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Fleet Air Arm Battle Honours

Battle honours are awarded to units in recognition of their achievements at a specific engagement or series of engagements. In the Navy they are awarded for victories or loss against overwhelming odds and only where the enemy forces include naval units. A Battle Honours Committee makes recommendations to the Navy Board which authorises official Honours.

A ship’s or squadron’s list of Battle Honours bears testament to a history of courage and endeavour. Today’s generation of Sailors and Airman should take pride in their units Battle Honours but should also consider the obligation and duty it expects of them; these roles of honour were earned with toil, gallantry and sacrifice – it is now our responsibility to uphold their dignity.

Naval Aviation was in its infancy in WW1. Despite the many amazing raids you can read about in the Timeline on this website, no Royal Naval Air Service squadron was awarded a Battle Honour.

Below is the full list of Battle Honours for FAA Squadrons. Many squadrons have been involved in other important actions which have not been deemed to have met the arduous criteria required to merit the award of a Battle Honour. For example, the squadron attacks on the German battleship Tipitz which kept the ship out of action for much of the war.

1939

Atlantic 1939-45

HMS Victorious sailing in the Atlantic with embarked Fairey Swordfish on flightdeck


Ocean convoy escorts, or support forces that took part in a successful action, Equator to the Arctic Circle between 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945. This major Area Battle Honour reflects the six-year struggle to maintain the supply chain of food and other material to Britain in World War II and which resulted in the defeat of the U-boats.


“The battle of the Atlantic was the dominating ...

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English Channel 1939-45

Fairey Albacore served with 841 Squadron


Channel coastal convoy escorts, or other forces that took part in a successful action, English Channel and all waters on the south coast between Southend and Bristol, east of a line Ushant to the Scilly Islands then to the north coast of Cornwall between 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945. Successes achieved in connection with Operation Neptune are recognised by the Battle Honour Normandy 1944.


FAA ...

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North Sea 1939-45

Swordfish formation


Coastal convoy escorts, or other forces that took part in a successful action, North Sea and all waters to the eastward between Southend and the Shetland Islands, except coastal waters of Norway between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945.


FAA Squadrons: 803 (39), 811 (42), 812 (40), 826 (40-44)


Fairey Swordfish served with 812 Squadron in 1940 when it was under the command of RAF Coastal ...

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River Plate 1939

Admiral Graf Spee in flames having suffered a hit to her funnel.


Pursuit of German heavy cruiser Graf Spee in South Atlantic, 13 December 1939.


The Battle of the River Plate was the first major naval battle in World War II and the first occasion an RN aircraft had been employed to spot for ship's guns in a sea battle. The German heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September. It was found and engaged off ...

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1940

Norway 1940-45

Aftermath of attack by FAA Blackburn Skuas on German shipping at Haugesund, Norway, 1941


Operations in coastal waters of Norway as far north as Tromso between 8 April and 8 June 1940, and successful actions in these waters at a later date to May 1945.


Securing ice free ports and airfields with access to the Atlantic, and controlling Swedish iron ore shipped from the Norwegian port of Narvik are among the reasons given for the German invasion of Norway. Norway resisted invasion for ...

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Narvik 1940

German destroyer Hermann Kuhne burns at Narvik, 13 April 1940, taken from the Swordfish of HMS Warspite


Forces taking part in the two naval battles of Narvik 10 and 13 April 1940, in the Ofotfjord, part of the Norwegian Campaign of World War II at the northern Norway city of Narvik.


Narvik provided an ice-free harbour in the North Atlantic for iron ore transported by the railway from Kiruna in Sweden. Both sides in the war had an interest in securing this iron supply for themselves and denying ...

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Dunkirk 1940

Blackburn Skua of 801 NAS


Operation DYNAMO, evacuation of British Expeditionary Force, and other Allied forces, from France, 26 May to 4 June 1940.


As the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and its French and Belgian allies fell back on Dunkirk at the end of May 1940 units of the Fleet Air Arm were assigned to the control of RAF Coastal Command to provide support for Operation Dynamo. FAA aircraft played a most important ...

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East Indies 1940-45

Supermarine Walrus on its catapult
HMS Ameer ferrying Seafires and Corsairs near Trincomolee July 1944


Forces taking part in successful attacks against enemy shipping or significant enemy shore installations in the Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, June 1940 to August 1945.


The campaign in the Indian Ocean by the Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm is often overlooked but its contributions proved vital to success in the Pacific. In January 1940 HMS Kent was assigned ...

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Mediterranean 1940-45

Supermarine Seafire warming up  for take on the deck of HMS Formidable in the Mediterranean


Forces taking part in operations in the Mediterranean, east of a line Cape Spartel to Cape Trafalgar, not covered by other Battle Honours in the area, between the fall of France in June 1940, and May 1945.


During World War II the Mediterranean became a strategic battleground which greatly affected the wider conflict. The campaign was, for the most part, fought between the forces of the Italian ...

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Calabria 1940

HMS Eagle as seen from the tail gunner of a launched Swordfish


Forces taking part in the action off Calabria, Italy, 9 July 1940.


The Battle of Calabria was a naval battle during the Battle of the Mediterranean in World War II. It was fought between vessels of Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) on one side and vessels of the British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy on the other.


The battle occurred thirty miles to the east of Punta Stilo, the ...

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Libya 1940-42

Fairey Albacores of the Fleet Air Arm over Libya


Forces involved on inshore operations between Port Said and Benghazi, and support of the army advance in the Western Desert between September 1940 and June 1942.


The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War started with the Italian declaration of war on 10 June 1940. A back-and-forth series of battles for control of Libya and parts of Egypt followed, climaxing in the Second Battle ...

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Taranto 1940

Fairey_Swordfish carrying torpedo
Taranto after the raid


Forces taking part in Operation JUDGEMENT, night air strike on the Italian fleet and harbour at Taranto, 11 November 1940.


In one of Fleet Air Arm’s greatest achievements the Battle of Taranto took place on the night of 11 November 1940 – 12 November 1940. The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft naval attack in history, flying a small number of Swordfish aircraft from HMS ...

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Biscay 1940-45

Fairey Albacore taking off from HMS Victorious


Patrolling forces that took part in a successful action, Ushant to Cape Ortegal from 12W to the coast of France between January 1940 and May 1945.


In company with a number of ships, HMS Victorious left Scapa Flow on 18 November to take part in the North Africa landings (Operation Torch) and, while en route, on 21st November 1942, Fairey Albacore BF597 of 817NAS, was carrying out anti-submarine ...

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Spartivento 1940

HMS Ark Royal under attack at Spativento
The Italian Battleship Vittorio Veneto firing a broadside at the Battle Of Cape Spartivento


Night action against Italian Battleships and Cruisers off Cape Spartivento, Sardinia, 27 November 1940, during Operation Collar.


The objective of Operation Collar was to combine the movement of a number of ships from the Mediterranean Fleet based at Alexandria and the smaller Force H based at Gibraltar. Their combined aims were to redistribute British Naval Forces. A westbound convoy from Force ...

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1941

Malta Convoys 1941-42

HMS Indomitable with HMS Eagle behind. Taken from flight deck of HMS Victorious - Operation Pedestal


This award is in recognition of the successful convoys which fought through to bring much needed supplies to Malta, between January 1941 and August 1942.


During the wider conflict of the Mediterranean, the Malta Convoys were a series of Allied supply convoys to sustain the besieged island. The convoys were strongly opposed by Italian and Nazi German sea and air forces during the Battle of the ...

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