1831 (1) July 1943 - December 1943
Formation and work-up
No.1831 squadron officially formed in the
United States at US Naval Air Station
Rhode island, on July 1st 1943 as a single seater fighter squadron
under the command of Lt. Cdr. H.P. Allingham RNR. Initial equipment was 10
Corsair Is. After familiarisation with the aircraft and equipment
the squadron began training in earnest to prepare for active
Quonset Point there were two serious
incidents involving the Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp R-2800-8 engine;
on July 12th Corsair JT137 ditched in Narraganset Bay, off Pt.
Judith, after its engine failed, the pilot, Sub-Lt R Fullerton RNVR was
rescued unhurt by a fishing vessel. On the 21st Corsair JT138 caught
fire in flight and exploded at 3000 feet; the pilot, , Sub-Lt D.C.N.
Lovely RNVR was killed when his parachute failed to open, the aircraft
crashed in the Sakonnet River.
The squadron moved to US Naval Air Station
Brunswick, Maine on August 23rd to continue their training, during
their stay here some Deck Landing Training (DLT) was carried out on
the training carrier
in late September; the squadron C.O. Lt. Cdr. Allingham is recorded as suffering a barrier crash
during a DLT session on the 29th in Corsair JT235. There was one
other flying incident while training at
Brunswick, Sub-Lt. D.S. Byrne RNZNVR made a wheels-up landing in Corsair JT130 on September 14th.
The squadron arrived at US Naval Air Station
on October 4th to await the escort carrier
the carrier which was allocated to ferry them to the UK. She arrived
at Norfolk Naval Dockyard on the 6th for repairs and modifications
to be carried out. The Corsairs of 1831 squadron were hoisted aboard
on the 6th and stowed in the hanger; they were joined by the 10
Corsairs of 1833 squadron the 17th. The corsairs were to be
non-operational for this voyage, the ship had already embarked 848
squadron’s Avenger Torpedo Bombers on September 4th and they had
worked up with the ship and would provide anti-submarine patrols
during the Atlantic crossing. On completion of loading
TRUMPETER sailed for New York on the morning of the 17th.
On arrival at New York on the 19th the ship spent a further three
days under repair before sailing with convoy U.T.4 on the 21st in
company with Sister CVE
HMS SLINGER and the aircraft transport ATHENE for passage to the
Both 1831 1833 squadrons were disembarked at
RNAS Belfast on November 1st before flying to
RNAS Stretton on the
3rd. Five days later on November 8th the squadron joined the new
15th Naval Fighter Wing which comprised of 1830, 1831 and 1833
Corsair squadrons for service in HMS Illustrious. In early December
it was decided to reduce the Wing to two squadrons and1831 was
Stretton on December 10th 1943, its equipment and
aircrews being split up between Nos.1830 and 1833 Squadrons.
1831 (2) November 44 - Aug 46
Formation and work-up
1831squacron formed again as a single seater
fighter squadron at US Naval Air Station
Brunswick, Maine on
November 1st 1944. This new squadron was issued with 18 Corsair IVs
and was commanded by Lt. Cdr. (A) R.W.M. Walsh RN.
Training included navigation exercises, low
flying, formation flying and combat tactics, the squadron briefly
moving to US Naval Auxiliary Airfield Bar Harbour, Maine on December
2nd for six days of Aerodrome Dummy Deck Landing (ADDL) training
Brunswick on completion. On December 20th they flew to
US Naval Air Station Norfolk for an eight day stay while the pilots
undertook Deck Landing Training (DLT), flying out to the training
carrier, the USS CHARGER operating in Chesapeake Bay. Only one deck
crash is recorded for this period, Sub-Lt. J.F. Burstall RNVR
suffered a barrier crash in KD640 on the 22nd. On completion of the DLT sessions the squadron returned to
Brunswick where they remained
until the end of January 1945.
On completion of working up at USNAS
the squadron flew to US Naval Air Station
Norfolk on January 31st
1945 to embark in the escort carrier
HMS PURSUER for passage to the
UK. The aircraft were embarked on February 1st and stowed in the
It is unclear whether the aircraft flew aboard or were hoisted aboard; the ship was operating in Chesapeake Bay on February 1st.
PURSUER sailed from Norfolk at 17:39 on February 4th
and arrived in Belfast on the 16th where
her ferry load was disembarked to
RNAS Belfast; the aircraft of 1831
Northern Ireland on February 18th.
Training continued at
Eglinton in preparation for joining a carrier.
One formation flying exercise on March 24th had two near collisions;
KD423 flown by Sub-Lt. R.W.H. Boyns RNVR was hit by the prop of
KD570, pilot unknown, and KD499 flown by Sub-Lt. L.GV. Behn RNVR was also struck
on the fuselage by the prop of KD549 flown by Sub-Lt. A. Jackson.
All aircraft landed safely. The only other incident recorded for
this period was a wheels-up landing on April 3rd, Sub-Lt. L.G.V. Behn RNVR had
been carrying out ADDLs in KD512, it is unclear if there was a
mechanical failure or pilot error.
