The British Pacific and East Indies Fleets

The forgotten fleets that fought the Japanese in the Pacific and Indian Oceans


East Indies Fleet
Front-line Air Squadrons

Links on this page take users to histories already covered in other areas of the Royal Navy Research Archive.

Commanding officers: Details are given for C.O.s covering the time attached to the Fleet, for others see the unit history.

Key to symbols & abbreviations: ‡ = Joined after August 15th 1945 or no active service, + = Bar award to medal. RNVR = Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, SANF(V) – South African Naval Force (Volunteer) RAN = Royal Australian Navy, RCN = Royal Canadian Navy, RNZN = Royal New Zealand Navy; aircraft type in brackets indicates the squadron re-equipped Post-War.

Fighter Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
800 24 x Hellcat II EMPEROR  
804 20 x Hellcat II AMEER  
807 24 x Seafire L. III HUNTER  
808 20 x Hellcat II KHEDIVE  
809 24 x Seafire L. III & FR.III STALKER  
879 Seafire L.III ATTACKER Lt. Cdr (A) B.H. Harriss RN Apr 45
882 Wildcat IV SEARCHER  
888 Hellcat PR. II Flights attached as needed  
896 Hellcat AMEER / EMPRESS

Lt. Cdr (A) R.M. Norris RNVR Jan 45
 Lt. Cdr (A) G.1 Zegers de Beijl DSC RNethN Jul 45
Lt. Cdr (A) M.F. Turner RNVR Oct 45

898 Hellcat PURSUER Lt. Cdr (A) RW Kearsley RN Jan 45

Torpedo, Bomber, and Reconnaissance Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
815 Barracuda TR.III SMITER / UKUSSA  
821 Barracuda TR.III UKUSSA  
832 Avenger II BEGUM  
845 Avenger II EMPRESS / SHAH  
851 10 x Avenger I SHAH Lt. Cdr (A) (P) A. M. Tuke, DSC, RN
Lt. Cdr (A) (P) M. T. Fuller, DSC, RNVR

Air Sea Rescue Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
1700 Walrus & Sea Otter VAIRI / BAMBARA / UKUSSA / SIMBANG
Lt. (A) A.B. Edgar RNVR Nov 44
Lt. (A) J.A. Gossett RNVR Jan 46



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HM Ships COLOSSUS, GLORY, VENERABLE and VENGEANCE. GLORY did not arrive in Sydney until August 16th.


At the end of June 1945, the Admiralty implemented a new system of classification for carrier air wings, adopting the American practice one carrier would embark a single Carrier Air Group (CAG) which would encompass all the ships squadrons.


Sturtivant, R & Balance, T. (1994) 'Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm’ list 899 squadron as conducting DLT on the Escort Carrier ARBITER on August 15th. It is possible that the usual three-day evolution was cancelled due to the announcement of the Japanese surrender on this date and was postponed for a month.


The reminiscences of

Gordon served with the radio section of Mobile Repair UNit No.1 (MR 1) at Nowra, he was a member of the local RN dance band, and possibly the last member of MONAB I to leave Nowra after it paid off. .

Drafted to

Coming home

In March 1946 I joined 812 squadron, aboard HMS Vengeance, spending some time ditching American aircraft north of Australia. Eventually we sailed for Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) landing at Trincomalee and setting up a radio section at Katakarunda. In the belief that we were exhausted we were sent to a rest camp at Kandy for a few weeks. We moved down to Colombo to pick up Vengeance and returned to Portsmouth via the Suez Canal . I was discharged in November 1946.

Gordon Theaker