united kingdom 820 squadron

Fleet Air Arm

820 NAS : 820 naval air squadron

1933 to present    


Tail Codes
A 1958/59
R 1959/60
E 1964/68
BL 1969/79
N 1980/85
820 squadron
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 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, embarking in Feb 1981. The Squadron was involved in intensive flying in the South Atlantic, operating briefly from San Carlos during Jun 1982 and returned to Culdrose on 18 Sep 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 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
1965-1966, I was a Steward with 849D Flight, Gannets HMS Eagle and witnessed the three incidents and attended the burial of the two brave men it was so sad and will always be with me I was only 17 at the time and this was my first commission v sad. I remember the sad incident very well as I was off duty and watching the flying when this happened. Especially the loss of life of the officers whom I must have served during my duties in the Ward Room. Imagine my shock when I saw it again the next day. At least this time there were no fatalities. I also remember the Scimitar incident. Stephen J Beck

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News about this Rotary Wing Unit :

Merlin First aircraft to Land on HMS Queen Elizabeth, 04-Jul-17 : A Merlin helicopter from 820 Naval Air Squadron has become the first aircraft to ever land on HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s biggest warship

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

    More News ...


1965/66SG SembawangWSAG
1964/nowRNAS CuldroseEGDR
1959/60RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1958/59SG SembawangWSAG
1958Eglinton / LondonderryEGAE
1958MT Hal Far
Models Login to Edit

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 / 820 Sq / 820NAS / 820 NAS Help Us

