Latitude 42°17'47"N  Longitude 71°01'52"W

   
ACQUISITION U.S. Naval Air Station loaned to the Admiralty from September 1943

 

COMMISSIONED September 1943 on 'Books of Saker'

 

PAID OFF July1944

 

CLOSED July1944 facility returned to USN custody.
   
O.I.C. Not known.
   
FUNCTION Formation and work-up of Avenger Squadrons

 

 

ADDRESS R.N. Air Section

USNAS Squantum,

Quincy,

Massachusetts,

USA

 

LOCALITY

 

 

LANDMARKS  

 

ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS  

 

   
   
CONTROL  
ELEVATION  17' above M.S.L.

 

RUNWAYS Three, bituminous concrete


00/18 QDM. ---° ----° ....  900 x 50 yds. 

06/24 QDM. ---° ----° .... 1033 x 50 yds. 

14/38  QDM. ---° ----° .... 1366 x 50 yds. 

 

TRACKS Taxi tracks connect runways to maintenance areas.

 

OBSTRUCTIONS Navigation Not known.
Circuit Not known.
Approach Not known.
   
APPROACH Not known.

 

WIND INDICATOR Not known.
   
   
HOMING - VISUAL By day Not known.
By night Not known.

 

HOMING--RADIO D/F Not known.
Beacons Not known.

 

APPROACH - VISUAL By day Not known.
By night Not known.

 

APPROACH - RADIO Not known.
COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT M/F & H/F Not known.
VH/F Not known.

 

GROUND RADAR Not known.
 

 

   
ACCOMMODATION

Capacity:

Officers: Unknown.
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: Unknown.
W.R.N.S. Officers: None.
W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings; None.

 

ARMOURIES Not known.

 

COMPASS BASE Not known.

 

DISPERSAL Not known.

 

HANGARS Both Landplane & Seaplane Hangars

 

Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
Not known.      
       
MEDICAL USN facilities on site.

 

METEOROLOGICAL Not known.

 

FUEL AND OIL Aviation - Not known.
M/T - Not known.
Oil - Not known.
   
TEST BASE Not known.

 

TEST BUTT Not known.

 

WORKSHOPS Not known.

 

VISITORS Not known.

 

EXPLOSIVES Not known.

 

BOMBING AND FIRING RANGES Not known.

Air to air

 
Air to ground and R. p. Firing  
Live and practice bombing  
Practice bombing  

Assault training

 
   
 

 

 

List of first and second line squadrons, station flight and other flying units based at this location

 
848 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Moved here from USNAS Brunswick 31.07.43. Embarked in H.M.S. TRUMPETER 04.09.43.

Equipped with 12 Avenger 1s.


849 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Moved here from USNAS Quonset Point 24.08.43.  Moved to USNAS Norfolk 01.11.43 to embark in H.M.S. KHEDIVE.

Equipped with 12 Avenger 1s.
850 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.09.43  Departed 01.12.43 for RCAF Sea Island (for service in H.M.S. EMPRESS)

Equipped with 12 Avenger 1s.


851 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.10.43  Departed for embarkation in H.M.S. SHAH 02.01.44

Equipped with 12 Avenger 1s.


852 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.11.43  Departed for embarkation in H.M.S. NABOB 02.02.44

Equipped with 12 Avenger 1s.


853 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.12.43  Embarked in H.M.S. ARBITER 31.05.44

Equipped with 12 Avenger IIs.


854 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.01.44  Embarked in H.M.S. INDOMITABLE 10.04.44

Equipped with 12 Avenger IIs.


855 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.02.44   Moved to USNAS Norfolk 01.05.44 to embark in H.M.S. QUEEN.

Equipped with 12 Avenger IIs.


856 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.03.44   Embarked in H.M.S. SMITER 31.06.44.

Equipped with 12 Avenger IIs.


857 Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron

Formed here 01.04.44   Embarked in H.M.S. RAJAH 29.06.44.

Equipped with 12 Avenger IIs.


1820 Dive Bomber Squadron

Moved here from USNAS Brunswick 01.05.44. Moved to USNAS Norfolk 05.07.44 to embark in H.M.S. ARBITER.

Equipped with 9 x Helldiver.


