Operational History and Background
The squadron was formed at Evanton at a torpedo reconnaissance squadron with 9 Swordfish Is in August 1939, two months prior to the original planning due to the threat of war, where it embarked on HMS Ark Royal at Scapa to search for shipping off Norway.
In April 1940 the squadron embarked on HMS Furious to defend Norway, and on 11 April attacked 2 German destroyers in Trondheim Fjord.

In May and June 1940, the squadron operated from Thorney and Carew Cheriton under the RAF Coastal Command in the Channel, then embarked on HMS Ark Royal in the middle of the month for the Mediterranean where attacks were made on the Vichy French Fleet at Oran, including attempts to attack the French battleship Strasbourg.
Subsequently attacks were made on Sicily, and on the Italian battleship Littorio on 27 November 1940, and to provide Malta convoy escorts, followed by bombing and mining operations on Leghorn, Genoa, Pisa and La Spezia naval docks in February 1941.

Wartimecolour photograph ofthe Bismarck at sea                                    Bismarck smoking on the horizon whilst under fire from the
                                                                                                        Fleet immediately prior to her being sunk, 26 May 1941

In May 1941 HMS Ark Royal sailed to the North Atlantic in search of the German battleship Bismarck, 810 and 818 squadrons led the attack which crippled the Bismarck. Two of  the 818 squadron aircraft succeeding in hitting the Bismarck with 2 torpedo hits which enabled the Fleet to subsequently sink the Bismarck.

Re-equipped with 9 Albacore Is the squadron embarked on HMS Formidable in February 1942 for Ceylon to protect against Japanese attacks, but with a reduction in the threat of attack the squadron was disbanded in June 1942.

In October 1942 the squadron re-formed at Lee-on-Solent with Swordfish II and embarked on HMS Unicorn in March 1943 for convoy escorts to Gibraltar, 6 aircraft being used in August 1943 for duties during the Sicily landings.

In November 1943 a reduced squadron sailed in HMS Unicorn to join the Eastern Fleet, disembarking in Ceylon. The squadron being disbanded at Cochin in October 1944.
The squadron was reformed at Rattray in May 1945 as a torpedo bomber reconnaissance squadron with 18 Barracuda IIs where it was intended to join the 22nd Carrier Air Group in a Colossus-class carrier. However the squadron was disbanded on VJ-Day, August 1945.

Battle Honours
Norway 1940, Narvic 1940, English Channel 1940, Spartivento 1940, Mediterranean 1940 - 1, 'Bismarck' 1941

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C JE Fenton, RN Aug 1939-March 1940
  • L/C PGO Sydney-Turner, RN March 1940-Oct 1940
  • L/C TP Coode, RN Oct 1940-July 1941
  • L/C TWB Shaw, DSC, RN July 1941-June 1942
  • L/C AH Abrams, DSC, RN Oct 1942-July 1943
  • L/C(A) WH Lloyd, RNVR July 1943-Oct 1944
  • L/C(A) BW Vigrass, RNVR, May 1945-Aug 1945
  • Aircraft
  • Swordfish I Aug 1939-Nov 1941
  • Albacore I Nov 1941-June1943
  • Swordfish II Oct 1942-Oct 1944
  • Barracuda II May 1945-Aug 1945
  • Ships and Squadron bases
    To be listed
    The Squadron Today
    Link to current Fleet Air Arm squadron information

    Associations and Reunions
    No information

    Order of Battle Mers-el-Kebir (Operation Catapult) 3 July 1940. Contributed by Dan Muir  Role of 818 sqdn in the Battle
    With Gallantry and Determination" The Story of the Torpedoing of the Bismarck by Mark E. Horan
    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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