835 Naval Air Squadron

835 Naval Air Squadron was a former squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm originally formed in February 1942 as a torpedo bomber and reconnaissance unit flying Fairey Swordfish. In June 1943, six Sea Hurricanes were added to the squadron as a fighter flight. The composite unit exchanged the Hurricanes in September 1944 for Grumman Wildcats, serving on until 1 April 1945, when the squadron disbanded.

835 Naval Air Squadron
Active17 February 1942 – 1 April 1945
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
TypeCarrier based squadron
Roletorpedo bomber
Motto(s)Latin: Semper miseri sumus
(Translation: "We are always miserable")
Battle honoursAtlantic 1943–44,
Arctic 1944–45[1]
Lt/Cdr. M. Johnstone, DSC, RN; Lt/Cdr(A) J.R. Godley, RNVR
Squadron Badge heraldryTwo wing-hilted swords in front of waves in a circle of rope
Aircraft flown
AttackFairey Swordfish
FighterHawker Sea Hurricane
Grumman Wildcat



The first members of the squadron assembled at the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Eastleigh (also known as HMS Raven) in January 1942 near Southampton in Hampshire.[2] They left Eastleigh on 29 January to board the SS Andalucia Star at Glasgow. Andalucia Star sailed from Glasgow on 4 February and arrived in Kingston, Jamaica on 17 February.[3] 835 Naval Air Squadron officially formed that day at Palisadoes (HMS Buzzard), Jamaica as a torpedo-bomber and reconnaissance squadron of Fairey Swordfish. After patrolling the seas around Jamaica until 12 March 1942, the squadron moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where a refitted HMS Furious lay waiting to take them aboard. Furious left Norfolk on 3 April 1942,[4] and arrived at RNAS Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus), Hampshire, on 15 April. The squadron moved to RNAS Hatston (HMS Sparrowhawk), Orkney, Scotland, in June 1942. During a period of frequent relocation the squadron moved to RNAS Stretton (HMS Blackcap), Cheshire, on 22 September 1942 and to RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), Argyll, on 29 October to spend November doing initial Deck Launch Training (DLT) on HMS Activity.[5] December saw temporary return to RNAS Machrihanish before relocation to RAF Kirkistown, County Down, Northern Ireland.


Return to RNAS Machrihanish on 29 January 1943 caused the base to be nicknamed "Clapham Junction" by the squadron.[5] Carrier embarkation was aboard HMS Battler on 8 April 1943 for convoy duties, but the squadron returned to RNAS Machrihanish for RP-3 Rocket Projectile training on 7 May. After a short return to Battler, the squadron moved to RAF Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 15 May and to RNAS Eglington (HMS Gannet) on 22 May.[6] In June 1943, 835 Squadron was reinforced with a flight of six Sea Hurricane Mk.IIcs from 804 squadron. The Hurricanes spent part of September and October 1943 operating from HMS Ravager, while some of the Swordfishes served aboard HMS Argus and the others remained at RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland. After a period ashore at RNAS Eglington, the squadron shortly embarked on HMS Chaser for three weeks before transfer to RNAS Abbotsinch (HMS Sanderling) and thence to RNAS Eglington.


The squadron transferred to the escort carrier HMS Nairana on 31 December 1943, and returned ashore at RNAS Hatston and RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail) in January 1944. Most of 1944, however, was spent onboard Nairana, on Atlantic convoy duties and on the Gibraltar Run. The squadron also served in 1944 with a successful submarine Hunter-Killer Group in the North Atlantic under the overall command of Captain Frederick Walker. Three Ju 290s were shot down in May and June.[7] The squadron became involved in the Murmansk Convoys to and from RNAS Hatston in August. Squadron pilots faced the most dangerous flying conditions of the war to attack two U-Boats and shoot down four enemy aircraft in the Arctic. The aging Sea Hurricanes were replaced by Grumman Wildcat Mk.VIs in September.


The squadron of 14 Swordfish and six Grumman Wildcats was led by Lieutenant-Commander Val Jones, a Swordfish Observer. The Senior Pilot of the squadron was Lieutenant Allen Burgham, DSC, MiD, who flew Sea Hurricane Mk.IIcs and later Wildcat Mk.VIs, and was Flight Commander of the Fighter Component. Lt-Commander John Godley RNVR, who had previously been in command of 'P' Flight of 836 Naval Air Squadron, became commander of the squadron on 9 January 1945.

Lieutenant-Commander Godley served as Squadron Commanding Officer for one Murmansk Convoy in February 1945. 835 Squadron saw further combat doing two coastal anti-shipping raids along the Norwegian coast off Trondheim, before being disbanded on 1 April 1945 at RNAS Hatston,[8] with its fighter flight transferring to 821 Naval Air Squadron. Lieutenant-Commander Godley was transferred to command 714 Naval Air Squadron.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by 835 Naval Air Squadron FAA, data from[9]
February 1942February 1943Fairey SwordfishMK.I
October 1942June 1944Fairey SwordfishMk.II
June 1943September 1944Hawker Sea HurricaneMk.IIc
July 1944March 1945Fairey SwordfishMk.III
September 1944March 1945Grumman WildcatMk.VI

