Formed at North Front, Gibraltar on?1 May 1943 with fixed wing target tugs and moved around bases of the Mediterranean rim during WWII. Mosquitos were issued towards the end of 1945 and the Squadron also assumed the radar calibration duties from 255 Squadron, RAF. After 4 months at RAF Luqa, the unit moved to Hal Far (HMS Falcon) on 5 May 1946. From Dec 1952 the Squadron operated helicopters alongside its fixed wing types, when the first Dragonfly HR.3s arrived. Whirlwind HAR.3 operated between Jun 1957 and Nov 1958, and until Mar 1963 these were known as 728B (SAR) Flight. This was followed by the departure of the Dragonfly in Oct 1959 and the Whirlwind HAS.22 came into use between Mar 1963 and Aug 1965. 728 Squadron was disbanded at Hal Far on 31 May 1967, when it handed back its last Meteors.
There was a separate 728 B Squadron, formed at Ta Kali on 1 Jan 1945 but disbanded again in Jul 1945. It reformed in the UK in Jan 1958 with pilotless target drones moved to Malta towards the end of Feb 1958, becoming operational at Hal Far in Mar 1958. It flew various fixed wing target drones until it disbanded in Dec 1961 at Hal Far and its drones were returned to the UK by sea.
There was also an independent 728 C Squadron. Building on 845 NAS experience in Operation Musketeer, this was formed on 7 Jan 1958 at RNAS Lee-on-Solent, with 4 Whirlwind HAS.22 as an Amphibious Warfare Trials Unit with a mission to develop techniques to get the Royal Marines and other specialists from ship to shore quickly and safely. This mission was similar to the Joint RAF-Army JEHU. They arrived at Hal Far between Feb and Apr 1958, embarked for Cyprus (Nicosia) by Jun 1958 and returned to Hal Far around the end of Jul 1958, before becoming the nucleus of 848 Naval Air Squadron on 13 Oct 1958.
Tom Lowrie writes: In the early 1960s, 728 Squadron were flying Meteor TT20s, Meteor Mk 7s and Sea Devons (latterly replaced by Sea Heron). 728 (B) had Firefly and Canberra pilotless drones.
The meteors used for target towing were there from my knowledge as I was there from 1964 untill 1967
List of aircraft
|C/N||Version||Built||In this Org||In other Org|
|wa/h/050||hr.3||1952|| WG719 : ff 19 Sep 1952 as HR.3 Hal Far SAR Flt/901-HF by Jan 1953. ||- G-BRMA : To British Rotorcraft Museum Weston-super-Mare Jun 1978 as WG719/902; rest+ |
- WG719 : 03Dec16 pictured as WG719 in bare metal finish at International Helicopter+
|wa/h/053||hr.3||1952|| WG722 : ff 16 Oct 1952, dd 9 Dec 1952 Gosport. To Malta in HMS Indomitable 12 Jan + |
|wa/h/086||hr.3||1953|| WP501 : RN d/d Aug53; 728Sq /903-HF Station Flt Hal Far by Feb54; 728Sq /959 Stati+ |
|55-477||HO4S-3||1953|| WV205 : 845Sq/W by Apr 1957; 728Sq C Flt/624 by Feb 1958; Fleetlands Nov 1958; 771+ || 133745 : Sikorsky S-55 c/n 55-477, ff:?; acc BuAerRep (BAR) East Hartford, CT, 30Ju+ |
|55-498||HO4S-3||1953|| WV223 : 728Sq C Flt/621 by Mar 1958; 737Sq/781 by Apr 1960 still 1961; 781Sq/(827)+ || 133751 : Sikorsky S-55 c/n 55-498, ff:?; acc BuAerRep (BAR) East Hartford, CT, 21Ju+ |
ZS-HDM : to Autair Pty, SA. c Jun 1971
A5 : 1987 preserved airworthy at SAAF Museum
|55-499||HO4S-3||1953|| WV224 : Hal Far SAR Flt/958 by Jan 1960; 728Sq/961-HF by Apr 1965; RNAY Fleetlands+ || 133752 : Sikorsky S-55 c/n 55-499, ff:?; acc BuAerRep (BAR) East Hartford, CT, 21Ju+ |
- WV224 : Preserved SAAF Museum (Swartkop) by 2008
|13-aug-53||07-sep-53||Great Kefalonia Earthquake relief|
|15-jun-53||15-jun-53||Fleet Review: Coronation Review of the Fleet|