777 Naval Air Squadron

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777 Naval Air Squadron
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchRoyal Navy Fleet Air Arm
RoleFleet Requirements Unit
Aircraft flown

777 Naval Air Squadron was a Fleet Requirements Unit which was formed in West Africa during the Second World War.[2]


The squadron was formed at RAF Hastings in Sierra Leone, West Africa on 1 August 1941. This airfield was located 8 miles (13 km) South East of the port city of Freetown, and was sited about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) North East of the village of Hastings.[2] The squadron initially operated only Fairey Swordfish and Blackburn Roc aircraft. However, by 1942 the squadron had acquired some Boulton Paul Defiant and Supermarine Walrus aircraft.[3] [4]

In March 1943, the control of the airfield was given over to the Admiralty and was given the name HMS Spurwing, but the airfield was also known as RNAS Hastings.[5]

Second World War[edit]

During 1943, 777 squadron was involved with the air defence of Sierra Leone, a task which they fulfilled for most of the year.[4]

Between 1942 and 1944, the squadron flew Walrus amphibious aircraft on search and rescue sorties as well as anti-submarine patrols.[6][7]

During the squadron’s existence, there were several accidents in April, June and October 1944, three Target Tug Boulton Paul Defiants belonging to the squadron were written off.[clarification needed] It seems that in all three of these incidents, there were no fatalities.[8][9][10]

However an accident involving Sub-Lieutenant D.R. Bentley, who was one of 777 pilots, on 9 June 1943 sadly claimed his life.[11]

777 Squadron disbanded on 25 December 1944.[4][5]

Post war[edit]

The squadron was reformed on 23 May 1945 from 'B' Flight 778 Naval Air Squadron as a trials unit for service aboard HMS Pretoria Castle using a variety of aircraft including Supermarine Seafire's and de Havilland Mosquito's.[1]

Aircraft operated[edit]

The squadron operated a variety of different aircraft and versions:[1]



  1. ^ a b c Sturtivant, Ballance 1994, p. 97.
  2. ^ a b Drury, Tony (2013). "Fleet Air Arm Bases 1939 to the present:RNAS Hastings". www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  3. ^ Dresner, Jim. "Corporal Timothy Joseph Mahoney RM". Biography. Flying Marines. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Wragg,David (2005). Stringbag: The Fairey Swordfish at War. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. p. 189.
  5. ^ a b Drury, Tony (2013). "Fleet Air Arm Bases 1939 to the present:RNAS Hastings". www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Naval Obituaries". Dennis Kirby - obituary. 16 February 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  7. ^ Murray, Cathy (2013). "I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety(Blog)". Norman Buckle's diary. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  8. ^ "ASN Aircraft Accident 21-APR-1944 Boulton Paul Defiant TT Mk I AA432". Aviation-Safety Network. 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  9. ^ "ASN Aircraft Accident 02-JUN-1944 Boulton Paul Defiant TT Mk I AA431". Aviation Safety Network. 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  10. ^ "ASN Aircraft Accident 11-OCT-1944 Boulton Paul Defiant TT Mk I DR 884". Aviation Safety Network. 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  11. ^ Kindell, Don. Gordon Smith (ed.). "Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies, World War 2 1st - 30th JUNE 1943". Retrieved 21 September 2015.