Squadron bases

Air stations and carriers used by 835 Naval Air Squadron FAA, data from[9]
1 January 194229 January 1942RNAS Eastleigh (HMS Raven), Hampshire
29 January 194217 February 1942En route to Jamaica
17 February 194212 March 1942Palisadoes (HMS Buzzard), Kingston, Jamaica
12 March 19422 April 1942'En route to Norfolk, Virginia
3 April 194215 April 1942HMS Furious
15 April 1942June 1942RNAS Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus), Hampshire
June 194221 September 1942RNAS Hatston (HMS Sparrowhawk), Orkney, Scotland
22 September 194228 October 1942RNAS Stretton (HMS Blackcap), Cheshire
29 October 194212 November 1942RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), Argyll, Scotland
13 November 194227 November 1942HMS Activity
28 November 194218 December 1942RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), Argyll, Scotland
18 December 194229 January 1943RAF Kirkistown, County Down, Northern Ireland
29 January 19438 April 1943RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), Argyll, Scotland
9 April 19437 May 1943HMS Battler
7 May 194314 May 1943RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), Argyll, Scotland
14 May 194315 May 1943HMS Battler
15 May 194322 May 1943RAF Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
22 May 19434 June 1943RNAS Eglington (HMS Gannet), County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
4 June 194328 June 1943HMS BattlerDetachment at RNAS Eglington, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
28 June 1943July 1943RNAS Eglington (HMS Gannet), County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
July 194330 July 1943HMS Battler
30 July 19436 November 1943RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
9 September 19436 November 1943HMS RavagerSea Hurricane flight
9 September 19436 November 1943HMS Arguspart of Swordfish flight
6 November 194327 November 1943HMS Chaser
27 November 194316 December 1943RNAS Abbotsinch (HMS Sanderling), Renfrewshire, Scotland
16 December 194330 December 1943RNAS Eglington (HMS Gannet), County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
31 December 1943January 1944HMS Nairana
January 194424 February 1944RNAS Hatston (HMS Sparrowhawk) and RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail)
24 February 19446 March 1944HMS Nairana
6 March 19448 March 1944RAF Gibraltar
8 March 194415 March 1944HMS Nairana
15 March 194417 March 1944RNAS Abbotsinch (HMS Sanderling), Renfrewshire, Scotland
17 March5 April 1944HMS Nairana
5 April 194410 April 1944RAF Gibraltar
10 April 194417 April 1944HMS Nairana
17 April 194413 May 1944RNAS Abbotsinch (HMS Sanderling), Renfrewshire, Scotland
13 May 19444 July 1944HMS Nairana
4 July 194413 August 1944RNAS Burscough (HMS Ringtail), Lancashire
13 August 194414 September 1944HMS Nairana
14 September 194414 October 1944RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron), Somerset
14 October 194429 October 1944HMS Nairana
29 October 19442 November 1944Murmansk, Russia
2 November 19449 November 1944HMS Nairana
9 November 194430 November 1944RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), Argyll, Scotland
30 November 194420 December 1944HMS Nairana
20 December 194427 December 1945RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
27 December 19445 January 1945HMS Nairana
5 January 194522 January 1945RNAS Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), Argyll, Scotland
22 January 194529 January 1945HMS Nairana
29 January 19455 February 1945RNAS Hatston (HMS Sparrowhawk), Orkney, Scotland
5 February 194528 February 1945HMS Nairana
28 February 194526 March 1945RNAS Hatston (HMS Sparrowhawk), Orkney, Scotland
26 March 194529 March 1945HMS Nairana
29 March 19451 April 1945RNAS Hatston (HMS Sparrowhawk), Orkney, Scotland

Commanding officers

Officers commanding 835 Naval Air Squadron FAA, data from[9][10][11]
17 February 194215 April 1942Lt/Cdr. M. Johnstone, DSC, RN
15 April 194228 June 1943Lt/Cdr. J.R. Lang, RN
28 June 1943December 1943Lt/Cdr. W.N. Waller, RN
December 19439 February 1944Lt/Cdr(A) T.T. Miller, RN
9 February 194413 August 1944Lt/Cdr. E.E. Barringer, RNVR
13 August 19449 January 1945Lt/Cdr(A) F.V. Jones, RNVR
9 January 194531 March 1945Lt/Cdr(A) J.R. Godley, RNVR

See also



  1. Barringer 1995, p. 186.
  2. Barringer 1995, pp. 3, 10–11.
  3. Barringer 1995, p. 13.
  4. Barringer 1995, p. 28.
  5. Barringer 1995, p. 44.
  6. Barringer 1995, p. 51.
  7. Swanson, Graham. "809 Naval Air Squadron and the late Sammy Mearns". fleetairarmoa.org. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  8. Barringer 1995, p. 177.
  9. "835 Squadron". fleetairarmarchive.net. Fleet Air Arm Archive. 2005. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  10. Barringer 1995, p. 181.
  11. Houterman, Hans; Jeroen Koppes. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers, 1939–1945". unithistories.com. World War II unit histories & officers. Retrieved 5 April 2011.


  • Barringer, E.E. "Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea" London: Leo Cooper, 1995. ISBN 0-85052-278-1.
  • Kilbracken, John. Bring Back My Stringbag: Swordfish Pilot at War, 1940–1945. London: Pen & Sword, 1996. ISBN 0-85052-495-4.
  • Sadler, George E. Swordfish Patrol. Wrexham, UK: Bridge Books, 1996. ISBN 1-872424-53-8.
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