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August - December 1944
 

Formation and work-up

The personnel for 1849 Squadron assembled at Townhill Camp in June 1944, and sailed from Liverpool on the troopship QUEEN MARY for the USA to form and train. The squadron officially formed on August 1st 1944 at USNAS Brunswick as a single seat fighter squadron under the command of Lt. Cdr (A) P.C.S. Chilton RN. The squadron was issued with 18 Corsair IIIs Corsair IIIs that had previously been operated by 1843 squadron which had received replacement aircraft in late July before departing for the UK.! Some accounts say only 8 aircraft were issued, individual aircraft records list 14 airframes from 1843 squadron, 2 from 1841, and 2 others, possibly from RNASU Brunswick, being issued to 1849 on August 1st 1944.

The personnel of the newly formed 1849 Squadron at Brunswick, August 1944. Click on image to see larger version

 

After familiarisation with the aircraft and equipment the squadron began training in earnest to prepare for active service. Training included navigation exercises, low flying, formation flying and combat tactics. On September 10th the squadron began practicing ADDLs (Aerodrome Dummy Deck Landings) utilising the nearby US Naval Auxiliary Airfield at Bar Harbour, Maine. They return to Brunswick on the 19th. .! Usually the squadron would have next conducted DLT (Deck Landing Training) on the training carrier the USS CHARGER, operating in Chesapeake Bay but there is no record of this happening.

The first two months of training was a difficult time for the new pilots, many of whom were on their first operational squadron with three fatalities during the work-up period. Sub-Lt R.J. Wadsworth RNVR died on August 14th when his aircraft Corsair JS671 was involved in a head-on mid-air crash (other Corsair unidentified) near Clinton, Maine. Sub-Lieutenants H.R. Bouchard RNVR and C.P. Gurnhill RNVR died on September 11th, again as the result of a mid-air incident; in formation at 800-1,000ft Sub-Lt Gurnhill flying in JS669 hit and cut off the tail of JS612 flown by Sub-Lt Bouchard, both aircraft crashed near Clinton, Maine. A fourth aircraft was lost on August 20th when JS662 hit the sea during low flying exercises and sank in 30 seconds, the pilot Sub-Lt E.P. George RNVR was rescued safely.
 

The 18 pilots of the newly formed 1849 Squadron at Brunswick, August 1944. Click on image to see larger version

 

 1849 was the last Corsair squadron to be issued with the Mark III variant when forming up; on October 23rd the squadron’s Corsair IIIs were flown to USNAS Norfolk in preparation for receiving replacement Corsair IVs. Their old aircraft were embarked in HMS RULER the next day for passage to the UK. The new machines were issued by the RN Aircraft Support Unit at USNAS Floyd Bennett Field on the 24th.

On completion of working up at USNAS Brunswick 1849 and sister squadron 1850, flew to USNAS Floyd Bennett Field on November 15th 1944, the squadron aircrew continued on to  USNAS Norfolk leaving their aircraft behind. The personnel of both squadrons assembled at USNAS Norfolk on the 17th and embarked in the escort carrier HMS REAPER, alongside in the Norfolk Naval Operating Base. REAPER sailed from Norfolk on the 18th and proceeded to New York; on arrival she moored at the 35th street Pier. Brooklyn at 15:35 on the 19th to undergo voyage repairs, this was completed at 12:00 on the 23rd. While at New York she embarked the squadron aircraft which were towed through the streets from Floyd Bennett Field and hoisted aboard from the pier. The squadron aircraft were stowed in the hangar and a ferry load of Lend-lease aircraft was also embarked as deck cargo. The following day REAPER joined Convoy CU 48 for the Atlantic crossing to the UK. On reaching the Western Approaches REAPER detached and proceeded to Belfast arriving there on December 6th to disembark her ferry load and squadrons at RNAMY Belfast.


Disbanded into 1845 and 1850

Before their departure from USNAS Brunswick it had been decided that due to the high number of losses from accidents 1849 was to be disbanded on arrival in the UK, its aircrew and aircraft being shared between Nos.1845 and 1850 Squadrons.

 



First-Line squadrons menu | go to the top

 

Content revised: 07 April 2018

 

Sources used in compiling this account:

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)

Fold3.com various documents including;

Admiralty War Diaries

Norfolk Navy Yard War Diaries

Mew York Navy Yard War Diaries

Miscellaneous documents

 

 

 

 

 

No badge issued

 

 

 

Battle Honours

 

None

 

Aircraft Types
 

Corsair II Aug 1944 - Oct 1944
Corsair IV JOct 1944 - Dec 1944

 

Commanding Officers

 

Lt. Cdr (A) P.C.S. Chilton RN 1Aug 1944
Squadron disbanded 6 Dec  1944

 

 

Aircrew and Squadron Personnel

 

Click here

 

 

 

 

 © 2016 Tony Drury www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk


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