800 Naval Air Squadron: Wikis

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800 Naval Air Squadron
HMS Ark Royal planes.jpg
Blackburn Skuas of 800 Naval Air Squadron on the flight deck of HMS Ark Royal
Active 1933 - 1972
1982 - 2004
2006 - present
Country UK
Branch Royal Navy
Type Carrier based squadron
Role Offensive Support
Part of Fleet Air Arm
Garrison/HQ RAF Cottesmore
Motto Latin: Nunquam non paratus
("Never unprepared")
Anniversaries none
Equipment Harrier GR7
Battle honours Norway 1940-4
Mediterranean 1940-1
Spartivento 1940
Malta Convoys 1941-2
Norway 1940-4
'Bismarck' 1941
Diego Suarez 1942
North Africa 1942
South France 1944
Aegean 1944
Burma 1945
Malaya 1945
Commanders
Notable
commanders
L/C R D Lygo (1954-55), L/C A D Auld, DSC (1982-83).

800 Naval Air Squadron is a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron formed on 3 April 1933 by amalgamating No's 402 and 404 (Fleet Fighter) Flights.

Contents

History

The squadron was first equipped with nine single-seat Hawker Nimrod fighter aircraft and three two-seat Hawker Ospreys to act as navigation leaders for the Nimrods. It served aboard HMS Courageous in the Home Fleet. In 1935-1936, the carrier and squadron operated in the Mediterranean. The squadron re-equipped with the Blackburn Skua in November 1938 and took these aboard HMS Ark Royal. The Skua was a dive bomber with a secondary fighter role to allow the destruction or driving-off of enemy reconnaissance aircraft.[1]

In 1939, 800 Squadron was flying primarily Blackburn B-24 Skuas and a few Blackburn Rocs from HMS Ark Royal. The Squadron was transferred to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939.

During the German invasion of Norway in 1940, whilst based at Royal Navy Air Station Hatston, Kirkwall, Orkney 800 and 803 squadrons dive-bombed the German cruiser Königsberg at Bergen. The squadron aircraft shot down six He 111 bombers. In the attack on the Königsberg, 800 Squadron provided five aircraft and seven crews. The 800 Squadron Commanding Officer, Capt RT Partridge, RM was taken POW and four aircraft lost on an attack on the Scharnhorst on 13 June. In July 1940, the squadron was involved in the attack on the French Fleet at Oran. Two SM 79 bombers were shot down off Sardinia.

The squadron was regrouped with Fairey Fulmars in Gibraltar during April 1941, proceeding with two Flights to HMS Victorious to search for the Bismarck, and to HMS Argus. On regrouping later that year, the squadron joined HMS Furious for an attack on Petsamo, and after the West Indies onboard HMS Indomitable was involved in the Madagascar operations.

Hawker Sea Hurricanes were received in 1942 and took part in the North African landings off HMS Biter in November 1942. In July 1943, the Squadron was the first FAA squadron to be equipped with the Grumman Hellcat. The squadron, operating from HMS Emperor provided escort for Fairey Barracudas in the April 1944 attacks from against the Tirpitz in Alta Fjord, Norway

During the Korean war, the Squadron and its Seafire F.47s were on board HMS Triumph however, and their first operation was a strike by 12 Seafires and 9 Fairey Firefliess on Haeju airfield on 3 July 1950. Because of their short range, the Seafires were frequently given the Combat Air Patrol task over the fleet. During the Inchon landings in September, 1950 Seafires flew armed reconnaissance missions and spotted for the bombarding cruisers. But, by the end of the month, No 800 had only three serviceable aircraft and no replacements were available in the Far East. The inevitable crop of landing accidents and cumulative airframe stress damage meant the end of the Seafire's operational life. During the Korean war the squadron flew 245 offensive patrols and 115 ground attack sorties before HMS Triumph was replaced by HMS Theseus with its Sea Furies and Fairey Fireflies.

No. 800 Sqn. Attackers on HMS Eagle in 1952/53

In August 1951 the Supermarine Attacker enters service with the Squadron at Ford, West Sussex, later embarking on HMS Eagle. It was the first jet fighter to be standardised in the Fleet Air Arms first-line squadrons and later the squadron flew Hawker Siddeley Buccaneers before being disbanded in 1972

800 Squadron was reformed early 80s.

Falklands War, 1982 : Equipped with Harriers, including those transferred from No.899 HQ Training Squadron, 12 were scraped together for HMS Hermes. Two of the 800s planes were lost, one when it exploded on take off from HMS Hermes and one shot down during an attack on Goose Green. No Harriers were lost in air-to-air fighting and the squadron destroyed 13 enemy aircraft. Lieutenant-Commander Gordon Batt DSC was killed in action flying a Sea Harrier FRS 1 from HMS Hermes on 23 May 1982.

January 1998, In addition to 800’s FA2 Sea Harriers from RAF Harriers GR7s HMS Invincible operated in the Persian Gulf.

