When I started on this task of building one of everything 800 Naval Air Squadron had flown, I naturally started from the date of the formation of the squadron in 1933. At the time 800 NAS was equipped with a mix of Hawker Nimrods and Hawker Ospreys.
But then my curiosity was ignited – what did they fly before that. I mean, the squadron wasn’t formed out of thin air. Oh, no. It was formed by the amalgamation of 402 and 404 (Fleet Fighter) Flights of the RAF. And what did they fly? The Fairey Flycatcher.
402 and 404 Flights were formed in April 1923, and a year later formally transferred to the control of the Fleet Air Arm. Fleet Flights were an odd mix of fighters, torpedo bombers, spotters and all sorts, some operating from aircraft carriers, some from battleships and cruisers using catapults for takeoff and equipped with floats for landing on the sea. They maintained a mixture of Royal Navy and RAF crews on ships well into the late 1930s.
402 Flight served on HMS Eagle in the Mediterranean, being also seen at RAF Hal Far in Malta between cruises. 404 Flight mainly served aboard HMS Courageous.
So, that is two more kits to add to the list – what happened before 800 NAS…
UPDATE: 404 Flt also operated the Parnell Plover for a brief time, assessing it against the Flycatcher. The latter won. But it is another kit to find……….