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
Second-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, OTU = Operational Training Unit, IFT = Instrument Flying Training, RFT = Refresher Flying Training; aircraft type in brackets indicates the squadron re-equipped Post-War.

Training Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
702 IFT Oxford Harvard IIb NABTHORPE / NABSTOCK RNAS Schofields  
706 RFT Avenger, Barracuda, Corsair, Firefly, Hellcat, Seafire NABTHORPE, RNAS Schofields / NABSTOCK, RNAS Maryborough Lt. Cdr (A) R.E. Bradshaw DSC++ RN Mar 45
Lt. Cdr (A) D.M.R. Wynne-Roberts RN Aug 45
Lt. Cdr (A) CA Fraser RN Oct 45

Communication Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
724 Expeditor C.II NABBERLEY, RNAS Bankstown Lt. (A) J.H.L. Evans RNVR Apr 1945

Fleet Requirement Units

 
Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
721 Vengeance TT. IV, Corsair IV, Hellcat  II & Seafire XV NABARON, RNAS Ponam  / NABCATCHER, RNAS Kai Tak Lt. Cdr (A) F.A. Simpson RNVR Mar 45
Lt (A) J.L. Moore Mar 46
Lt (A) R.B. Head DSC+ Nov 1946
723 Martinet & Corsair NABBINGTON / NABSWICK, RNAS Nowra  Lt. Cdr (A) H. A. P. Bullivant RNVR Feb 45
Lt. (A) G.H. Horne RNVR Feb 46
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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