Operational History and Background
The squadron formed at Ford, Sussex in January 1940 equipped with 12 Swordfish Is for torpedo spotter reconnaissance duties, following a period at West Freugh, the squadron returned to Ford and a detachment of 6 aircraft flew to Detling to search for U-boats off the Belgian coast just before the Dunkirk evacuation.

On joining HMS Illustrious for Bermuda, the squadron then escorted a Malta convoy remaining with the Mediterranean Fleet at Dekheila from August 1940.

From September 1940 the squadron took part a series of attacks on enemy targets in the Eastern Mediterranean including in a dive bombing attack on Calato airfield, Rhodes.

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

In the night of 11-12 November 1940 the squadron took part in the attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto, including sinking of the Italian battleship Conte Di Cavour.

In January 1941 the carrier was badly damaged by German dive-bombers and several squadron aircrew killed and aircraft destroyed, the remnants of the squadron were absorbed into 815 squadron and disbanded.

In October 1941 the squadron was reformed at Lee-on-Solent as a torpedo bomber reconnaissance squadron with 9 Swordfish, embarking on HMS Avenger in June 1942 for trials.

In July 1942 the squadron joined RAF Coastal Command minelaying in the North Sea and English Channel, and subsequently joined HMS Archer for escort duty in the North Atlantic. On 23 May 1943 U-752 was sunk by squadron aircraft, the first such rocket projectile success.

In August 1943 the squadron joined HMS Activity, a fighter flight of 3 wildcat being added whilst on escort duty, and a further 5 added in March 1944.

Fairey Swordfish Mk.II NE932, 819 Sqn FAA, Mid-1944

On 3 April 1944 whilst escorting an Arctic convoy, aircraft sank U-288 jointly with 846 squadron, and later on squadron wildcats shot down 4 enemy aircraft. That month the squadron joined RAF Coastal Command for night patrols in the North Sea, the wildcats being withdrawn to 833 squadron. After D-Day the squadron operated in the south and east coast and then from October at St Croix, Maldeghem and Knocke-le-Zoute in Belgium where it formed part of 155 and subsequently 157 RAF Wing.
In February 1945 the squadron returned to Bircham Newton and disbanded in March 1945.

Battle Honours
Mediterranean 1940 - 1, Libya 1940, Taranto 1940, English Channel 1942 - 4, Atlantic 1943 - 4, North Sea 1944 - 5, Arctic 1944, Normandy 1944.

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C JW Hale, DSO, RN Feb 1940-Jan 1941
  • L/C DG Goodwin, DSC, RN Oct 1941-April 1942
  • L/C HSMcN Davenport, RN April 1942-Jan 1943
  • Lt(A) OAG Oxley, RN Jan 1943-April 1944
  • L/C(A) PDT Stevens, RNVR April 1944-March 1945
  • Aircraft
    • Swordfish I Jan 1940-June 1943
    • Swordfish II April 1942-March 1945
    • Swordfish III Aug 1944-March 1945
    • Wildcat IV Aug 1943-Aril 1944
    • Wildcat V March 1944-April 1944
    • Wildcat VI March 1944-April 1944
    Ships and Squadron bases
    To be listed
    The Squadron Today
    Link to current Fleet Air Arm squadron information

    Associations and Reunions
    No information

    819 squadron today. MOD website
    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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