The squadron formed at
Ford, Sussex in January 1940 equipped with 12 Swordfish Is for
torpedo spotter reconnaissance duties, following a period at West
Freugh, the squadron returned to Ford and a detachment of 6 aircraft
flew to Detling to search for U-boats off the Belgian coast just
before the Dunkirk evacuation.
On joining HMS
Illustrious for Bermuda, the squadron then escorted a Malta convoy
remaining with the Mediterranean Fleet at Dekheila from August 1940.
From September 1940 the
squadron took part a series of attacks on enemy targets in the
Eastern Mediterranean including in a dive bombing attack on Calato
In the night of 11-12
November 1940 the squadron took part in the attack on the Italian
Fleet at Taranto, including sinking of the Italian battleship Conte
In January 1941 the
carrier was badly damaged by German dive-bombers and several
squadron aircrew killed and aircraft destroyed, the remnants of the
squadron were absorbed into 815 squadron and disbanded.
In October 1941 the
squadron was reformed at RNAS Lee-on-Solent as a torpedo bomber
reconnaissance squadron with 9 Swordfish, embarking on HMS Avenger
in June 1942 for trials.
In July 1942 the
squadron joined RAF Coastal Command minelaying in the North Sea and
English Channel, and subsequently joined HMS Archer for escort duty
in the North Atlantic. On 23 May 1943 U-752 was sunk by squadron
aircraft, the first such rocket projectile success.
In August 1943 the
squadron joined HMS Activity, a fighter flight of 3 wildcat being
added whilst on escort duty, and a further 5 added in March 1944.
On 3 April 1944 whilst
escorting an Arctic convoy, aircraft sank U-288 jointly with 846
NAS, and later on squadron Wildcats shot down 4 enemy aircraft. That
month the squadron joined RAF Coastal Command for night patrols in
the North Sea, the wildcats being withdrawn to 833 NAS. After D-Day
the squadron operated in the south and east coast and then from
October at St Croix, Maldeghem and Knocke-le-Zoute in Belgium where
it formed part of 155 and subsequently 157 RAF Wing.
In February 1945 the squadron returned to Bircham Newton and
disbanded in March 1945.
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