Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

835 Naval Air Squadron

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Country  United Kingdom
Type  Carrier based squadron
Branch  Royal Navy
Role  torpedo bomber
835 Naval Air Squadron
Active  17 February 1942 – 1 April 1945
Motto(s)  Latin: Semper miseri sumus (Translation: "We are always miserable")

835 Naval Air Squadron was a 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.



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. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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, with its fighter flight transferring to 821 Naval Air Squadron. Lieutenant-Commander Godley was transferred to command 714 Naval Air Squadron.


835 Naval Air Squadron Wikipedia