Motto:

"NUNQUAM NON PARATUS"

Never unprepared

 


Battle Honours:


Norway 1940-41
Mediterranean 1940-1
Spartivento 1940
Malta Convoys 1941-2
'Bismarck' 1941
Diego Suarez 1942
North Africa 1942

South France 1944
Aegean 1944
Burma 1945
Malaya 1945

 


Aircraft  Types WW2


Skua II

Oct 38 - Apr 41

-
Roc I

May 39 - Nov 39

-
Fulmar I & II

May 41 - Jul 42

-
Sea Hurricane Ib, IIb, IIc

Jun 42 - Nov 43

-
Hellcat I & II

Jul 43 - Nov 45

 


Commanding Officers:


Lt. Cdr CJN Atkinson RN

3 Apr 1933

-
Lt. Cdr JB Heath RN

1 Aug 1935

-
Lt. Cdr HA Traill RN

17 Mar 1937

-
Lt. Cdr BHM Kendall RN

18 Jul 1938

-
Lt. Cdr GN Torry RN

21 Nov 1938

-
Capt RT Partridge RM

3 Apr 1940

-
Lt EGD Finch-Noyes RN (temp)

5 May 1940

-
Lt RM Smeeton RN

16 Jun 1940

-
Lt. Cdr JAD Wroughton DSC RN

12 May 1941

-
Lt. Cdr JM Bruen DSC RN 16 Mar 1942

-
Lt. Cdr H Muir-Mackenzie DSC RN

1 Dec 1942

-
Lt. Cdr SJ Hall DSC RN 7 Jul 1943

-
Lt. Cdr MF Fell DSC RN

24 Sep 1944

-
Lt. Cdr (A) DB Law

DSC RNVR

12 Dec 1944

-
Lt. Cdr H de Wit RNethN 20 May 1945

-
Squadron disbanded

5 Dec 1945

 


 

 

 

 

 

A History of 800 Naval Air Squadron

 

No.800 Squadron formed on 3 April 1933 as a Fleet Fighter squadron by the combining of Nos.402 and 404 Flights; their initial equipment was 9 Nimrods and 3 Ospreys. The squadron embarked in HMS Courageous. In October 1938 the squadron began to re-equip with Blackburn Skuas, and the the squadron embarked in HMS Ark Royal in the New Year.

Whilst ashore at RNAS Hatston, Skuas of Nos.800 and 803 Squadrons dive bombed the German cruiser Konigsberg at Bergen, during the German invasion of Norway. Later, squadron pilots shot down 6 He 111's, but in an abortive attack on the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst four aircraft were lost and the C.O. was taken prisoner. In July 1940 the squadron provided fighter patrols and escorts during an attack on the French Fleet at Oran.

800 squadron left HMS Ark Royal at Gibraltar in April 1941, transferring to HMS Furious the squadron was reequipped with nine Fulmars at RNAS Lee-on-Solent at the end of April. It was further expanded to 18 aircraft by absorbing the nine Fulmars of 801 squadron which disbanded at RNAS Lee-on-Solent on May 2nd. From May 2nd the squadron was temporarily split into three flights: No.800X Flight (9 aircraft) embarking in HMS Furious for a six months spell in Malta, No.800Y Flight (3 aircraft) embarked in HMS Argus, the remaining 6 aircraft became No.800Z Flight embarking in HMS Victorious to help search for the Bismarck.

Y & Z flights disbanded when 800 squadron regrouped at RNAS Lee-on-Solent on June 14th 1941, X flight remained ashore at RNAS Hal Far, Malta until it disbanded on November 19th. During July 1941 800 squadron joined HMS Furious for an attack on the Finnish port of Petsamo, in which it lost two aircraft to German fighters.

800 next transferred to HMS Indomitable in October 1941, the ship operated in the West Indies until the end of the year and then sailed for the Indian Ocean to participate in the Madagascar operations. The squadron reequipped again in June 1942 when Sea Hurricanes were received, and with these the squadron returned to the United Kingdom at the end of August. In October the squadron embarked in HMS Biter to take part in the North African landings during November. On March 24th 1943, 800 squadron embarked on HMS Unicorn for deck landing training in the Clyde and short period of anti-submarine operations in home waters.

