united kingdom 701 Squadron

Fleet Air Arm

701 NAS : 701 Naval Air Squadron

1957 to 1958    

701 (Catapult) Flight formed in Jul 1936 at Kalafrana in Malta. After service in WWII when it disbanded at Beirut in Aug 1943, it reformed in Apr 1945 as a communications unit at the old Fairey works at Heath Row - later to become famous as London Heathrow (EGLL/LHR).
It reformed on 31 Oct 1957 at RNAS Lee-on-Solent for Ships Flights, Trials, Fleet Requirements, SAR and Communications duties in the Portsmouth area. It parented at least 6 Ships units: A Flight on HMS Eagle, B Flight on HMS Ark Royal, C Flight on HMS Victorious from Nov 1957, then HMS Albion (R07) from Jul 1958, D Flight on HMS Bulwark, P Flight on HMS Protector and V Flight on HMS Vidal.

During its short rotary wing career, 701 Squadron produced a number of firsts: it towed the minesweeper HMS Burnaston (M1116) with its Whirlwind winch gear and also towed a glider aloft. It disbanded on 23 Sep 1958, dispersing its airframes directly to the respective Ships Flights.

I joined 701 Squadron summer of 1956 we had 2 Hillers, approx 8 Whirlwinds and about the same Dragonflys. The Duke of Edinburgh Whirlwind was based in the 701 hanger painted navy blue, the number was 528. The rescue net was invented by one of our pilots and tested using volonteers as bait getting picked up and flown back to the hardstanding. I moved from Lee to the Dragonfly SAR flight at Brawdy 1957

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1958 Whirlwind     Whirlwind HAR.1
1957/58 Whirlwind     Whirlwind HAR.3
1957/58 dragonfly     Dragonfly HR.5
1957/58 S-55 H-19     Whirlwind HAS.22
1957/58 Whirlwind     Whirlwind HAS.7

List of aircraft

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C/NVersionBuiltIn this OrgIn other Org
wa/h/039 hr.3 1952 WG669 : 701Sq/719 by Jan 1958; 705Sq/530 by Oct 1958, crashed Predannack 9 Jun 196+
wa/h/041 hr.3 1952 WG671 : to Lee Aug 1957 for conv to HR.5; 701 Sq/720 by Nov 1957; 705Sq/531 by Oct+
wa/h/086 hr.3 1953 WP501 : 701 Sq V Flt/705 on HMS Vidal by Feb 1958, ditched on take-off from HMS Vi+
wa 1 har.1 1952 XA862 : f/f 12nov52 as Srs.1 G-AMJT; f/f 01aug53 as HAR.1; 705Sq Oct 1954; 705Sq/7+
wa 6 har.1 1954 XA866 : to Gosport Aug 1954, to Sembawang for RN and RAF hot weather trials (both +
- XA866 : Sold to The Donington Collection in 1973, still there by 1979. Scrapped 19+
wa 16 har.1 1954 XA870 : 701 Sq Protector Flt / 911 by Oct 1955, recoded /991 c Sep 1956 to c May 1+
Flambards Experience XA870 : to Cornwall Aero Park by 1976, then as Flambards Experience until Nov 2002
wa 63 har3 1955 XJ399 : 701 Sq P (HMS Protector) Flt by Sep 1955, until c mid Oct 1955; HMS Eagle +
wa 66 har3 1955 XJ402 : 701 Sq/723 by Jun 1958; 771Sq/751-PO Jul 1961 still by Sep 1963; 705Sq/528+
Westland XJ402 : Trials at Yeovil until Apr 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.

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