815 Squadron formed at RNAS Worthy Down
in October 1939, equipped with Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers. It led a major airborne torpedo strike against the Italian fleet at Taranto Harbour in 1940 and repeated the success at Matapan in 1941. It reformed in 1947 from 744 Squadron
and operated in the anti-submarine role. The Squadrons last fixed wing aircraft was the Gannet, disbanding at Culdrose in mid Jul 1958.
815 Squadron reformed at RNAS Eglinton
initially with 12 Whirlwind HAS.7 in Sep 1958 but after trouble
with the HAS.7 engines replaced them with HAR.3 from Jan 1959, until it was moved to Portland
, eventually disbanding in Aug 1959 to become 737 Squadron
. Reformed 8 Sep 1959 at Culdrose with Whirlwind HAS.7 as ASW unit. After a Far East tour on HMS Albion (R07), it disbanded again in Dec 1960.
On 4 Jul 1961, the Squadron recommissioned at RNAS Culdrose
as the first front line unit to equip with Wessex HAS.1s (after the success of 700(H) Squadron
) and after initialy difficulties with engines, participated in operations in East Africa and the Indonesian
coast. Embarked in HMS Ark Royal
from Nov 1961 to Dec 1963 (with a detachment to HMS Victorious
during Dec 1961) and during 1964 on HMS Centaur
, it provided support against disturbances in Aden
(with 45 Commando Royal Marines
from 24 May 1964 in the Radfan), and in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). After a final deployment with Wessex HAS.1 on HMS Ark Royal (between Jun 1965 and Sep 1966), the unit disbanded at Culdrose in Oct 1966.
A plan to reform the unit with Sea Kings was abandoned in favour of 826 Squadron
and it was almost 15 years before 815 Squadron re-commissioned at RNAS Yeovilton
in Jan 1981 with the Lynx
HAS.2, taking on the role as the headquarters and support Squadron for small ships Lynx Flights from 702 Squadron
. It moved to Portland
in Jul 1982 and during the 1980s was involved in the South Atlantic, the Armilla Patrol
and relief operations off Lebanon, Aden and the Carribean. As the Wasp
was being phased out service, some of the units Lynxes were transferred to 829 Squadron
, to share the load in Sep 1986 and again in Apr 1988. Support for Lynx Flights was conducted jointly with 829 Squadron but when the two units eventually amalgamated to save cost, 815 Squadron became the largest helicopter squadron in the World on 27 Mar 1993.
In the lead up to the absorption of 700(L) Squadron in Jul 1992, the Lynx HAS.3 had been introduced into service. This was followed in 1995 by the Lynx HMA.8 and after an absence of nearly 17 years, the unit moved back to RNAS Yeovilton
, with the closure of Portland in Mar 1999.
The unit made history in Nov 2012 when it deployed ex-HMS Liverpool
Lynx of 217 Flight, aboard the Marine Nationale FS Surcouf
, until Mar 2013. Signed Memorandum of Understanding with ROK Navy 627 Helicopter Squadron
aboard HMS Daring
on 19 Dec 2013.