729 January 1945 - July 1946
Formation and work-up
No.729 Squadron formed at
Shropshire, on January 1st 1945 as an Instrument Flying Training squadron for service in the Far East, LT. Cdr A) H.R. Law RNVR, in command. The new squadron was an offshoot of 758 Squadron, the Naval Advanced Instrument Flying School, and its seven pilots worked up using Oxfords and Harvards belonging to the squadron. On completion of their work up the squadron personnel departed for India on 16 April 1945, without aircraft, squadron equipment was to be issued in theatre.
Operations in India and Ceylon: May 1945 – July 1946
They arrived at RN Aircraft Maintenance Yard Coimbatore, Southern India, on May 15th, and a small number of Oxfords (4-5) and 1 Harvard were issued. With these they started training in preparation for beginning Instrument Flying training courses. Three weeks later, on June 7th, the squadron moved to
RNAS Tambaram, 275 miles North East of Coimbatore. They stayed for only one month before moving again to
RNAS Puttalam, on the west coast of Ceylon, on July 10th.
The squadron complement had increased to 11 pilots by this time.
When the Japanese surrendered on August 15th 1945 their role was reassessed, the need for large numbers of combat ready pilots had passed and on August 30th 729 moved again, this time to
further south down the coast.
There is only one accident recorded for the squadron; on October 12th 1945, Oxford PH136, while being taxied by Sub-Lt R Robson RNVR collided with a tree at
Katukurunda, damaging the port wing
23rd 1945 Lt (A) A.H. Bender RNVR, assumed command of the
squadron, which had now reduced to its original complement of 7 pilots. In the New Year an Air-Sea-Rescue flight of 2 Sea
Otter amphibians, from 1700 squadron ‘B’ flight, was added
to the squadron but this was withdrawn in April. The
squadron disbanded at
Katukurunda on July 24th 1946.
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26 November 2016
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)