At the start of May the
squadron strength was increased to 21 aircraft before joining the
Light Fleet Carrier HMS GLORY for service with the British Pacific
Fleet. The ship had just completed her builder’s sea trials and had commissioned on April 2nd 1945. The Admiralty had decided at the beginning of the year that due to the threat of U-Boat attack in the traditional training areas in the Irish Sea the new ‘Colossus’ class Light Fleet Carriers would work-up to operational readiness in the Mediterranean.
The squadron departed from Eglinton for Renfrew airport on May 9th, in transit to join GLORY at sea on the 11th. They were joined on board by the 18 Barracuda IIs of 837which embarked on the same day; this squadron had previously embarked during April to put the ship’s flight deck equipment through its paces during the sea trials.
Work up in the Mediterranean
Once her squadrons were aboard
GLORY sailed for the Mediterranean; arriving at Malta on May
22nd she disembarked 1831 to RNAS Hal Far; the squadron lost
its first aircraft of the deployment while disembarking at
Malta, Sub-Lt. M.P.W. Stone RNVR in KD535 closed his throttle on
take-off then sank into the sea, he was picked up by the
attending destroyer HMS TUSCAN. Glory sailed in company with
her sister ships COLOSSUS, VENGEANCE, VENERABLE, and the
destroyers TUSCAN and TYRIAN for Alexandria the following day.
837 flew ashore to
RNAS Dekheila, Egypt on the 24th, COLOSSUS, VENGEANCE,
and VENERABLE arrived at Alexandria on the 25th but GLORY
returned to Malta and re-embarked 1831 on the 26th to
commence flying training and other exercises as the ship
began her work-up. While ashore at Hal Far Corsair KD741 was
involved in a collision at night when Hurricane LB179 taxied
into Lt. R.W.M. Walsh’s aircraft which was stationary
without lights. On the 30th Sub-Lt. J.F. Burstall RNVR made
the first barrier crash, he made a fast approach in KD514,
caught the last wire but continued on into the barrier. Over
the next three weeks of intensive training there were three
more accidents; on June 1st Lt. F.J.
Golightly RNVR stalled over the deck in KD443 during DLT and
swung to Port causing his Port wheel to run off the deck
edge into the netting. Sub-Lt. R.W.H. Boyns RNVR in KD441 also had
a problem during DLT on the 2nd, he swung to Starboard and
his Starboard wing tip hit the ship’s crane. On the 18th
Sub-Lt. A.W. Findlay RNVR had a barrier crash when KD629 caught
No. 8 wire but failed to be arrested. By this time the ship
was operating off Alexandria and the squadron was flown
RNAS Dekheila on the 18th. Flying continued with
aircraft flying out to operate from the ship; there was one
final accident of the work-up on the 23rd when KD441, ranged
for take-off, ran backwards into the prop of KD396 manned by
Sub-Lt. K.J. Toms RNVR.
Operations with the British Pacific Fleet
The Barracudas of 837
re-embarked in GLORY on June 25th 1945 having increased
their equipment strength to 12 aircraft, and on June 30th
the two squadrons formed the new 16th Carrier Air Group
under the command of Major A.J. Wright Royal Marines. 1831
re-embarked on July 2nd before the ship proceeded to Port
Said to transit the Suez Canal on passage to Trincomalee,
Once the ship was off the
Ceylonese coast on the 15th, both squadrons flew ashore to
RNAS Katukurunda while the ship preceded to
Trincomalee harbour. The stay ashore was short, both
squadrons re-embarking on July 27th when GLORY sailed
for Sydney, Australia to join the British Pacific Fleet.
On August 2nd Lieutenant R.W.H.
Boyns RNVR, assumed command of the squadron and flying
operations continued during the passage, almost without
incident for 1831, there was one barrier crash on August 8th
by Lt. M.C. Tait RNVR in
KD537. The ship was off the coast of Australia when the news
of the Japanese surrender was announced on August 15th 1945;
her Air Group disembarked to
RNAS Schofields, New South Wales the following day.
On August 25th the Australian
Commonwealth Naval Board asked Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser,
C-in-C British Pacific Fleet, whether a cruiser or larger
vessel could be made available to accept the surrender of
the Japanese forces in the Bismarck Archipelago, the
Solomons and New Guinea. GLORY was chosen for this operation
and she sailed on September 1st as part of BPF Task Group
111.5, with the Sloops HART and AMETHYST for Rabaul on the
island of New Britain, re-embarking her squadrons once clear
of the harbour.
The ships and squadrons
maintained wartime readiness on route as a precaution; it
was believed some resistance could be encountered ahead of
the main surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay planned for
September 2nd and that some Japanese forces may not observe
the cease fire. Arriving at Rabaul in the forenoon on
September 5th GLORY flew off a detachment of Corsairs from
1831 to operate ashore at Royal Australian Air Force Station
Jacquinot Bay, New Britain.
