729 Squadron formed at RNAS Hinstock, 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 RNAS Hinstock the squadron personnel took passage for India on April 16th 1945, without aircraft
The North American Harvard trainer © IWM ATP 10400C
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 RNAS Tambaram, 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 RNAS Katukurunda, 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.
A formation of Airspeed Oxford aircraft of 729 Squadron based at RNAS Katukurunda.
On November 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Air-Sea-Rescue flight of 2 Sea Otter amphibians, from 1700 squadron ‘B’ flight, was added to the squadron but this was withdrawn in April.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.
Content revised: 23 October 2022
Harvard II May 1945 - Jul 1946
Oxford I May 1945 - Jul 1946
Sea Otter Jan 1946 - Apr 1946
Lt. Cdr (A) H. R. Law RNVR 1 Jan 1945
Lt (A) A. H. Bender RNVR 23 Nov 1945
Squadron disbanded 24 Apr 1946
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