## 820 squadron

### Fleet Air Arm

**820 NAS**:

## 1933 to present

**Helicopters**

Originally formed from 450 Flight in Apr 1933 as a Fleet Spotter unit but it became an Anti-Submarine unit during WWII when it served with distinction, disbanding in Mar 1946. Further commissions came and went and it disbanded once again in Dec 1957, bringing its history as a fixed-wing unit to a close.

820 Squadron was the second anti-submarine helicopter unit to form in Jan 1958 with the Whirlwind HAS.7 at RNAS Eglinton. The first HAS.7s experienced a series of engine problems and whilst in the Far East, engines were swapped over. The unit disbanded at Sembawang on 8 May 1959, when the HAS.7 was grounded. Once HAS.7 operations were resumed, it reformed in the UK at RNAS Culdrose in Nov 1959, still with Whirwind HAS.7s, where it disbanded again in Oct 1960. It re-emerged with Wessex HAS.1 at Culdrose in Sep 1964 and deployed in Dec 1964 to the Far East via the Indian Ocean on HMS Eagle (R05), finally returning in Jun 1968.

During May 1969, the Wessex HAS.1 was phased out for 4 of the more capable Wessex HAS.3, which deployed with HMS Blake (C99) and the occasional Fleet Tanker auxiliary over the next few years. In Dec 1972, the Sea King HAS.1 replaced the Wessex in the anti-submarine role and spent Sep 1974 to Jun 1975 embarked on HMS Blake. These in turn were updated by the Sea King HAS.2 in Jan 1977 and the short-lived HAS.2A in Jan 1979, prior to transferring to HMS Hermes (R12) in Jan 1980.

It disembarked from HMS Hermes (R12) to RNAS Culdrose in Mar 1980 and replaced the HAS.2As with the Sea King HAS.5 in Nov 1980 in time to work up with HMS Invincible (R05), embarking in Feb 1981. The Squadron was involved in intensive flying in the South Atlantic, operating briefly from San Carlos during Jun 1982. After a brief Far East tour, the unit returned to the UK in Mar 1984 when HMS Invincible developed mechanical difficulties.

Further deployments followed, including the transfer to HMS Ark Royal (R07) during early 1986 for later deployments to the Far East and Australia. On 10 Jan 1991, it embarked HMS Ark Royal with 10 Sea Kings to patrol the Mediterranean gateway to the Suez Canal during the Gulf War. The unit was a key player during 1993 in the NATO intervention in Bosnia and then transferred to HMS Illustrious (R06) in Autumn 1994, followed by service in the Gulf during late 1998. The Merlin HM.1 was cautiously introduced as a single Flight from Sep 2001 and dual operation with the Sea King HAS.6 continued until Mar 2003 when the Sea King was finally retired after recovering embarked flights (such as RFA Fort Austin), leaving 820 Squadron to become a Merlin only unit, officially from Sep 2003.

During the 2014

*Ebola*virus outbreak in West Africa, embarked 3 Merlin HM.2 in Oct, on RFA Argus and departed Falmouth for Sierra Leone. The three disembarked from RFA Argus in Mounts Bay for RNAS Culdrose, on 6 Apr 2015. I was the L.A.M A/E looking after Wessex 64 XS126.I had many trips ashore to the RAF base in Aden in her.I left the Eagle just after the Beira patrol to fly home to the UK.Sad to see how 64 ended up I hope she was fixed up and flew again. Many happy memories of 820 and many happy memories of those runs ashore especially fabulous Hong Kong. Alf

News about this Rotary Wing Unit : | ||

Royal Navy Merlin HM.2 First Gulf Deployment, 02-Dec-15 : Royal Navy Merlin Mk2 helicopter in first Middle East deployment aboard HMS St Albans type 23 frigate |

Royal Navy Merlin Deliver Aid in Fight Against Ebola, 26-Nov-14 : Royal Navy Merlin helicopters based aboard RFA Argus in Freetown Sierra Leone deliver aid under UN World Food Programme in the ongoing international effort against Ebola |

Royal Navy Merlin Mk2 in Exercise Deep Blue, 16-Jun-14 : Exercise Deep Blue is a high tempo, multi-aircraft exercise, putting the Merlin Mk2 through its paces operating from sea and conducting anti-submarine warfare. |

