments on HMS Ariguani, HMS Springbank until sunk on 27 September 1940, HMS Maplin, and SS Michael until sunk on 2 June 1941.

Whilst operating from HMS Maplin a squadron Sea Hurricane shot down a Fw 200 in August 1941.

HAWKER SEA HURRICANE XIIA, JS321, 804 Sqn RN, HMS Dasher, November 1942 [A0196]

The squadron was involved in Gibraltar convoys with HMS Argus in July 1942 and in October 1942 joined HMS Dasher with Sea Hurricane IIc’s for the North African landings.

In August 1943 the squadron received Hellcat Is and in October joined No 7 Naval Fighter Wing following two months later by embarking on HMS Emperor accompanying a US-bound convoy.

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 early 1944 the squadron was involved in operations against Norwegian coastal targets including the German battleship Tirpitz in Operation Tungsten in April 1944, when Barracuda dive-bombed and crippled the battleship, with support of the fighter cover from the 7th Naval Fighter Wing of which 804 sqdn was part.

In June 1944, 804 sqdn was absorbed into 800 squadron.

Hellcat FR.II, JW723, 804 Squadron, HMS Ameer Malay Coast, August 1945
© Scott Fraser

The squadron reformed in September 1944 at Wingfield, South Africa with 24 Hellcat IIs. In January 1945 the squadron embarked on HMS Ameer to provide cover during the landings on Ramree Island, and subsequently missions over Sumatra and Malaya.

In April 1945 the squadron embarked on HMS Empress and also HMS Shah for attacks on the Andaman Islands and the coast of Burma, returning to HMS Ameer in June for attacks on Sumatran airfields and Phuket Island ops, only returning to the UK after VJ Day in November 1945.

Battle Honours
Norway 1940, North Africa 1942, Normandy 1944, Burma 1945

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • Capt RT Partridge, RM Nov 1939-Dec 1939
  • L/C JC Cockburn, RN Dec 1939-Nov 1940
  • L/C BHM Kendall, RN Nov 1940-March 1941
  • L/C PH Havers, RN March 1941-Feb 1942
  • Capt AE Marsh, RM Feb 1942-Oct 1942
  • L/C(A) AJ Sewel, DSC, RNVR Oct 1942-July 1943
  • Lt OR Oakes, RM (Temp) July 1943-July 1943
  • L/C(A) JW Hedges, RNVR July 1943-Aug 1943
  • L/C(A) SG Orr, DSC, RNVR Aug 1943-June 1944
  • L/C(A)GBC Sangster, RNVR Sept 1944-May 1945
  • L/C(A)DB Law, RNVR May 1945-end of WW2
  • Aircraft
  • Sea Gladiator Nov 1939-Jan 1941
  • Buffalo I July 1940-1942
  • Whitney Straight Dec 1940-March 1941
  • Martlet I Sept 1940-March 1941
  • Fulmar I, II Feb 1941-May 1942
  • Sea Hurricane Ia Feb 1941-Sept 1941
  • Sea Hurricane Ib Feb 1941-Sept 1941
  • Sea Hurricane IIc Oct 1942-June 1943
  • Hellcat I Aug 1943-June 1944
  • Hellcat II Sept 1944-end of WW2
  • Sea Gladiators in Gladiator production for the RAF and FAA Serials: N5532, N5533, N5535.

    Ships and Squadron bases
    To be listed

    The Squadron Today
    Link to the current squadron information

    Associations and Reunions

    800-804 Squadron Armourers 1942-45
              Contact: Tom Brown, 27 Heatherset Gardens, Norbury, London. SW16 3LS, UK

    804 Squadron Association (14th Carrier Air Group Reunion Association)
              Contact: Ken Lambert, 17 Walgrave, Orton Malborne, Peterborough, PE2 5NR

    Gloster Gladiator in Commonwealth squadron service (Håkans Aviation page)
    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  
    THE STORY OF "NICKI" Sea-Hurricane IIc NF 672- (7K) of  FAA 804 and 835 Squadrons - Royal Navy AS SEEN BY ONE OF HER PILOTS 
    by Ian Burgham with Lt.-Cmdr Allen Burgham, 
    DSC, MiD, RCNVR (Ret’d) (RNZNVR)
    An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS, including HAWKER SEA HURRICANE Mk. XIIA, 804 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, HMS Dasher, November 1942 Operation Torch - forced-landed on beach St. Leu, Algeria, 8.11.42  
    The following profiles are offered by Scott Fraser, owner of Tally Ho! decals, Hellcat FR.II, JW723, 804 Squadron, HMS Ameer Malay Coast, August 1945, Hellcat I, JV141, 1839 Squadron, HMS Indomitable, May 1945, Hellcat II, 1844 Squadron, HMS Indomitable, April 1945
    Squadron Profiles drawn by E-draw-wings
            Last Modified: 23-2-2001


    Return to Home Page


    This page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
    © 2000-2001 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm Archive
    Contact email: