- 810 Naval Air Squadron
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=810 Naval Air Squadron
later reformed, serving during the
Suez Crisisand the Korean War
type=Carrier based squadron
Fleet Air Arm
Diego Suarez 1942
810 Naval Air Squadron was a
Royal Navy Fleet Air Armcarrier based squadron formed on 3 April 1933with the amalgamation of the 12 Blackburn Dartaircraft from 463 and 44 Flight (Fleet Torpedo) Flights Royal Air Forceto the Fleet Air Arm. The squadron saw action during the Second World War, the Suez Crisisand the Korean War.
810 Squadron was assigned to the
aircraft carrierHMS "Courageous" in May 1933 and formed part of the Home Fleet. In September that year the Darts were replaced by Blackburn Ripons, and these were in turn replaced by Blackburn Baffins in July 1934, with the entire squadron operating Baffins by November that year. The Abyssinian crisiscaused "Courageous" and the squadron to be transferred to the Mediterranean from August 1935 to February 1936. The squadron was upgraded to use Blackburn Sharks in April 1937, and then Fairey Swordfishin September 1938. 810 Squadron was then transferred to the new aircraft carrier HMS "Ark Royal" the following month, and had embarked by January. The squadron was amongst those transferred to Admiraltycontrol on 24 May 1939.
econd World War
By the outbreak of war the squadron was aboard "Ark Royal", flying 12 Swordfish on anti-submarine patrols. They carried out an unsuccessful attack on "U-30" on
14 September 1939, losing two of their aircraft to their own bombs. The squadron was involved in activities over Norwayafter the German invasion in April 1940, and carried out bombing raids on Vaernesaerodrome. They sailed with "Ark Royal" to Gibraltar, and carried out attacks during the British Attack on Mers-el-Kébirin July. The squadron made an abortive attack on the French battleship "Strasbourg", and later attacked the French battleship "Dunkerque".
The squadron was again in action in August and September, when they carried out bombing raids at
Cagliariand Sardinia, and against the French fleet in the Battle of Dakar, when their aircraft made an unsuccessful attack on the French battleship "Richelieu". They then saw action in November at the Battle of Cape Spartivento, and the following year in February carried out bombing attacks on Tirso Dam, Sardiniaand bombing attacks on Leghornand La Speziain Italy.
The squadron was reassigned in March 1941 to HMS "Illustrious" for operations in the
Indian Ocean. They were then involved in the Battle of Madagascarin May, bombing shipping and land targets at Diego Suarez. After a stopover at Durban, the squadron returned to "Ark Royal", which was ordered into the Atlantic in May 1941 to search for the German battleship "Bismarck", and was involved in the attack which crippled her, and led to her sinking. 810 Squadron then returned to the UK with "Ark Royal", followed by a period in the Mediterranean to operate against enemy positions on Sardinia. They left "Ark Royal" in September, before her sinking in October, and saw service supporting convoy movements to Jamaica.
They were re-equipped with Fairey Barracuda IIs in April 1943, after which they returned to the Norwegian coast in July 1943. They then re-embarked aboard HMS "Illustrious" and operated in support of the Salerno landings. 810 Squadron was then re-grouped as part of the 21st Naval Torpedo Bomber Reconnaissance Wing in October 1943, and sailed in November to join the
Eastern Fleet. They carried out attacks on docks and oil tanks at Sabangin Operation Cockpitin April 1944, and followed this in June with raids on the Andaman Islands. "Illustrious" then put in for a refit at Cape Town. By February 1945 the squadron was back in the UK at RNAS Stretton, where they were re-equipped with the improved Barracuda IIIs. They moved to the airbase at Thorney Island in March, and then to the East Coast, where they trialled the new ASV Mk.XI radar with RAF Coastal Command. The squadron then disbanded in August 1945.
.The squadron was re-formed at some point, and went on to see action in the
Suez Crisisand the Korean War. During Operation Musketeer, the squadron operated Hawker Sea Hawks off HMS "Bulwark". The squadron was again disbanded, but was re-formed again, and commissioned on 3 March 1983at RNAS Culdrose, flying ten Sea King HAS.5, with which they took on part of the role of 737 Naval Air Squadron. They had some responsibility for advanced flying training tasks, but some of these were transferred to 706 Naval Air Squadronin October 1985. The squadron was deployed at times on the Royal Fleet Auxiliaryships RFA "Engadine" and RFA "Argus". The squadron was re-equipped with the Sea King HAS.6 in October 1989, with the last HAS.5s being retired in February 1990. 810 absorbed E Flt of 826 Naval Air Squadronin July 1993, when 826 Squadron was disbanded. 810 Squadron was decommissioned in July 2001, with its main role passing to 814 Naval Air Squadron, and its Search and Rescue element passing to 771 Naval Air Squadron.
* [http://www.rafweb.org/Sqn712-825.htm 810 Squadron pre war]
* [http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/Squadrons/810.html 810 Squadron wartime]
* [http://www.helis.com/database/sqd/uk_810_naval_air_squadron/ 810 Squadron post war]
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