 

 

Squantum was first used by the U.S. Navy in 1917 to train pilots, later it was established as the first Naval Reserve Air Base on August 13th 1923. In 1940, the Navy began improving the facility to handle larger landplanes & seaplanes; hangars & new facilities were built , including three asphalt runways, the longest being 1,366 x 50 yards and a large seaplane basin, hangar and apron. These improvements resulted in Squantum redesignated an active service Naval Air Station on March 5th 1941. NAS Squantum served as a maritime patrol and training base Navy squadrons VJ-4 and VS-1D1/VS-31 flew anti-submarine patrols over Massachusetts Bay and the Gulf of Maine using Grumman Duck, Consolidated PBY Catalina, Vought-Sikorsky Kingfisher, Douglas Dauntless, and Curtiss Helldiver. The base also provided Elimination & Primary flight training for Navy & Marine Corps student pilots, as well as advanced training for Royal Navy torpedo and dive-bomber squadrons, and U.S. Navy fighter, torpedo, and dive-bomber squadrons.

Fleet Air Arm squadrons first arrived on the station at the end of July 143, when No. 848 Avenger squadron arrived from USNAS Brunswick, this was followed on August 24th by 849 squadron which relocated its avengers from the RN Air Station at Quonset Point. The station facilities were transferred to the Royal Navy on loan from September 1st 1943 for use as a Torpedo, Bomber and Reconnaissance and Dive Bomber squadron formation and work-up station. The station was commissioned as part of H.M.S. SKAKER on September 1st, and 859 squadron became the first Avenger unit to form at Squantum. All Avenger squadrons were equipped with 12 aircraft, initially these were all Mk.1s.Work-up complete. 848 squadron flew out to embark in the CVE (escort aircraft carrier) H.M.S. TRUMPETER on the 4th. By October there were three new squadrons on the stations at a time, the next to form was 851 on October 1st, on November 1st 849 departed for USNAS Norfolk to embark in CVE H.M.S. KHEDIVE, their place being taken by 852 squadron which formed on the same day.

December 1st saw 850 Departed for RCAF Sea Island on the Canadian Pacific coast for service in the CVE H.M.S. EMPRESS, their place being taken by 853 squadron. On New Year's Day 1944 854 squadron formed, 851 embarked in the CVE H.M.S. SHAH the following day. The pattern of one squadron forming and one despatched each month continued through the first half of 1944, but the number on station increased to four from February when 855 formed on the 1st and 852 departed for embarkation in the CVE H.M.S. NABOB on the 2nd.

For unexplained reasons 853 did not depart to embark in a CVE at the start of March as planned, this increased the lumbers on the station to five squadrons (60 aircraft) when 856 formed on schedule on the 1st. Further strain was put on the organisation at the start of April; 857 formed as planned but 853 still had no carrier, and 854 would not depart for the Fleet carrier H.M.S. INDOMITABLE until April 10th. No. 857 squadron was the last Avenger unit to be formed at Squantum, there was to be one more squadron to arrive for work-up on May 1st, the RNs first Dive Bomber squadron. 1820 which had formed at Brunswick with 8 Curtis Helldivers a month earlier. 855 moved to USNAS Norfolk to embark in the CVE H.M.S. QUEEN on May 1st and 853 finally departed on the May 31st, when it embarked in the CVE H.M.S. ARBITER. The last two Avenger squadrons left at the end of June, 857 embarked in the CVE H.M.S. RAJAH on the 29th and embarked in the CVE H.M.S. SMITER on the 31st.

The last to leave was 1820 which moved to USNAS Norfolk on July 5th to embark in the CVE H.M.S. ARBITER. There is no record of any further use by the Fleet Air Arm and it is assumed the facility was returned to USN custody sometime in July 1944.

 


 

Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

Royal Navy Escort Carriers

http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/ESCORT/ Accessed 14/07/2014

 

www.airfieldsdatabase.com

www.airfieldsdatabase.com/ww2/WW2%20R27e%20ID-NH.htm Accessed 14/07/2014

 

www.anapatriotsquadron.com

http://www.anapatriotsquadron.com/squantum.htm Accessed 14/07/2014

 

www.history.navy.mil

http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/buildbaseswwii/bbwwii1.htm#page235 Accessed 14/07/2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


View Larger Map

 

 

US Naval Air Station Squantum in March 1943.

 

 

 

 

 © 2013 Tony Drury www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk


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