1940 to 2001

united kingdom 819 Squadron

Fleet Air Arm

819 NAS 819 Naval Air Squadron

819 Squadron
Tail Codes
H 1963/64
R 1964/65
PW 1971/01
CU 1971
Formed at Ford as a torpedo reconnaissance unit in Jan 1940 with Swordfish, it took part in the Taranto raid on the Italian fleet in Nov 1940. After disbanding in Malta in Jan 1941, it reformed with a torpedo bomber role in Oct 1941 at Lee-on-Solent and for a short period, it was attached to RAF Coastal Command before disbanding in Mar 1945.
Reformed from 719 Squadron on 5 Oct 1961 at RNAS Eglinton, with 1 of the former's Whirlwind HAS.7s and 2 newly arrrived Wessex HAS.1s; the second front line unit with the Wessex. When Eglinton closed in Feb 1963, it moved the 8 miles east along the estuary to Ballykelly. The Wessex HAS.3 arrived in Apr 1968, making 819 the third front line unit with this new type. As RAF Ballykelly was being run down prior to hand over to the British Army, 819 Squadron disbanded on 29 Jan 1971.
With a SAR gap to be closed, the usefulness of a naval aviation presence close to the Clyde bases and the need to provide protection for offshore assets around Scotland, 819 Squadron reformed on 9 Feb 1971 at RNAS Culdrose as the third front line Sea King HAS.1 unit. Once new facilities to house the squadron at Prestwick (HMS Gannet) were ready, it moved in on 27 Oct 1971. The Sea King HAS.2 was introduced in Dec 1977 and after a brief detachment to RAF Leconfield in late May 1983, that was followed by receiving the HAS.5 in Feb 1985 and the HAS.6 in Apr 1989 (from 824 Squadron). The unit absorbed the remaining 2 Sea King HAS.5s from 824 Squadron in Aug 1989 and took over the 4 airframes from A, B, C & D Flights of 826 Squadron in Jul 1993. Between Jun and Aug of 1994 a Sea King detachment was embarked on board RFA Fort George.

On 29 Feb 1996 the unit participated in an unprecedented medevac mission of a crewman with appendicitis from a Russian Victor III class submarine to hospital in Stornoway, after an initial assessment by a team from HMS Glasgow.

On 31 Oct 2001, the unit formally disbanded by becoming HMS Gannet SAR Flight of 771 Squadron, although the presence of the SAR Flight airframes continued at Prestwick, until the whole SAR role was contracted out to private interests via HM Coastguard.

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1971RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1963/71AAC BallykellyEGQB
1961/63Eglinton / LondonderryEGAE

  819 Squadron Operations

Dates Operation
1991-dec-181991-dec-19 Rescue from fishing ship Kartli
1983-dec-091983-dec-09 Rescue from mv Antrim Princess
1977-nov-251977-dec-19 Operation Journeyman
1977-jun-251977-jun-28 Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen

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