Locations | ||

Years | Location | ICAO/FAA |

1965/66 | Sembawang | WSAG |

1964/now | RNAS Culdrose | EGDR |

1959/60 | RNAS Culdrose | EGDR |

1958/59 | Sembawang | WSAG |

1958 | Eglinton / Londonderry | EGAE |

1958 | Hal Far |

Models | Login to Edit | |

Years | Models |

2013/now | eh.101 Merlin HM.2 |

2003/13 | eh.101 Merlin HM.1 |

1989/03 | sea king Sea King HAS.6 |

1980/90 | sea king Sea King HAS.5 |

1977/80 | sea king Sea King HAS.2 |

1972/77 | sea king Sea King HAS.1 |

1969/72 | wessex Wessex HAS.3 |

1964/69 | wessex Wessex HAS.1 |

1957/60 | whirlwind Whirlwind HAS.7 |

Construction Numbers for 820Sq | Help Us | |

C/N | Version | Built | In this Org | In other Org | |||

wa157 | has7 | 1957 | XK910 : 845Sq/A by Sep 1957 to Jan 1958, 820Sq/320/W by Jan 1958 to c Jun 1958, Ha+ | ||||

wa163 | has7 | 1957 | XK936 : dd 1 Aug 1957 RNAS Lee-on-Solent; 845Sq by Sep 1957 until Jan 1958; RNAS L+ | - XK936 : transferred to IWM in Oct 1975. Still present 2011. | |||

wa197 | has7 | 1957 | XL835 : 820Sq/294 by Dec 1959; 705Sq/520 by Nov 1960 until Jan 1962; Brawdy SAR Fl+ | ||||

wa208 | has7 | 1958 | XL846 : 820Sq/291/X by Jan 1960; 705Sq/530 by Oct 1960 until Nov 1962; Brawdy SAR + | ||||

wa 8 | has.1 | 1959 | XM327 : HAS.3 819 Sq/531 by May 1968; 820Sq/411-BL by Feb 1972 still Jun 1972; 73+ | XM327 : HAS.1 Westland development & trials airframe from late 1959, conv HAS.3 be+ | |||

wa 14 | has.1 | 1960 | XM833 : 814Sq/272-V by Jul 1968, 814Sq/272-H by 1969, 820Sq/412-BL by May 1969 sti+ | ||||

wa 18 | has.1 | 1961 | XM837 : Now HAS.3, 814Sq/271-V by Oct 1967, 814Sq/271-H by May 1968, 820Sq/411-BL + | XM837 : spent winter of 1960/61 in Churchill, Canada with A&AEE for icing / cold w+ XM837 : Westland trials and evaluation airframe until very early in 1966, when it + | |||

wa 19 | has.1 | 1961 | XM838 : 737 Sq/520-PO by Sep 1968 still 1969. 820Sq/412-BL by Aug 1971 still Jun 1+ | ||||

wa 25 | has.1 | 1961 | XM844 : to Westland for HAS.3 conversion 1965 completed by 1967. 737Sq/535-PO by + | ||||

wa 30 | has.1 | 1961 | XM871 : As HAS.3, 820Sq/410-BL by Aug 1971 until at least Sep 1972, Engadine Flt/4+ | ||||

wa 55 | has.1 | 1962 | XP104 : 820Sq/412-BL by Apr 1969, 820Sq/410-BL by Sep 1969 still Aug 1971, w/o 6 J+ | ||||

wa 92 | has.1 | 1962 | XP159 : 820Sq/297-E by Nov 1964, 814Sq/341-V by Apr 1965, 814Sq/270-V by Jul 1966,+ | - XP159 : to Electrical Research Association, Leatherhead by Jun 1979 to Jun 1983 XP159 : to 8877M at RAF Odiham by May 1986, privately owned Brands Hatch, scrapped+ | |||

wa 99 | has.1 | 1963 | XS120 : 1965/67 pictured as /66-E with 820Squadron | ||||

wa100 | has.1 | 1963 | XS121 : HAS.1 A&AEE by Aug 1964, 820Sq/295-E by Nov 1964, ditched in Malacca Strai+ | ||||

wa101 | has.1 | 1963 | XS122 : 820Sq/290-E by Jul 1965, 820Sq/060-E by 1966, to Yeovil for conv to HAS.3 + | ||||

wa102 | has.1 | 1963 | XS123 : 820Sq Wessex HAS.1 as /291-E ditched and sank in the Malacca Strait, whil+ | ||||

wa103 | has.1 | 1963 | XS124 : Jan65 pictured as 820Squadron /297-E after disembarked in Sembewang during+ | ||||

wa104 | has.1 | 1963 | XS125 : Dec64 as 820Squadron /293-E departed on HMS Eagle tour to the far east | ||||

wa105 | has.1 | 1963 | XS126 : 820Sq/294-E by Nov 1964, 815Sq/056 by Aug 1966, to Yeovil for conv to HAS.+ | ||||

wa249 | has.1 | 1965 | XS869 : 1967 820Sqn /64 FAA aboard HMS Eagle (R05) ditched into sea, recovered to + : 17aug67 pictured as 820Sqn /064-E being recovered onto HMS Eagle after dit + | ||||

wa252 | has.1 | 1965 | XS872 : Sembawang store by Feb 1966; 820Sq/061-E by Nov 1967; 706Sq/572-CU by Sep + | ||||

