On the outbreak of war,
the squadron was operating from HMS Ark Royal with 12 Swordfish on
anti-submarine searches, unsuccessfully attacking a U-boat on 14
In April 1940, the ship
and her squadrons took part in the defence of Norway, including
bombing Vaernes aerodrome, then subsequently sailed with the ship to
Gibraltar, and in July took part in operations against the French
fleet at Oran when it made an abortive attack on the battleship
Strasbourg, and later participated in an attack on the French
In August and September
bombing attacks were made against Cagliari, Sardinia and the Vichy
French Fleet at Dakar, including an unsuccessful attack on the
In November the squadron
provided anti-submarine patrols during convoys and action against
the Italian Fleet off Cape Spartivento, and in February 1941 a
bombing attack on Tirso Dam, Sardinia and bombing attacks on Leghorn
and La Spezia in Italy.
In May 1941 the ship and
squadron participated in the Atlantic search for the German
battleship Bismarck,810 and 818 NAS led the attack which crippled
the Bismarck. Two torpedo hits from the combined strike force from
HMS Ark Royal on 26 May 1941 gave the Fleet the opportunity to sink
the Bismarck. The squadron then returned to the Mediterranean for
operations against Sardinia, and subsequent convoy work to Jamaica.
In March 1941 the
squadron embarked on HMS Illustrious to take part in the May
operations on Madagascar, when the squadron bombed shipping and
other targets at Diego Suarez. Subsequently after a brief stay at
Durban and the Bismarck pursuit in the Atlantic in May 1941 the
squadron returned to the UK.
In April 1943 the
squadron re-equipped with Barracuda IIs, the squadron then carried
out operations off the Norwegian coast in July 1943 before sailing
in HMS Illustrious to provide support in the Salerno landings.
In October 1943 the
squadron re-grouped as part of the 21st Naval Torpedo Bomber
Reconnaissance (TBR) Wing, embarking in November to join the Eastern
In March 1944 the
squadron carried out sweeps in the Bay of Bengal, in April bombing
attacks on Sabang docks and oil tanks, Sumatra, and in June
operations against the Andaman Islands, following which the ship
sailed for a refit at Capetown.
In February 1945 the
squadron was re-equipped with Barracuda IIIs at Stretton, and in
March the squadron moved to Thorney Island and subsequently the East
Coast to try out the new ASV Mk.XI radar during anti-shipping
patrols in the English Channel with RAF Coastal Command, disbanding
in August 1945.
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