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848 Naval Air Squadron

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Country  United Kingdom
Part of  Fleet Air Arm
Branch  Royal Navy
848 Naval Air Squadron
Active  1 June 1943-45 1952-56 1958-63 1964-76 1982 1990-91 1995-2013 2015-2016
Type  Land based and amphibious squadron
Role  Commando Helicopter training

848 Naval Air Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. It operated the Westland Sea King HC.4 helicopter and previously provided advanced flying training to pilots for the other squadrons in the Commando Helicopter Force. The squadron was based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset and was decommissioned on 24 March 2016.


Second World War

The squadron was officially formed in June 1943 as a torpedo bomber, reconnaissance, Avenger squadron at Quonset Point Naval Air Station, and subsequently embarked on HMS Trumpeter in October 1943, for the UK.

Assigned to HMS Formidable between 1944 and 1945, 848 Squadron provided air support for the invasion of Okinawa (Operation Iceberg).

Whirlwind years

The squadron reformed at RNAS Gosport (HMS Siskin) on 29 October 1952 with American-built Westland Whirlwind HAS.21s for work in Malaya.

Wessex and Wasp years

848 reformed at RNAS Culdrose on 7 May 1964 with 18 Westland Wessexes. Between August 1967 and April 1973 these were joined by Westland Wasp HAS.1's.

During its 69-year history, 848 Squadron had been disbanded and reformed several times but had a more permanent standing, having been made the Commando Helicopter Training Squadron, based at RNAS Yeovilton.

Part of this Squadron was taken to form 847 NAS during Operation Corporate to retake the Falkland Islands 1982. The Squadron operated Westland Wessex HU.5 aircraft at this time.

Sea King years

The Squadron took the role from 707 NAS which was responsible for the training of aircrew and maintainers in the Commando role.

With a complement of one hundred ratings and thirty officers, the Squadron was responsible for the instruction of up to sixty pilots and aircrewmen each year. Operating the Westland Sea King HC.4, pilots undertook Advanced Flying Training - how to handle emergencies and how to fly with sole reference to instruments - before crewing up with the aircrewmen, taken from Royal Navy Ratings and Royal Marines, to learn how to operate the aircraft in a tactical environment during operational flying training.

The Squadron also trained more than one hundred and fifty helicopter maintainers annually before sending them to the front line. Aircrew and maintainers received military and amphibious training and were taught how to operate in the field and from the deck of a ship.

848 NAS disbanded in 2013. It reformed on 1 May 2015 as an operational Sea King HC.4 squadron; this was to allow 845 NAS to convert to the Merlin without a loss of operational capability.

It was decommissioned on 24 March 2016.

Aircraft operated

The squadron operated a variety of different aircraft and versions:

  • Grumman Avenger I & II
  • Fairey Swordfish I
  • Westland Whirlwind HAR.21, HAR.1, HAS.22 & HAS.7
  • Westland Wasp HAS.1
  • Westland Wessex HU.5
  • Westland Sea King HC.4
  • Affiliations

    The squadron had a number of affiliations:

  • The Pirate Trust
  • Downside School Combined Cadet Force (CCF)
  • Birmingham University Royal Naval Unit (URNU)
  • Crewkerne Branch of The Royal British Legion
  • References

    848 Naval Air Squadron Wikipedia

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