RNAS Hatston....

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Aug 21, 2006
In my castle....
30 November 1939 804 NAS formed at RNAS Hatston (CO Capt. R.T. Partridge RM) Based around four Sea Gladiators formerly of 769 Squadron, it used these obsolete (I bow to reader pressure... not elderly) fighters to counter enemy air activity over Home Fleet anchorage at Scapa Flow.


Pictured, in the cockpit, S.Lt J.W. Sleigh, in front, S.Lt. Balme, S.Lt. B Paterson & S.Lt. NH Patterson of 804 NAS at RNAS Hatston

In April 1940 804 embarked in HMS Glorious, to provide air cover for the ferrying of 263(F) Sqn RAF to Norway after the Germans invaded. Transferred to HMS Furious in May, the naval squadron escaped the loss of the former carrier sinking. It was recognised as one of two Naval Air Squadrons to play a part in the Battle of Britain.

Requipped with Grumman F4F Martlets in October it was based in the Orkneys and in December shot down an enemy Ju88 off Scarpa Flow... the first victory in Europe by any F4F. The following year it was re-equipped again with Fulmars and Sea Hurricanes.

In April 1941 804 was assigned to catapult-armed ships, and in August CO Lt Cdr Rob Everett shot down a Fw200 Condor... the first CAM -ship victory. They saw further action in Gibraltar convoys, the Torch Landings in North Africa, and attacks on Tirpitz.

Briefly absorbed into 800NAS, 804 reformed three months later in Sept 1944 with Grumman Hellcats and embarked in HMS Ameer for operations in the Far East until the end of WWII.

804 saw action off Korea in HMS Glory and, swapped its Sea Furies for various marks of Sea Hawk in 1952. and Winkle Brown took over command in November 1953. Recommissioned with Scimitar F1s in March 1960 they embarked in HMS Hermes, but were decommissioned 18 months later.

In their final year the squadron participated in both the Farnborough and Paris Air Shows... operating from the deck of the carrier rather than a shore base.


Bristol Beaufort torpedo bombers being loaded with dummy torpedoes for training at Hatston during the Second World War. IWM (A 9382)


A British Naval officer is shown over a new American Vought SB2U Vindicator scout bomber while in the background one of the same aircraft being repaired by US mechanics, April 1942. IWM (A 9367)


An Amercian Curtis SOC-3 Seagull leaving its hangar, watched by US and British sailors at Hatston during the Second World War. IWM (A 9363)


Supermarine Walrus seaplanes at Hatston, March 1942. IWM (A 9039)


A Fairey Swordfish being brought into its hangar at Hatston, March 1942. IWM (A 9040)


Fairey Swordfish aircraft taxiing along the tarmac to take off for an exercise with dummy torpedoes, March 1942. IWM (A 9015)


In the foreground with wings folded are US Devastator torpedo bombers, just landing is a Vought SB2U Vindicator scout bomber, April 1942. IWM (A 9374)


Fairey Swordfish lined up on the tarmac at Hatston being loaded with dummy torpedoes, March 1942. IWM (A 9055)


Source: Hatston (Kirkwall) - Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust UK


Fleet Air Arm pilots and a Gloster Gladiator at HMS SPARROWHAWK, the Royal Naval Air Station at Hatston on Orkney, April 1942. With a chart spread on the wing of a Gloster Gladiator, the Commanding Officer of the squadron gives pilots of Blackburn Skuas and Rocs their instructions before taking off from HMS SPARROWHAWK, the Royal Naval Air Station at Hatston, Orkney. The radio operator (rating with headphone on sitting in cockpit) is receiving last minute messages.


USN Douglas TBD Devastator at RNAS Hatston Island of Mainland Orkney, Scotland April, 1942. IWM A9378



Grumman Avengers of 846 Squadron returning to RNAS Hatston from anti-submarine patrol over the North Atlantic, 1944.

Source: www.orkneylibrary.org.uk

Kit in the future:


Sea Gladiator of 804 Sqn., RNAS Hatston, Orkney, October 1940
Sea Gladiator of 804 Sqn., HMS Furious, May 1940
Sea Gladiator of 813 Sqn., HMS Eagle, Summer 1940
Sea Gladiator Hal Far airfield, Malta 1940

To be continued (I hope!)....

F4F of VF-41, April 1942 Royal Naval Air Station Hatston....


USN VS 72 Vought SB2U Vindicator at RNAS Hatston Island of Mainland Orkney, Scotland, April, 1942. IWM A9376


Two U.S. Navy Douglas TBD-1 Devastator from Torpedo Squadron VT-7 before taking off from the Royal Naval Air Station
Hatston, circa in April 1942. VT-7 was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) which had landed its torpedo
planes and dive bombers at Hatston while making two runs to ferry RAF Supermarine Spitfire fighters to Malta.


American ground crew load ammunition belts into a Devastator dive bomber at Hatston....


A German Junkers JU88 shot down in Sandwick, 25th of December 1940 while on a reconnaisance mission.

Source: World War II – Defending Scapa Flow


USN VS 72 Vought SB2U Vindicator at RNAS Hatston Island of Mainland Orkney, Scotland, April, 1942. IWM A9379

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