C/NVersionBuiltIn this OrgIn other Org
wa157 has7 1957 XK910 : 845Sq/A by Sep 1957 to Jan 1958; 820Sq/320/W by Jan 1958 to c Jun 1958; +
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+
wa206 has7 1958 XL844 : 820 Sq/295-R by Jan 1960 to Sep 1959; 737Sq/771 by Oct 1961; 771Sq/753-PO +
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+
Westland XM327 : HAS.1 Westland development & trials airframe from late 1959, conv HAS.3 be+
- XM327 : to College of Maritime Studies, Warsash by Dec 1982 still 1994; scr. 1996
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 +
Ministry of Defence (MoD) XM837 : spent winter of 1960/61 in Churchill, Canada with A&AEE for icing / cold w+
Westland 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
Royal Air Force 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+
Her Majesty's Government 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,
: Ditched in the gulf of mexico in 1978,engine failure whilst in the hover.w+
: 820Sq/413-BL by Jul 1979, 820Sq/360-N by Jul 1980
wa 642 has.1 1969 XV654 : Conv to HAS.5; 706Sq/588 by 1986; 820Sq/018-R by 1988 still May 1990; to A+
: 18-22mar88 type:HAS.5 820Sqn./R-018 embarked HMS Ark Royal R07.
Ministry of Defence (MoD) 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 665 has.1 1970 XV677 : HAS.1 820Sq /410-BL by Jan 1973, 814Sq /270-H by Mar 1974, NATIU trials a/+
- XV677 : The airframe is currently stored at HMS Sultan awaiting it's relocatio+
: 25/07/06 - Moved to AeroVenture, Doncaster, UK, home of South Yorkshire Ai+
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+
Vector Aerospace XV703 : Oct06 Vector Aerospace
wa 677 has.1 1971 XV706 : 28sep99 HAS.6 type as 820Sqn /L-011 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06.
- XV706 : 27apr17 on the back of a lorry at Exeter Motorway services
wa 682 has.1 1972 XV711 : 820Sq/011-N, Squadron visit to Yeovilton, 17 Jan 1985
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 875 has.5 1979 XZ915 : 07Jun80 noted RNAS Lee-on-Solent coded 015.N of 820 squadron HMS Invincibl+
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+
: 820Sq/020-N, Squadron visit to Yeovilton, 17 Jan 1985
Royal Australian Navy N16-918 : dd 25 Jun 1996 to RAN as N16-918. Purchased as replacement for N16-124 and+
: Nickname Desmond....(22)
: Jan 2011 HS817 / 922 took part in Operation QLD Flood Assist as Shark 22.
: 817 Sqn /Shark 22; wfu Sep11 7988 hours
: 15dec11 took part 817Sqn final Sea King flight formation
wa 880 has.5 1979 XZ920 : 28Oct82 noted RNAS Culdrose coded N.010 of 820 squadron, HMS Invincible; 1+
wa 881 has.5 1979 XZ921 : 28Oct82 noted RNAS Culdrose coded N.017 of 820Squadron, HMS Invincible; 26+
: 820Sq/017-N, Squadron visit to Yeovilton, 17 Jan 1985
- XZ921 : Airframe at Mini Moos farm Durham by Aug16
wa 887 has.5 1980 ZA126 : 820Sq/012-N, Squadron visit to Yeovilton, 17 Jan 1985
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
: Featured in Channel 4 Amazing Spaces TV programme (Series 6, Episode 6). +
wa 889 has.5 1980 ZA128 : 820Sq/014-N, Squadron visit to Yeovilton, 17 Jan 1985
: 28Sep99 820Sqn./010 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious R06.
wa 894 has.5 1981 ZA133 : RN HAS.5, f/f 03apr81, d/d 14may81; 826Sq/135 by Mar 1982; 824Sq B Flt Art+
: 28Sep99 type:HAS.6 820Sqn./L-013 embarked aboard HMS Illustrious (R06)
wa 899 has.5 1982 ZA166 : 17jan85 as 820Sq /010-N. Squadron visit to Yeovilton
HeliOperations ZA166 : HeliOps; VAHS Fleetlands for overhaul and repainting by Jun17 following le+
wa 902 has.5 1982 ZA169 : 820Sq/015-N by Dec 1982, 706Sq/587-R by Apr 1986 to c Dec 1988.
: 820Sq/015-N, Squadron visit to Yeovilton, 17 Jan 1985
: Conv HAS.6 at Fleetlands from Jan 1989, 820Sq/010 by Jan 1989, 820Sq/011 b+
wa 939 has.5 1984 ZD630 : 820Sq/013-N, Squadron visit to Yeovilton, 17 Jan 1985
: 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+
wa1000 has.6 1990 ZG819 : 820 Sq/018 (embarked RFA Olwen) by Mar 1993
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
QinetiQ ZH831 : Sep14, AEW prototype, fitted with dual Crowsnest ASaC sensors from the Loc+
50067 hm.1 ZH835 : aboard HMS Ocean with 820 NAS, during her Sep 2016 - Mar 2017 CTF-50 deplo+
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
50139 hm.1 ZH854 : 05mar17 asg 820 NAS aboard HMS Ocean when she visited Beirut
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 2002 ZH860 : conv HM.2 type MCSP27; Sep14 820Sq /(0)16
50171 hm.1 ZH862 : RN 50171/RN42; 2003 824Sqn ; 2004 820Sqn /CU-010
50175 hm.1 2002 ZH863 : 820Sq /11 aboard HMS Ocean during Navy Days 2009
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
69 serials found for . / 820Sq, 820 Sq, 820NAS, 820 NAS


22-sep-17oct-17AI Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria Relief Operations
20-sep-1624-mar-17 Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) 2016
17-oct-1406-apr-15SL Operation Gritrock
oct-06nov-06SL Operation Vela (Green Eagle)
15-jan-0328-may-03IQ Operation Telic
07-may-0015-jun-00SL Operation Palliser
27-sep-8804-oct-88AU Fleet Review: Australia Bi-centennial Naval Salute
02-apr-8217-jun-82 Operation Corporate
19-dec-8120-dec-81 Union Star and the Penlee Lifeboat tragedy
25-jun-7728-jun-77 Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen
28-jul-6928-jul-69 Fleet Review: Ships of the Western Fleet
15-jun-5315-jun-53 Fleet Review: Coronation Review of the Fleet

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