777 Naval Air Squadron

777 Naval Air Squadron was a Fleet Requirements Unit which was formed in West Africa during the Second World War.[2]

777 Naval Air Squadron
BranchRoyal Navy Fleet Air Arm
RoleFleet Requirements Unit
Aircraft flown


The squadron was formed at RAF Hastings in Sierra Leone, West Africa on 1 August 1941. This airfield was located 8 miles (13 km) South East of the port city of Freetown, and was sited about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) North East of the village of Hastings.[2] The squadron initially operated only Fairey Swordfish and Blackburn Roc aircraft. However, by 1942 the squadron had acquired some Boulton Paul Defiant and Supermarine Walrus aircraft.[3] [4]

In March 1943, the control of the airfield was given over to the Admiralty and was given the name HMS Spurwing, but the airfield was also known as RNAS Hastings.[5]

Second World War

During 1943, 777 squadron was involved with the air defence of Sierra Leone, a task which they fulfilled for most of the year.[4]

Between 1942 and 1944, the squadron flew Walrus amphibious aircraft on search and rescue sorties as well as anti-submarine patrols.[6][7]

During the squadron's existence, there were several accidents in April, June and October 1944, three Target Tug Boulton Paul Defiants belonging to the squadron were written off. It seems that in all three of these incidents, there were no fatalities.[8][9][10]

However an accident involving Sub-Lieutenant D.R. Bentley, who was one of 777 pilots, on 9 June 1943 sadly claimed his life.[11]

777 Squadron disbanded on 25 December 1944.[4][5]

Post war

The squadron was reformed on 23 May 1945 from 'B' Flight 778 Naval Air Squadron as a trials unit for service aboard HMS Pretoria Castle using a variety of aircraft including Supermarine Seafire's and de Havilland Mosquito's.[1]

Aircraft operated

The squadron operated a variety of different aircraft and versions:[1]



  1. Sturtivant, Ballance 1994, p. 97.
  2. Drury, Tony (2013). "Fleet Air Arm Bases 1939 to the present:RNAS Hastings". royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  3. Dresner, Jim. "Corporal Timothy Joseph Mahoney RM". Biography. Flying Marines. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  4. Wragg,David (2005). Stringbag: The Fairey Swordfish at War. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. p. 189.
  5. Drury, Tony (2013). "Fleet Air Arm Bases 1939 to the present:RNAS Hastings". royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  6. "Naval Obituaries". Dennis Kirby – obituary. 16 February 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  7. Murray, Cathy (2013). "I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety(Blog)". Norman Buckle's diary. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  8. "ASN Aircraft Accident 21-APR-1944 Boulton Paul Defiant TT Mk I AA432". Aviation-Safety Network. 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  9. "ASN Aircraft Accident 02-JUN-1944 Boulton Paul Defiant TT Mk I AA431". Aviation Safety Network. 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  10. "ASN Aircraft Accident 11-OCT-1944 Boulton Paul Defiant TT Mk I DR 884". Aviation Safety Network. 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  11. Kindell, Don. Gordon Smith (ed.). "Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies, World War 2 1st – 30th JUNE 1943". Retrieved 21 September 2015.


  • Sturtivant, R; Ballance, T (1994). The Squadrons of The Fleet Air Arm. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-223-8.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.