wa 631 | has.1 | 1969 | XV643 : HAS.1 f/f 10jun69, d/d 29oct73;
conv to HAS.2A; then to HAS.5; and finall+ : HAS.5, 820Sq/015-R by Jun 1986, 820Sq/009-R by 1988, 814Sq/265-N by May 19 + | XV643 : f/f 10 Jun 1969, HAS.1 A&AEE Boscombe Down by Aug 1969 : G.I. BDRF DARA St. Athan /262 by Aug 2002 still 2003 still Jan 2005, BDRF/ + | |||

wa 635 | has.1 | 1969 | XV647 : Converted to HAS.2A from mid 1976, 820Sq/412-BL by Apr 1977, : 820Sq/413-BL by Jul 1979, 820Sq/360-N by Jul 1980 | ||||

wa 642 | has.1 | 1969 | XV654 : f/f 9 Dec 1969; d/d 5 Jan 1970 as HAS.1;
824Sq/050-R Feb 1970 until c Ju+ : 18-22mar88 type:HAS.5 820Sqn./R-018 embarked HMS Ark Royal R07. | XV654 : MoD; 08jun91 type:HAS.6 NARO./R-018 ex 820Sqn. | |||

wa 646 | has.1 | 1970 | XV658 : Conv to HAS.5. 706Sq/596 by Sep 1982, 820Sq/016-N by Dec 1982. Ditched in + | ||||

wa 651 | has.1 | 1970 | XV663 : 08jun91 HAS.6 type as NARO /R-015 ex 820Sqn. | ||||

wa 653 | has.1 | 1970 | XV665 : f/f 17 Jun 1970, d/d 2 Jul 1970 to RN as HAS.1 826Sq/143-E by 1971; Conv t+ | ||||

wa 657 | has.1 | 1970 | XV669 : HAS.1 706 Sq/597-CU Nov 1970; 820Sq/410-BL by Jul 1973, ditched off Portla+ | ||||

wa 662 | has.1 | 1970 | XV674 : conv to HAS.6 type; 2000 820Sqn /L-015; 2001 still : 820Sq/015-L by 2003; To HMS Sultan /015 by Mar 2005; sold to RAN Nov 200 + | ||||

wa 667 | has.1 | 1971 | XV696 : HAS.1 820Sq/411-BL by Dec 1972 still Sep 1973 still Feb 1977 | ||||

wa 671 | has.1 | 1971 | XV700 : 18-22mar88 type:HAS.5 820Sqn./R-011 embarked HMS Ark Royal R07. | ||||

wa 674 | has.1 | 1971 | XV703 : RN HAS.1 f/f 14jun71, d/d 03aug71; 1976 824Sq/050-R recovered the rotorles+ | XV703 : Oct06 Vector Aerospace | |||

wa 677 | has.1 | 1971 | XV706 : 28sep99 HAS.6 type as 820Sqn /L-011 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06. | ||||

wa 839 | has.2 | 1976 | XZ571 : 28Sep99 820Sqn./L-016 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious (R06) : 2000 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-016; 2001 still : Conv. to HAS.6 820Sq/016-L by 2003; stored HMS Sultan by Dec 2004; Sold t + | ||||

wa 841 | has.2 | 1976 | XZ573 : conv to HAS.5 from Jun 1980; 706Sq/593-CU by Jan 1981; 820Sq/22 Apr 1982; + | ||||

wa 842 | has.2 | 1976 | XZ574 : HAS.6 to 820Sq/015-L by Jan 1999, 810Sq/512 by Oct 2000, 771Sq/829-CU by 2+ : RN; 1998 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-015 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06. : 28Sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-015 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06. | ||||

wa 877 | has.5 | 1979 | XZ917 : 06Mar81 coded N.016 of 820Squadron, HMS Invincible collided with XZ915 whi+ | ||||

wa 878 | has.5 | 1979 | XZ918 : ff 3 Apr 1979, dd 6 Jun 1979, HAS.5 820Sq/020-N by Jan 1985, ditched in Me+ : 28Oct82 noted RNAS Culdrose as N.020 of 820Squadron, HMS Invincible; 07Jun + | N16-918 : dd 25 Jun 1996 to RAN as N16-918. Purchased as replacement for N16-124 and+ : Nickname Desmond....(22) : 817 Sqn /Shark 22; wfu Sep11 7988 hours : 15dec11 took part 817Sqn final Sea King flight formation | |||

wa 881 | has.5 | 1979 | XZ921 : 28Oct82 noted RNAS Culdrose coded N.017 of 820Squadron, HMS Invincible; 26+ | - XZ921 : Airframe at Mini Moos farm Durham by Aug16 | |||

wa 888 | has.5 | 1980 | ZA127 : 820Sq/361-N by Dec 1980, 820Sq/011-N by Feb 1982, 810Sq/511 by 1986, 810Sq+ | - ZA127 : 12may16 in a campsite in Thornhill, Scotland | |||