April 2004, while based in Yeovil the squadron was disbanded. It was re-commissioned on 31 March 2006 under Commander Adrian Orchard RN, when 800 NAS became the first RN squadron within Joint Force Harrier as part of Number 1 Group within RAF Strike Command. From March 2007, parts of the squadron (with 801 NAS) have also been used to form the Naval Strike Wing.

World War II battle honours

  • Norway 1940-44,
  • Mediterranean 1940-41,
  • Spartivento 1940,
  • Malta Convoys 1941-42,
  • Norway 1940-44,
  • 'Bismarck' 1941,
  • Diego Suarez 1942,
  • North Africa 1942,
  • South France 1944,
  • Aegean 1944,
  • Burma 1945,
  • Malaya 1945,

Post World War II engagements

Action over Korea, flying more than 350 combat sorties without losing a single man or aircraft, and in the Suez crisis 1956, Malaysian Emergency 1949 The Falklands, 1982 and offensive operations in the Balkans in 1990s. 800 NAS are also the only fixed wing Squadron to complete a tour of Afghanistan operating out of Kandahar airport. Although the Naval Strike Wing have also completed tours, it is made up of elements of both 800 and 801.

Falklands War

The squadron operated Twelve Sea Harrier FRS.1s aboard HMS Hermes during the Falklands War under the command of Commander Lt Cdr Andy Auld. The Squadron was supplemented by six pilots From 899 NAS. From an Air Combat perspective' 800 Squadron were effective to the extent of shooting down Thirteen Argentine Aircraft and Destroying Three more on the Ground. [2]

1st May 1982 A Pucara of FAA Grupo 3 destroyed and two more damaged and not repaired at Goose Green by CBU's by Lt Cmdr Frederiksen, Lt Hale and Lt McHarg RN. Lt Jukic killed in the destroyed aircraft. Dagger A of FAA Grupo 6 shot down over East Falkland by Flt Lt Penfold RAF using Sidewinder. Lt Ardiles (Cousin of the Footballer Osvaldo Ardiles) killed.

21st May 1982 Two A-4C Skyhawks of FAA Grupo 4 shot down near Chartres, West Falkland by Lt Cmdr Blissett and Lt Cmdr Thomas RN using Sidewinders. Lt Lopez and Lt Manzotti killed. Dagger A of FAA Grupo 6 shot down near Teal River Inlet, West Falkland by Lt Cmdr Frederiksen RN using Sidewinder. Lt Luna ejected. A-4Q Skyhawks of CANA 3 Esc shot down near Swan Island in Falkland Sound by Lt Morell RN using Sidewinder. Lt Cmdr Philippi ejected. In same attack A-4Q Skyhawk shot down near Swan Island in Falkland Sound by Flt Lt Leeming RAF using 30mm cannon. Lt Marquez was killed.

23rd May 1982 Puma SA.330L of CAB 601 flew into ground near Shag Cove House, West Falkland attempting to evade Flt Lt Morgan RAF. Agusta A-109A of CAB 601 destroyed on ground in the same incident, by Flt Lt Morgan and Flt Lt Leeming RAF using 30mm cannon. Dagger A of FAA Grupo 6 shot down over Pebble Island by Lt Hale RN using Sidewinder. Lt Volponi killed

24 May 1982 Two Dagger A of FAA Grupo 6 shot down north of Pebble Island by Lt Cmdr Auld and a third by Lt D Smith using Sidewinder. Maj Puga and Capt Diaz ejected, but Lt Castillo killed.

8th June 1982 Two A-4B Skyhawks of FAA Grupo 5 shot down over Choiseul Sound by Flt Lt Morgan RAF and a third by Lt D Smith, using Sidewinders. Lt Arraras, Lt Bolzan and Ensign Vazquez killed.

Surface Ship

9th May 1982 Flt Lt Morgan and Lt Cdr Batt dropped 1000lb bombs at the Spy trawler Narwal, when their original target of Port Stanley airfield was obscured by cloud, one bomb lodged in the trawler's hull befor they raked it with 30mm cannon fire. Narwhal sank under tow the following day.

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Losses

800 NAS lost two Aircraft and Pilots during the conflict. [3]

4th May 1982

Wreckage from Lt Nick Taylor Sea Harrier

Lt Nick Taylor RN, shot down over Goose Green by radar-controlled, 35mm Oerlikon fire from GADA 601 as he ran in to attack. The aircraft exploded and hit the ground very close to the airstrip. Argentine forces buried Nick with military honours close to where he fell. Lt Nick Taylor's Grave

23rd May 1982 Lt Cmdr 'Gordy' Batt crashed into sea north east of Falklands shortly after take-off, the cause is still unknown.

Gallantry Awards

Lt Cmdr G W J Batt RN was Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross - Posthumous

Lt Cmdr A D Auld RN, Lt Cmdr N W Thomas RN & Flt Lt D H S Morgan RAF were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for their conduct and leadership throughout the campaign.

Aircraft flown

The 800 squadron has flown 15 different aircraft types, including

References

Notes

Bibliography

  • Brown, David. Carrier Air Groups, Volume 1: HMS Eagle. Windsor, UK: Hylton Lacy, 1972. ISBN 0-85064-103-9.

External links


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