1933 to present

united kingdom 824 Squadron

Fleet Air Arm

824 NAS 824 Naval Air Squadron

824 Squadron
Tail Codes
V 1958/59
R 1959/61
C 1961/63
R 1970/73
H 1973/74
R 1974/78
CU 1979/82
Formed Apr 1933 with Fairey IIIFs. Introduced to helicopters when the unit reformed at RNAS Eglington in Apr 1958 with Whirlwind HAS.7s but had a terrible time with the unreliability of the early engines. After short periods embarked on HMS Victorious and HMS Eagle, the unit conducted a month-long intensive flying trials period in Spring 1959 with newly issued airframes from Fleetlands, before disbanding at Culdrose in Apr 1959.

Reformed again in Nov 1959 at Culdrose and after deployment to the Mediteranean and North Atlantic on HMS Ark Royal between Mar 1960 and Feb 1961, assigned to HMS Centaur in Apr 1961. After absorbing 6 of 825 Sq airframes, it took over Kenyan flood relief operations on 9 Dec 1961. Disbanded May 1963 as the last operational Whirlwind HAS.7 Squadron.

Reformed on 24 Feb 1970 as the 1st operational Sea King unit at Culdrose initially with 4 HAS.1s, rising quickly to 7 (including 1 for COD duty, withdrawn in 1975). 3 a/c detachment carried out deck landing trials on RFA Engadine in Apr 1970 and on 12 Jun 1970, 824 Sq embarked on HMS Ark Royal. There was a brief detachment to RAF Manston in early May 1972. Transferred to HMS Hermes on 22 Sep 1973 and spent 6 months on RFA trials until going back to Ark Royal in Apr 1974, remaining there until Ark Royal paid off in Dec 1978.

Parent of RFA Sea Kings (in A, B, C & D Flights) from Dec 1978 (as 829 Sq Wessex were being withdrawn and replaced by Sea Kings on RFA vessels) until at least 1987.

During Falklands War, 6 Sea Kings in 3 Flights of 2; A Flt aboard RFA Olmeda, C Flt aboard RFA Fort Grange; B Flt deployed to Gibraltar to protect the Base. A Flt spent a few days at the beginning of Jun 1982 at the Port San Carlos FOB while D Flt reformed at Culdrose on 14 Jun 1982 and equipped with 2 HAS.2(AEW) pre-production machines in Aug 1982 on board HMS Illustrious, to provide AEW cover for those elements of fleet remaining in the South Atlantic. 824D disbanded on 31 Oct 1984 to form the new 849 Squadron. The squadron disbanded in Aug 1989 and its airframes were transferred to 819 Squadron at Prestwick.

Reformed 2 Jun 2000 with Merlin HM.1 at RNAS Culdrose. It passed responsibility for Small Ships Merlin to 829 NAS when that unit reformed in Oct 2004. The units Merlins are named after Knights of King Arthurs Round Table. 824 NAS is the leading training squadron for the Merlin HM Mk 1 helicopter with 8x Merlins on strength in Oct 2010. First 5 Merlin HM.2 issued to the unit on 19 Aug 2013.
During early May 2018, as part of an 824 NAS course, the unit detached 2 Merlin HM.2 for two weeks on Exercise Rogue Wizards 2018, to Haakonsvern Norwegian Naval helipad, to search for submarine HNoMS Uthaug under various conditions.

My name is Peter Northcott and I joined 824 Squadron when it reformed as a Seaking squadron. The number of aircraft the squadron had at that time was 4 x Seaking mk1 and not seven as mentioned in your document.

Pete Northcott is wrong, I was on there at the same time as him. We commisioned with SIX, not four, Sea King HAS Mk 1s. Serial numbers XV654/050 to XV659/055. Sorry Pete.

My name is John Harris. I served api with 824 Squadron when it formed with Whirlwind HAS 7 helicopters. I sailed on HMS Victorious' maiden voyage, and back to Malta on HMS Eagle when it was grounded and I was in charge of the maintenance of 5 aircraft which were put ashore awaiting passage back home. I was in the special trials flight at Eglinton until it was disbanded in 1959.

When C Flight aboard the Fort Grange as she was then (now Fort Rosalie), sailed for the Falklands, it had three HAS Mk2 Sea Kings not two. One was permanently tied down on the flight deck in the lee of the hangar.

My name is Steve “Bomber” brown, i was a plane captain on one of the 2 seakings we had on 824B flight along with Bob Lonsbourgh and Chris Campbell, I’m not sure whose right or whose wrong cos we were always p***ed, good days.

I was the Senior Maintenance Rating (SMR) on 824 C Flight during the Falklands Conflict We had three aircraft as recorded above to start Operation Corporate, we lost one enroute to the Falklands and stayed on station for almost 9 months less this aircraft and the Air Engineer officer assigned to the flight, within a week of combat. I saw the unit through difficult times, watch on stop on, and on my return to the UK, was charged with technical neglect. I was admonished, disgraced and left the Royal Navy, returning my medals and loyalty in the same envelope to the then, First Sea Lord. The advert says "Made in the Royal Navy", my story says "Broke in the Royal Navy" Conduct VG Acceptiona!!

I joined 824 mid72. I was one of the 3 plane captains for XV659....055 Was on 824 again Jan76 still had all six as Mk1's on the Ark Royal

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2000-    RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1982/87RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1982GI RAF GibraltarLXGB
1982 Port San Carlos closed 1984
1970/82RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1962/63RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1962SG SembawangWSAG
1960/62RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1960MT Hal Far closed 1987
1959/60RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1958/59Eglinton / LondonderryEGAE

  824 Squadron Operations

Dates Operation
1982-apr-041982-sep-17 Operation Corporate
1979-aug-131979-aug-14 IE Rescue from Fastnet Yacht Race
1977-jun-251977-jun-28 Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen
1974-jan-161974-jan-16 Rescue from ss Merc Enterprise
1961-dec-081962-jan-31 KE Mombasa Flood Relief Operations
1961-jul-311961-aug-24 KW Operation Vantage
1953-jun-151953-jun-15 Fleet Review: Coronation Review of the Fleet

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