The very first ideas for an association originated in Sydney in 1945 and 1946 among the Fleet Air Arm Pilots and Observers who had fought from the carriers of the British Pacific Fleet. They used to meet at the Imperial Services Club and the notion was that, once back home, the strong bonds of comradeship which already existed ought to be continued, not simply to provide a basis for reunions but also, most importantly, to stand up for and to do battle for the continuing cause of naval aviation.
No Fleet Air Arm Association, as such, was formed in the immediate post-war years although, when the new RNVR Air Squadrons were established in 1947 they provided rallying-points, but when they were disbanded in 1957 the impetus was given for the formation of a proper organisation fulfilling the original ideas.
In February 1957 the first Committee Meeting of what was initially called The RNVR Air Association took place at the Naval and Military Club. Among the Resolutions it was established that the subscription would be five shillings (25p) per annum and there should be an annual dance at Londonderry House in Park Lane together with other social functions.
To begin with there were about 150 members essentially from the disbanded RNVR units and this rose to about 200.
The next important step was a change of name which would involve serving officers more closely. Accordingly, after due representation, a letter was received in April, 1958, from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty approving the present name and promising an Air Station Weekly Order to publicise it.
So, with Admiralty blessing, many serving RN officers joined, as well as an appreciable number who had recently retired under the 'Golden Bowler' scheme or who had served during the 1939-45 war. Thus, the young Association expanded and prospered. As it continued, social functions apart, official Ministry of Defence (Navy) recognition was given to the role played by the FAAOA in helping to bring about the existence of the Invincible class aircraft carriers and to the Association's input towards many other debates relating to aviation at sea.
Thus the Association now includes members from WWII, from the post-war decades (when very significant development took place for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft) and importantly serving members from today's Fleet Air Arm. The Association also offers associate membership to those whose family served and to those who have made a significant contribution to the Fleet Air Arm.
The FAAOA tries to ensure that naval aviation matters are not overlooked by a public which can sometime forget the debt owed to its Armed Forces whilst encouraging the young and air minded through a variety of charitable initiatives.
The Fleet Air Arm Officers Association is thus a vibrant organisation with a steadily growing membership which greatly welcomes applications from those who meet the criteria for joining.