In June 1943 the squadron arrived at RNAS Eglinton, Northern Ireland where they were to become the first Fleet Air Arm unit to receive the new Grumman Hellcat, reequipping with 10 aircraft in July. In October 1943 800 squadron was joined by No. 804 (Hellcat) squadron to form No.7 Naval Fighter Wing, embarking in HMS Ravager  October 28th - November 4th deck landing training

 

 

On 5 December 1943 800 squadron embarked in HMS Emperor which was tasked with providing air cover for a USA-bound convoy with a return trip with the ship acting as a transport. HMS Emperor next joined the Home Fleet and her squadrons took part in several operations against targets in Norwegian waters including providing escorts for attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz. Following action in the Western Approaches during May and June 1944 when Emperor covered D-Day operations, On June 18th No.804 Squadron was absorbed by 800 squadron to form a single 20 aircraft squadron.

 

Sporting invasion stripes Hellcat JV125 ‘E-N’ of 800 NAS ranged on JHMS Emperor’s flight deck preparing for take off during operation “Dragoon”, August 1944.

 

HMS Emperor sailed for the Mediterranean on July 15th with 800 squadron embarked to take part in Operation "Dragoon", the invasion of the south of France in August. From early September Emperor, in company with Pursuer began strike operations in the Aegean, these operations saw 800 squadron attacking shore targets and shipping beginning with Operations "Outing I & II" and Operation "Manna", in October. Later in October the squadron provided strikes to soften up the Island of Milos prior to its re-occupation in Operation "Contempt"; In the whole series of operations in the Aegean, Emperor's aircraft flew 455 sorties, the majority being flown by 800 squadron, more than double that achieved by any other carrier.

On returning to the United Kingdom, the squadron disembarked to RAF Long Kesh, Northern Ireland on November 29th 1944 to re-equip with new Hellcats and train for operations in the Far East. Emperor had completed a short refit at a dockyard in Newport South Wales and was ready to re-embark 800 squadron by February 25th 1945 before she sailed for Ceylon via the Suez Canal on March 1st.

Upon arrival in Ceylon 800 was disembarked to Royal Naval Air Station Colombo Racecourse on March 25th, while Emperor began storing ship for operations as part of the East Indies Fleet. Emperor and 800 squadron were soon in action, participating in Operation "Sunfish" at the beginning of April. This was a photographic reconnaissance over flight of Port Swettenham and a strike on Emmahaven, carried out in company with HMS Khedive. On April 31st 800 and Emperor took part in Operation "Dracula", a series of strikes on the Rangoon and Tenasserim (south-eastern Burma), coast in company with CVEs Khedive, Hunter and Stalker. During the later part of "Dracula" operations 800 squadron operated detachments from two of the accompanying CVEs, three aircraft operated from HMS Khedive and eight from HMS Shah between 11th - 19th May before rejoining Emperor.

After a brief break, when 800 again disembarked to Colombo Racecourse, Emperor put to sea again on June 18th, a detachment of eight aircraft again joined HMS Shah from where they operated between June 24th and July 1st. This detachment returned to Emperor in time for her next action, Operation "Collie" which commenced on July 2nd. "Collie" called for Emperor, in company with HMS Ameer, to carry out strikes on the Nicobar Islands and to provide air cover for minesweeping forces operating off Phuket Island. On completion of Operation "Collie" Emperor returned to Ceylon on July 19th and 800 was disembarked to Royal Naval Air Station Katukurunda.

800 and Emperor were next called into action at the start of September when together with sister CVEs Ameer, Empress, Hunter, Khedive, and Stalker they were tasked with the reoccupation of Singapore, code name Operation "Zipper". The force anchored in Keppel Harbour, Singapore on the 10th, the surrender was signed on the 12th.

 

Aircraft of 800 NAS ranged on JHMS Emperor’s flight deck as she enters Keppel Harbour, Singapore, September 10th 1945.

 

On leaving Singapore Emperor proceeded to Royal Naval Aircraft Maintenance Yard Coimbatore in Southern India were 800 squadron was disembarked on September 18th. The squadrons Hellcats were to remain at Coimbatore and the aircrews rejoined the ship in preparation for return to the UK.

At the beginning of November Emperor sailed for the UK via Colombo and Bombay, 800 squadron officially disbanded upon arrival on the Clyde on 5 December 1945.

 

 


Content revised: July 2008

Sources used in compiling this account:

Brown, D. (1974) "‹“Carrier Operations in World War 2 - vol 1 the Royal Navy' Shepperton, Ian Allen Ltd.

Hobbs, D. (2003) 'Royal Navy Escort Carriers' Liskeard, Maritime Books

Smith,P.C., (12001) "‹“Task Force 57: The British Pacific Fleet, 1944 - 45' Bristol, Crecy Books

Sturtivant, R. & Burrows, M. (1995) "‹“Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945' Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain (Historians)

Sturtivant, R & Balance, T., (1994) "‹“Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain (Historians)

Winton, J. (1969) "‹“The forgotten Fleet', London, Michael Joseph Ltd.

 

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