united kingdom 701 squadron

Fleet Air Arm

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 (R05), B Flight on HMS Ark Royal (R09), C Flight on HMS Victorious (R38) from Nov 1957, then HMS Albion (R07) from Jul 1958, D Flight on HMS Bulwark (R08), P Flight on HMS Protector (A146) 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

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