Traces of World War 2 
FAA - No. 800 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 28 February 2008

800 SQUADRON - Bomber, Blackburn Skua and Roc
Fleet Air Arm

History | Operations and losses | Sources | Links | Books | Questions and/or remarks

At the beginning of the war, 800 was flying Skua and a few Rocs from HMS Ark Royal. Fighter patrols were carried out off Norway and submarine patrols in the NW approaches.

During the German invasion of Norway in 1940, whilst based at Hatston, 800 and 803 Squadrons dive-bombed the German cruiser Königsberg at Bergen. Squadron aircraft shot down six He111s. The 800 Squadron CO, Capt RT Partridge, RM was taken POW and four aircraft lost on an attack on the Scharnhorst. In July 1940, the squadron was involved in the attack on the French Fleet at Oran.

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940 (incomplete)
Not all operations listed; those with losses are.

13/05/1940: Reconnaissance, Norway. 2 Planes lost
13/06/1940: Scharnhorst, Norway. 4 planes lost, 3 KIA, 2 MIA, 3 POW

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13/05/1940: Reconnaissance, Norway

Type: Blackburn Skua
Serial number: ?, ?
Operation: Reconnaissance, Norway
Lost: 13/05/1940
Petty Officer L.E. Burston - safe
Naval Airman G.W. Halifax - safe
Following a reconnaisance, when the weather was too bad to land on the Ark Royal, this Skua forced landed south of Harstad in the sea. The crew were picked up by destroyer HMS Brazen.

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Type: Blackburn Skua
Serial number: ?, ?
Operation: Reconnaissance, Norway
Lost: 13/05/1940
Lt J.A. Rooper - safe
Petty Officer W. Crawford - safe
Force landed at Sandsoy, north of Harstad.

Source: British and Other Navies in World War 2 Day-by-Day

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13/06/1940: Scharnhorst

The aircraft carrier Ark Royal escorted convoys from Narvik, its Skuas shooting down a Heinkel 111 and damaging another two on the night of 9th June (the northerly latitudes meant it never got dark).

The presence of the damaged battlecruiser Scharnhorst in Trondheim harbour was a tempting target and it attracted the attention of the RAF. On the 11th of June a force of twelve Hudson bombers attacked at medium altitude, but not a single hit was achieved.

A plan was devised to attack the Scharnhorst. Fifteen Skuas would be launched from Ark Royal in the middle of the night (although it would still be light, Trondheim being close to the Arctic Circle). An attack by RAF Beauforts on the main German aerodrome at Vaernes was planned to disrupt any German fighter response and support was to be given by long range Bleinheim fighters.

The Ark Royal and escorts arrived off the coast of Norway but the strike had to be postponed due to bad weather, the Ark was spotted by German reconnaissance but the weather prevented the Germans taking any action against her, but the defences of Trondheim were put on alert.

The raid was launched on the night of 12th/13th of June. Six Skuas from 800 Squadron and nine from 803 Squadron flew off the carrier at around midnight. They crossed the coast at 01.23 hrs, still 20 minutes from their target.

The RAF attack on Vaernes had the opposite effect to that intended, swarms of Luftwaffe aircraft took off in response to it and were in exactly the right position to attack the incoming Skuas. The Skuas split into two formations and 800 squadron attacked the Scharnhorst stern to bow while 803 squadron ran in from the other direction, bow to stern. Two hits were claimed, but German records admit to only one, and that did not explode.

