1945-46|| United Kingdom|
| Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm|
Fleet Requirements Unit
Boulton Paul Defiant
de Havilland Mosquito
777 Naval Air Squadron was a Fleet Requirements Unit which was formed in West Africa during the Second World War.
777 Naval Air Squadron Wikipedia
The squadron was formed at RAF Hastings in Sierra Leone, West Africa on the 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. 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.
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.
During 1943, 777 squadron was involved with the air defence of Sierra Leone, a task which they fulfilled for most of the year.
Between 1942 and 1944, the squadron flew Walrus amphibious aircraft on search and rescue sorties as well as anti-submarine patrols.
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. But thankfully, it seems that in all three of these incidents, there were no fatalities.
However an accident involving Sub-Lieutenant D.R. Bentley, who was one of 777 pilots, on 9 June 1943 sadly claimed his life.
777 Squadron disbanded on the 25 December 1944.
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.
The squadron operated a variety of different aircraft and versions:Blackburn Roc I
Fairey Swordfish I & II
Boulton Paul Defiant TT.1
Vought Kingfisher I
Fairey Firefly I
Vought Corsair III
Grumman Avenger I
Fairey Barracuda II
Grumman Hellcat I
Taylorcraft Auster I
de Havilland Mosquito FB.VI & B.25