Motto: Repérer Et Détruire (To Seek And To Destroy)
Operational History and Background
The squadron formed at Arbroath in January 1941 as a Fleet Fighter squadron with 3 Martlet Is, intended for the still uncompleted HMS Indomitable.

The squadron was augmented with 3 Sea Gladiators and 9 Sea Hurricane IAs until replaced with Sea Hurricane Ibs in July 1941 the squadron then embarked on HMS Furious that month for the strike on Petsamo in the Arctic, when the CO L/C FEC Judd RN shot down a Do 18. Part of the squadron remaining at St Merryn, Twatt and Sumburgh.

In October 1941 the full squadron embarked on the completed HMS Indomitable and sailed to join the Eastern Fleet, calling in at Palisadoes, Norfolk, Khormaksar, Port Sudan, Ratmalana, Khormaksar and China Bay.

HAWKER SEA HURRICANE IB, AF966 "7F", 880 Sqn RN, HMS Indomitable, May 1942 [A0229]

In May 1942, the squadron left Port Reitz, East Africa onboard HMS Indomitable and took part in the Madagascar landings, including an attack on the Vichy French sloop D’Entrecaseaux, and subsequently took part in Operation Pedestal convoy to Malta when the ship was badly damaged by enemy attacks. During the operation the squadron destroyed 8 enemy aircraft and damaged 3 aircraft, but lost 3 squadron aircraft.
In August 1942 the squadron disembarked at Stretton and re-equipped soon after with 12 Seafire IICs.

In October 1942 the squadron embarked on HMS Argus for the North African landings, returning to HMS Indomitable in March 1943 for the landings in Sicily in July 1943 and the September landings in Salerno from HMS Stalker.

SUPERMARINE SEAFIRE LR.IIC, MB183 "7K", 880 Sqn RN, HMS Indomitable, April 1943 [A0200]

Stationed at Ballyhalbert and Skeabrae from October 1943 till February 1944, the squadron embarked on HMS Furious in February for operations against Norway, and again in March/April when the squadron took part in the 3 April 1944 operation Tungsten attack which crippled the German Battleship Tirpitz in Kaa Fjord in Arctic Norway.

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, along with HMS Furious's fighter squadrons 801 and 880.

In June 1944, the squadron formed part of a composite squadron of 4 Seafires each from 801 and 880 squadrons for local defence under RAF control at Drem, dispersing back to their respective parent squadrons in August 1944. The rest of the squadron operating on HMS Furious and Skeabrae until September, and took part in a further series of attacks on the Tirpitz and enemy shipping in Norway.

In October 1944 the squadron joined the 30th Naval Fighter Wing, and embarked on HMS Implacable for further operations off Norway in November, disembarking again to Skeabrae and subsequently Grimsetter until March 1945.

In March 1945 the squadron embarked on HMS Implacable with 24 aircraft to join the British Pacific Fleet where it provided escort during attacks on Truk island in June 1945. At the end of the month the Wing merged into the new 8th Carrier Air Group.

In the final month of the war the squadron attacked targets on the Japanese mainland, and was successful in the destruction of many enemy aircraft. The squadron disembarked at Schofields, Australia just after VJ-Day on 25 August and disbanded 2 weeks later.

FIREFLY AS.5, VX415 "BD-O", 880 Sqn RCN, HMCS Magnificent, May 1951 [A0463]

The squadron was reformed as a Canadian squadron - the redesignation of 825 Squadron - in May 1951, it was renamed VS 880 under the US system of numbering in November 1952. When its role significantly changed, it was redesignated 880 MR in March 1975 and continued service until the closure of CFB Summerside in 1990. As far as is known, it still exists on the books as a "zero-strength" squadron and was never officially disbanded.

Battle Honours
Diego Suarez 1942, North Africa 1942, Sicily 1943, Salerno 1943, Norway 1944, Japan 1945

Commanding Officers and Squadron Personnel

  • L/C FEC Judd, RN Jan 1941-Aig 1942
  • L/C RJ Cork, DSO, DFC, Aug 1942-Sept 1942
  • L/C(A) WH Martyn, DSC, RNVR Sept 1942-Aug 1944
  • L/C(A) RM Crosley, DSC & Bar, RNVR Aug 1944-end of WW2
  • Martlet I Jan 1941-Feb 1941
  • Sea Gladiator Feb 1941-June 1941
  • Sea Hurricane Ia March 1941-July 1941
  • Sea Hurricane Ib July 1941-Aug 1942
  • Spitfire Vb Aug 1942-Feb 1943
  • Seafire IIc Sept 1942-Aug 1943
  • Seafire L.IIc Aug 1943-March 1944
  • Spitfire I Nov 1943-Jan 1944
  • Seafire F.III March 1944-Feb 1945
  • Seafire L.III Feb 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

    880 sqdn history - See Canadian subsequent history of the squadron
    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
    An A-Z of Aircraft Profiles by FAUCONBERG AEROGRAPHICS, including HAWKER SEA HURRICANE Mk. IB, 880 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, HMS Indomitable, Indian Ocean, May 1942 Operation Ironclad - Invasion of Madagascar, SUPERMARINE SEAFIRE L.R. Mk. IIC, 880 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. Indomitable, April 1943
            Last Modified: 23-2-2001


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