The Skuas crews fought for their lives through the flak from the Scharnhorst and the other German naval vessels in harbour, and from the Messerschmitt 109 and 110 fighters that swarmed around them. Eight of the Fifteen Skuas were shot down, including the commanders of both 800 and 803 squadron (Lt Cdr Casson and Capt R.T. Partridge). The survivors only got away by flying low in the early morning mist, claiming a single Messerschmitt 110 damaged. The RAF Blenheims turned up only after the attack was over.
Source: Skuas over Norway

Type: Blackburn Skua
Serial number: L3000, 6F
Operation: Scharnhorst
Lost: 13/06/1940
Lieutenant George E.D. Finch-Noyes, RN, F.A.A. 800 Sqdn. H.M.S. Ark Royal, DSC, Mentioned in Despatches, age 26, 13/06/1940, Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery
Petty Officer Airman Howard G. Cunningham, POW
Skua L3000, 6F crashed and exploded in the back yard of Schøningdal farm. The house was also hit by the propeller and undercarriage. The pilot Lt. George Edward Desmond Finch-Noyes went down with the plane. The navigator, Howard G. Cunningham managed to bail out and landed in Bymarka, but was soon after captured by the Germans and became POW. Photos crash site.

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Type: Blackburn Skua
Serial number: L3028, 6G
Operation: Scharnhorst
Lost: 13/06/1940
Petty Officer Airman Wallace Crawford, RN FX/76537, H.M.S. Ark Royal, 800 Sqdn. F.A.A., age 26, 13/06/1940, Stadsbygd Churchyard, Norway
Midshipman (A) Leonard H. Gallagher, RN, H.M.S. Ark Royal, 800 Sqdn. F.A.A., DSC, Mentioned in Despatches, age 19, 13/06/1940, Stadsbygd Churchyard, Norway
6G . Photos crash site and graves

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Type: Blackburn Skua
Serial number: L2995, 6A
Operation: Scharnhorst
Lost: 13/06/1940
Lieutenant Robert S. Bostock, RN, 800 Sqdn. H.M.S. Ark Royal, Mentioned in Despatches, age 29, 13/06/1940, missing
Capt Richard T. Partridge, RM, PoW
Fuel tank blew up, shot down by Bf109s of II/JG77, Fosen, Trondheim. Crashed at Stallvika in Bjugn. Lt Bostock was killed. Cpt Patridge bailed out and was picked up by a Norwegian fishing boat, badly burned but alive. He spent the next five years as a POW in company with Guy Griffiths and Wings Day. See WW2 Allied Airwrecks Norway

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Type: Blackburn Skua
Serial number: L3047, 6H
Operation: Scharnhorst
Lost: 13/06/1940
Leading Airman (Telegraphist/Air gunner) William J. Tremeer, RN FX/77400, 800 Sqdn. H.M.S. Ark Royal, age 25, 13/06/1940, missing
Midshipman (Pilot) DerekT.R. Martin, PoW
Their aircraft was shot down after a dive bombing attack on German battleship Scharnhorst. Crashed in Trondheim harbour / ditched outside Høvringen, Trondheim. See WW2 Allied Airwrecks Norway

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British and Other Navies in World War 2 Day-by-Day
T.K. Derry (1952), The Campaign in Norway
Casualty Lists Royal Navy
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
FAA 800 Squadron
Fleet Air Arm Archive 1939-1945
Fleet Air Arm Museum
Flying Marines: Richard Thomas Partridge
Lee-on-Solent Memorial (missing FAA members)
Operation Skua Norway
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

Skuas over Norway
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway

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Ray Sturvivant, Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-1945, Air Britain Historians Ltd, 1995

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Discussion Groups
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
RAF Commands Forum

Abbreviations used in the Royal Air Force
Code Names & RAF Vocabulary

Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aircraft Directory
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
Canada's Air Force History
HMS Cavalier
Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
CWGC Cemeteries Germany
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots

Dutch Pilots in RAF Squadrons
Eagles Squadrons (American pilots in the RAF)
Foreign Aircraft Landings in Ireland 1939-1946
Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2 aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
RAF Upwood
De Slag om de Grebbeberg
Warbird Alley
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway

Aircraft crashes on the North Yorkshire Moors, England
The Lancastershire Aircraft Investigation Team
Luftfahrt-Archäologie in Schleswig Holstein (in German)
North East Diary 1939-1945
Wartime Leicester and Leicestershire

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
WW1 Cemeteries

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This page is dedicated to the men of 800 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to