The detachment remained at RAAF Jacquinot Bay, until September 30th but there is no record of how it returned to the main squadron. It was possibly disbanded there..
T.G. 111.5 was joined by the
Australian Destroyer VENDETTA and Corvettes KIAMA, DUBBO,
LITHGOW and TOWNSVILLE. The formal surrender of Japanese
forces in the area took place aboard the flight deck of HMS
GLORY on September 6th 1945 and was accepted by Australian
General V.A.H. Sturdee. Representing the Japanese were
General H. Imamura, Commander 8th Army Area, Admiral J.
Kusaka, Commander South East Area Fleet.
On her return to Australia on September 11th GLORY
disembarked 837 and the remaining aircraft of 1831 to
RNAS Jervis Bay in New South Wales. The ship was to be
employed on repatriation duties, sailing from Sydney on
September 26th for Manila to collect former Canadian POWs
for passage home to Vancouver via Hawaii. She delivered her
passengers to the RCN base at Esquimalt on October 26th. She
departed on November 5th for Hong Kong, Manila abs other
ports on the return leg to Sydney, arriving back on December
12th carrying former Australian POWs.
Ashore in Australia flying training continued at
Jervis Bay with a further two accidents occurring during
the remainder of September; on the 17th Sub-Lt. R. Phillips
RNVR in KD565 had both main wheels lock up on landing, the
aircraft overturned, the pilot was OK. Sub-Lt. W.R. Hodkinson
suffered an engine fire at 500 feet in KD219 and ditched in
Jervis Bay on the 21st. The 16th C.A.G. moved to
RNAS Nowra on October 29th,
RNAS Jervis Bay was running down to closure. 837 were to
re-equip here, exchanging their Barracudas for Fireflies.
Sub-Lt. R.W.H. Boyns RNVR had a serious crash in KD449 on November
6th, when his aircraft nosed over trapping him underneath.
After spending Christmas 1945 at
Nowra the Air Group began preparations to re-embark in
GLORY in the New Year and deck landing practice was done
with the ship in early January; Sub-Lt. J. Aston RNVR made a
bad deck landing on the 7th in KD736, the aircraft stalled
on landing and the Port wingtip struck the Deck Landing
Control Officer. Two aircraft, KD905 and KD951 were damaged
in the hangar aboard GLORY on the 9th. Her Air Group
re-embarked on January 19th for a period of training and
exercises. Tragedy struck on February 7th 1946, Sub-Lt. P.J. Duffy RNVR was
killed when he ditched in KD937 after an engine failure
during a section attack exercise off the coast of Jervis
Bay. The Air Group commander Major A.J. Wright RM also had a
deck landing crash when he caught No.8 wire in KD957 and
entered the barrier. On completion of the exercises the Air
Group was again put ashore while the ship was employed in
non-operational duties, this time they flew ashore to RAAF
Williamtown, New South Wales, on February 15th. GLORY was to sail to Auckland,
New Zealand to embark the Corsairs of 14 (Fighter) Squadron RNZAF and its personnel and stores for passage to the former
Japanese Naval Air Station at
Iwakuni, Japan, which was to be a base for the British
Commonwealth Occupation Force.
Little is known about the squadron’s activities at
Williamtown but is assumed that training and flying
exercises were still carried out. Reliefs arrived for some
of the longer serving pilots, including
a new commanding officer, Lt. Cdr. (A) R.T. Leggott MBE RN
who relived Lieutenant Boyns on the 28th. A second tragedy
struck the squadron on April 25th when Sub-Lt. W.H. Boore was
killed during a local air combat exercise, flying in KD936
he flew into low cloud and hit rising ground in hilly wooded
country 4 miles SE of Bulahdelah, New South Wales. He was
the second 1831 pilot to be killed in a flying accident in
Australia, both were post war.
Return to the UK to disband
The Air Group re-embarked on June 10th 1946 in
preparation for passage to Ceylon, the ship departed from
Woolloomooloo on June 22nd and 1831 was put ashore to
Trincomalee on July 15th. The squadron was to be disbanded,
the Corsair was no longer being issued to front-line units
and their aircraft were withdrawn. The following day the
aircrew and squadron personnel embarked in HMS Vengeance for
passage to the UK. 1831 squadron was officially disbanded on
August 13th when the ship arrived at Devonport.
 It is unclear whether
the aircraft flew aboard or were hoisted aboard; the ship was
operating in Chesapeake Bay on February 1st.
 The detachment remained at RAAF Jacquinot Bay, until September
30th but there is no record of how it returned to the main squadron.
It was possibly disbanded there.
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23 November 2018
Sources used in compiling this account:
Sturtivant, R. & Burrows, M. (1995)'Fleet Air Arm
Aircraft 1939 to 1945' Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain
Sturtivant, R & Balance, T., (1994)'Squadrons of the
Fleet Air Arm' Tonbridge Wells, Air Britain (Historians)