Operational History and Background
On the outbreak of war, the Swordfish squadron saw service in the China Station with HMS Eagle providing convoy protection and searches for enemy shipping in the Indian Ocean from Ceylon.

In March 1940 she sailed to Singapore and, after a refit, to the Mediterranean where 4 Sea Gladiators were added to the squadron in June. Initial success opened with the Gladiators shooting down 2 Italian bombers and a number of others over subsequent months.

On 5 July 1940, the Swordfish sank a destroyer and a merchant ship, damaged another destroyer and 2 merchant ships in an attack on Tobruk, and three days later sank a destroyer at Port Augusta, Sicily.

Aerial Photograph of the sunken ships after Operation Judgement, the Fleet Air Arm air strike
on the Italian fleet and harbour at Taranto, 11 November 1940

On 11 November 1940 the squadron took part in the successful attack at Taranto from HMS Illustrious.

In March 1941 the squadron was sent to Port Sudan and the Sea Gladiators withdrawn, succeeding in destroying 5 Italian destroyers north of Massawa (2 sunk, 2 beached and the 5th scuttled).

On 6 June 1941 whilst operating from HMS Eagle, the squadron sank the U-Boat supply ship Elbe and forced the tanker Lothringen to surrender and returned home in October to re-equip with Swordfish and Sea Hurricane Ibís.

In January 1942 the squadron sailed with HMS Eagle and undertook a number of operations delivering RAF Spitfires to Malta, being shore based at Gibraltar when the ship was sunk on 11 August 1942.

The squadron carried out anti-submarine patrols from Gibraltar and took part in the North African landings, operating in North Africa till March 1943 when it returned to Gibraltar, and disbanded in UK in October 1943.

In November 1943 the squadron reformed at Donibristle with 9 Swordfish, and subsequently augmented with 3 Fulmars and 4 Wildcat Vs, the squadron embarked on HMS Campania in April 1944 for Atlantic and Arctic convoy duties.

On 30 September 1944 the Swordfish sank U-Boat 921, and on 13 December sank U-365, and the Wildcats shot down 4 enemy aircraft.

In April 1945 the squadron embarked on HMS Vindex for its last Arctic convoy to Russia, disbanding in May 1945.

The squadron reformed as a torpedo fighter squadron with 15 Firebrand TF.IVs on 1 September 1945.

Battle Honours
Calabria 1940, Mediterranean 1940 - 1, Taranto 1940, Libya 1940 - 1, Malta Convoys 1942, Atlantic 1944, Arctic 1944 - 5

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C N Kennedy, DSC, RN (Sq Ldr) Sept 1938-Jan 1941
  • L/C AV Lyle, RN Nov 1941-March, 1942
  • L/C C Hutchnson, RN March 1942-June 1943
  • Lt JH Ree, RN June 1943-Aug 1943
  • L/C DAP Weatherall, RN Aug 1943-Oct 1943
  • L/C(A) JR Parish, DSC, RNVR Nov 1943-Sept 1944
  • L/C(A) CR Allen, RNVR Set 1944-Oct 1944
  • L/C(A) SG Cooke, RNVR Oct 1944-May 1945
  • Sq Ldr K Lee-White, RN Sept 1945- end of WW2
  • Aircraft

    • Swordfish I Jan 1937-March 1943
    • Sea Gladiator June 1940-March 1941
    • Buffalo I Dec 1941-Dec 1941
    • Sea Hurricane Ib Jan 1942-Aug 1942
    • Swordfish II Nov 1942-July 1944
    • Swordfish III June 1944-May 1945
    • Wildcat V April 1944-Feb 1945
    • Wildcat VI Sept 1944-May 1945
    • Firebrand TF.IV Sept 1945-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
            Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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