The British Pacific and East Indies Fleets

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


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East Indies 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, DLT = Deck Landing Training; aircraft type in brackets indicates the squadron re-equipped Post-War.

Training Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
729 IFT Harvard III Oxford I Sea Otter COIMBATORE / TAMBARAM / PUTTALAM / KATUKURUNDA Lt. Cdr (A) H.R. Law RNVR Jan 45
Lt (A) A.H. Bender RNVR Nov 45
756 DLT Barracuda II 7 III Hellcat I Avenger I & II Swordfish II KATUKURUNDA  
757 OTU Seafire Hellcat Wildcat Corsair Barracuda Harvard Walrus PUTTALAM / TAMBARAM / KATUKURUNDA  

Communication Squadrons

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
742 Beech AT 7 Expeditor C.II Swordfish Reliant COIMBATORE / SULUR / COLOMBO / KATUKURUNDA  
755 Expeditor C.II COLOMBO  

Fleet Requirement Units

Number Aircraft Carrier / RNAS Commanding Officer
722 Martinet TT. I Reliant Walrus Swordfish Wildcat TAMBARAM Lt. Cdr (A) A.F.E. Payen RNVR Sep 44
Lt. Cdr (A) K.C. Johnson SANF(V) Oct 44
Lt. Cdr (A) L.G. Morris RN Mar 45
726 Beaufighter, Defiant, Fulmar, Harvard, Kingfisher, Martinet, Swordfish DURBAN  
797 Martinet TT. I Beaufighter II Mosquito B.25 COLOMBO  
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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