729 January 1945 - July 1946
Formation and work-up
729 Squadron formed at
Shropshire on January 1st 1945 as an Instrument Flying Training squadron for service in the Far East with seven pilots under Lt. Cdr (A) H.R. Law RNVR. It was an offshoot o758 Squadron, the Royal Naval Advanced Instrument Flying Training Unit and made use of the squadron’s Harvard and Oxford trainers while working up in the U.K. After working up at Hinstock the squadron personnel took passage for India on April 16th 1945, without aircraft
Operations in India and Ceylon: May 1945 – July 1946
On arrival at RN Aircraft Maintenance Yard Coimbatore, Southern India, on May 15th the squadron received 4 Oxfords and 1 Harvard as their initial equipment issue. They spent the next three weeks working up with their new aircraft, training in preparation for beginning Instrument Flying training courses, before moving to
275 miles North East of Coimbatore. on June 7th. This was a
temporary move, the squadron relocated 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 are only two accidents recorded for the squadron; the first was at RNAS Tambaram on June 26th when Sub-Lt. H.R. Long
RNVR caught the starboard tip of Oxford PH137 on a packing case on
the edge of the taxi track. The second was on October 12th 1945, Sub-Lt R, Robson RNVR, in Oxford PH136, collided with a tree while being taxied at
Katukurunda, damaging the port wing
23rd 1945 Lt (A) A.H. Bender RNVR, formerly the squadron’s senior pilot, 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to the squadron but this was withdrawn in April.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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11 June 2017
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)