Operational History and Background

The squadron formed aboard HMS Furious in October 1939 with 9 Swordfish for anti-submarine duties for a Canadian convoy.

HMS Furious took part in the defence of Norway in April 1940, the squadron making the first airborne torpedo attack of the war.

With the fall of the Low Countries and evacuation of France, the squadron operated briefly from Jersey then in June 1940 embarked on HMS Furious, the squadron attempting to attack the German battleship Scharnhorst in September 1940.

On 22 September 1940 5 aircraft were lost in an attack on shipping at Trondheim, and a month later the squadron bombed fuel storage tanks at Tromso.

The squadron joined RAF Coastal Command in March 1941 for operations on the Dutch and French coasts, and in June embarked on HMS Furious to escort RAF aircraft being ferried to Malta. Returning with HMS Ark Royal until torpedoed on 13 November 1940 when the squadron ceased to exist.

In February 1942, the squadron reformed at Palisadoes, Jamaica with 4 Swordfish for torpedo bomber reconnaissance duties, embarking on HMS Avenger as convoy escort from USA to the UK, losing 2 aircraft enroute.

From September till December 1942 the squadron operated under RAF Coastal Command in the English Channel, joining HMS dasher in February 1943 for arctic convoy duties to Russia but the ship blew up on 27 March 1943 in the Clyde with much loss of life.

The squadron having reformed at Machrihanish attacked E-boats in the English Channel in May 1943 and in June moved to Fearn where its 6 Swordfish IIs were temporarily combined with a fighter flight of 6 Seafire L.IIcís formerly of 895 squadron for 3 months, and later with 6 Seafire Ibís

From August 1943 The combined flights embarked on HMS Tracker for two Atlantic convoy duties and in January 1944 the unsuitable Seafire were replaced by 6 Wildcat and the squadron joined HMS Chaser for arctic convoy duties to Russia.

Fairey Swordfish Mk.II NF243, 816 Sqn FAA, July 1944

On 4 March 1944, aircraft sank U-472 with HMS Onslaught and over the next 2 days sank U-366 and U-973.

In April 1944 the squadron was re-equipped with 12 Swordfish and attached to 19 Group RAF Coastal Command at Perranporth and St Merryn for duties in the English Channel leading up to D-Day activities at Normandy, finally disbanding at Perranporth in August 1944.

In February 1945 the squadron was reformed as Torpedo Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron with 18 Barracuda IIs at Lee-on-Solent, with intentions to join a Colossus-class carrier as part of the 20th Carrier Air Group, but instead it was re-equipped in July 1945 with 12 Firefly FR.Is at Woodvale, moving to Inskip in August 1945 until after the end of the war.

On 29 August 1948, 816 squadron reformed at Eglington as a Royal Australian Navy squadron equipped with Fairey Fireflies. They embarked on HMAS Sydney as part of the 20st CAG.

Battle Honours
Norway 1940, Narvic 1940, Malta Convoys 1941, Mediterranean 1941, Atlantic 1943, Arctic 1944, Normandy 1944

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • Lt J Dalyell-Stead, RN (temp) oct 1939-Oct 1939
  • L/C HH Gardner, RN Oct 1939-May 1940
  • L/C TGC Jameson, RN May 1940-Nov 1941
  • Capt O Patch, RM Feb 1942-Oct 1942
  • Lt RCB Stallard-Penoyre, RN Oct 1942-April 1943
  • Lt PF Pryor, RN (temp) April 1943-July 1943
  • L/C(A) FC Nottingham, DSC, RNVR July 1943-May 1944
  • L/C P Snow, RN May 1944-Aug 1944
  • L/C The Hon WAC Keppel, DSC, RN Feb 1945-June 1945
  • L/C(A) JSL Crabbe, RN June 1945-end of WW2
  • Aircraft
  • Swordfish I Oct 1939-Oct 1942
  • Swordfish II June 42-Aug 1944
  • Seafire L.IIc June 1943-Aug 1943
  • Seafire Ib Aug 1943-Dec 1943
  • Wildcat V Jan 1944-April 1944
  • Barracuda II Feb 1945-July 1945
  • Firefly FR.1 July 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

    816 squadron website information The modern Australian FAA sqdn
    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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