wa 889 | has.5 | 1980 | ZA128 : 28Sep99 820Sqn./010 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06. | ||||

wa 894 | has.5 | 1981 | ZA133 : RN HAS.5, f/f 03apr81, d/d 14may81; 824Sq B Flt Arthur SeaSearcher trials + : 28Sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-013 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious (R06) | ||||

wa 902 | has.5 | 1982 | ZA169 : 820Sq/015-N by Dec 1982, 706Sq/587-R by Apr 1986 to c Dec 1988. : Conv HAS.6 at Fleetlands from Jan 1989, 820Sq/010 by Jan 1989, 820Sq/011 b + | ||||

wa 939 | has.5 | 1984 | ZD630 : 28sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./012 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06. : 2001 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./N-012 | ||||

wa 940 | has.5 | 1984 | ZD631 : 18-22mar88 type:HAS.5 820Sqn./R-019 embarked HMS Ark Royal R07. | ||||

wa 942 | has.5 | 1984 | ZD633 : 28Sep99 HAS.6 type 820Sqn /L-014 aboard HMS Illustrious (R06) at Amsterda+ | ||||

50037 | hm.1 | ZH827 : conv to HM.2 type MCSP20; Jul14 820Sq (0)15 | |||||

50040 | hm.1 | 1998 | ZH828 : RN from 1999 50040/RN08 in 2004 /CU-013 820Sqn. ; 2006 /CU-013 820Sqn. ; O+ | ||||

50053 | hm.1 | 1999 | ZH831 : RN 50053/RN11; ff 04 Feb 1999; dd 11 Mar 1999, to CU; 700Sq(M)Sq /541 by+ : 2007 820Sqn /14 ; 2008 814Sqn /14 ; 2009 814Sqn /11 | ZH831 : Sep14, AEW prototype, fitted with dual Crowsnest ASaC sensors from the Loc+ | |||

50085 | hm.1 | 1999 | ZH840 : conv HM.2 type MCSP19;
Aug14 820Sq /(0)14 | ||||

50087 | hm.1 | 1999 | ZH841 : RN 50087/RN21; 824Sqn; 2004 820Sqn /CU-012; 2011 829Sqn /502 | ||||

50116 | hm.1 | 2000 | ZH848 : 50116/RN28 820Sqn ; 2004 824Sqn /LA-457 | ||||

50125 | hm.1 | 2000 | ZH850 : 50125/RN30 d/d 09apr01; 814 Sq/266-R by Sep 2001 still Sep 2002; 824Sq W+ : 17oct14 820Sqn /80 embarked RFA Argus for Sierra Leone | ||||

50127 | hm.1 | ZH851 : 50127/RN31; 19jul11 pictured as /13 of 820Sqn at RNAS Culdrose | |||||

50147 | hm.1 | 2001 | ZH856 : conv HM.2 type MCSP16; Feb14 820Sq /(0)13 : 17oct14 820Sqn embarked RFA Argus for Sierra Leone. Disembarked for RNAS C + | ||||

50164 | hm.1 | ZH860 : conv HM.2 type MCSP27;
Sep14 820Sq /(0)16 | |||||

50171 | hm.1 | ZH862 : RN 50171/RN42; 2003 824Sqn ; 2004 820Sqn /CU-010 | |||||

50179 | hm.1 | 2002 | ZH864 : RN 50179/RN44 d/d 05 Dec 2002 Final RN airframe from first HM.1 batch. 82+ : 2003 824Sqn.; 2004 820Sqn./CU-011 : 19jul11 pictured (pic1) as 820Sqn /17 being towed at RNAS Culdrose : May12 as 820Sqd /17 at RNAS Yeovilton : conv HM.2 type MCSP14; Sep14 820Sq /(0)12 : 820Sq /17 Sep 2014 visited Gibraltar while operating from RFA Wave Knight. : 17oct14 820Sqn embarked RFA Argus for Sierra Leone |

**820Sq**

Operations | ||

Dates | Operation | |

17-oct-14 | 06-apr-15 | Operation Gritrock |

oct-06 | nov-06 | Operation Vela (Green Eagle) |

15-jan-03 | 28-may-03 | Operation Telic |

07-may-00 | 15-jun-00 | Operation Palliser |

27-sep-88 | 04-oct-88 | Fleet Review: Australia Bi-centennial Naval Salute |

02-apr-82 | 17-jun-82 | Operation Corporate |

19-dec-81 | 20-dec-81 | Union Star and the Penlee Lifeboat tragedy |

25-jun-77 | 28-jun-77 | Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen |

28-jul-69 | 28-jul-69 | Fleet Review: Ships of the Western Fleet |

15-jun-53 | 15-jun-53 | Fleet Review: Coronation Review of the Fleet |