The British Pacific and East Indies Fleets

The forgotten fleets that fought the Japanese in the Pacific and Indian Oceans


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British Pacific Fleet
Front-line Air Squadrons

Links on this page take users to histories already covered in other areas of the Royal Navy Research Archive.

Commanding officers: Details are given for C.O.s covering the time attached to the Fleet, for others see the unit history.

Key to symbols & abbreviations: ‡ = Joined after August 15th 1945 or no active service, + = Bar award to medal. RNVR = Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, SANF(V) – South African Naval Force (Volunteer) RAN = Royal Australian Navy, RCN = Royal Canadian Navy, RNZN = Royal New Zealand Navy; aircraft type in brackets indicates the squadron re-equipped Post-War.

Fighter Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
801 Seafire L. III IMPLACABLE  
880 Seafire L. III IMPLACABLE  
887 Seafire L. III INDEFATIGABLE Lt. Cdr (A) A.J. Thomson DSC, RNVR Aug 44
Lt. Cdr N.G. Hallett DSC+ RN May 45
Lt. Cdr (A) G. Dennison RNVR Sep 45 /td>
885 Hellcat II/Avenger II RULER  
894 Seafire L. III INDEFATIGABLE  
899 Seafire L. III NABTHORPE, RNAS Schofields  
1770 Firefly I INDEFATIGABLE  
1771 Firefly I IMPLACABLE  
1772 Firefly I INDEFATIGABLE  
1790 Firefly NF.I NABTHORPE, RNAS Schofields  
1830 Corsair II ILLUSTRIOUS  
1831 Corsair IV GLORY  
1833 Corsair II ILLUSTRIOUS  
1834 Corsair II VICTORIOUS  
1835 Corsair II VICTORIOUS  
1839 Hellcat I & II INDOMITABLE  
1840 Hellcat II SPEAKER  
1841 Corsair IV FORMIDABLE  
1842 Corsair IV FORMIDABLE  
1843 Corsair IV ARBITER / NABBINGTON, RNAS Nowra  
1844 Hellcat I & II INDOMITABLE Lt. Cdr (A) T.W. Harrington, RN 15 Dec 43
 Lt. Cdr (A) M.S. 44
Lt. Cdr (A) P.J.P. Leckie, RN 12 May 45
1845 Corsair III & IV SLINGER / NABBINGTON, RNAS Nowra Lt. Cdr (A) D.G. Parker R.N.V.R Jun 44
 Lt. Cdr (A) R.J.H. Grose RNVR Jun 45
1846 Corsair IV COLOSSUS  
1850 Corsair IV VENGEANCE  
1851 Corsair IV VENERABLE  

Torpedo, Bomber, and Reconnaissance Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
812 Barracuda II (Firefly I) VENGEANCE  
814 Barracuda II (Firefly I) VENERABLE  
820 Avenger II INDEFATIGABLE
827 Barracuda II (Firefly I) COLOSSUS  
828 Avenger II IMPLACABLE  
837 Barracuda II (Firefly I) GLORY Lt. Cdr (A) RB Martin RNVR Aug 44 Lt. Cdr (A) W Siddall-Simpson RNVR Dec 45 Lt. Cdr (A) GH Bates RN Jan 46 Lt. Cdr (A) RH Hain RN Mar 47
848 Avenger II FORMIDABLE  
849 Avenger II VICTORIOUS  
854 Avenger I & II ILLUSTRIOUS / NABBINGTON, RNAS Nowra  
857 Avenger II INDOMITABLE  

Air Sea Rescue Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
1701 Sea Otter I  & Tiger moth NABCATCHER, RNAS Kai tak Lt. (A) L.F. Plant RNVR Feb 45
 Lt. (A) P.H. Woodham DSC RNVR Oct 45
1701 A Sea Otter I NABSTOCK, RNAS Maryborough  
1701 B Sea Otter I NABARON, RNAS Ponam  
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HM Ships COLOSSUS, GLORY, VENERABLE and VENGEANCE. GLORY did not arrive in Sydney until August 16th.

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At the end of June 1945, the Admiralty implemented a new system of classification for carrier air wings, adopting the American practice one carrier would embark a single Carrier Air Group (CAG) which would encompass all the ships squadrons.

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Sturtivant, R & Balance, T. (1994) 'Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm’ list 899 squadron as conducting DLT on the Escort Carrier ARBITER on August 15th. It is possible that the usual three-day evolution was cancelled due to the announcement of the Japanese surrender on this date and was postponed for a month.

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The reminiscences of

Gordon served with the radio section of Mobile Repair UNit No.1 (MR 1) at Nowra, he was a member of the local RN dance band, and possibly the last member of MONAB I to leave Nowra after it paid off. .

Drafted to

Coming home

In March 1946 I joined 812 squadron, aboard HMS Vengeance, spending some time ditching American aircraft north of Australia. Eventually we sailed for Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) landing at Trincomalee and setting up a radio section at Katakarunda. In the belief that we were exhausted we were sent to a rest camp at Kandy for a few weeks. We moved down to Colombo to pick up Vengeance and returned to Portsmouth via the Suez Canal . I was discharged in November 1946.

Gordon Theaker