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Thread: HMS Ark Royal crews who attacked French Fleet

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    Default HMS Ark Royal crews who attacked French Fleet

    Does anyone here have a list of the HMS Ark Royal aircrew members who were involved in the sinking and/or crippling of the French Navy fleet in July 1940 at Mers-el-Kébir?

    Was it their Swordfish involved in the attack? Thanks.

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    Default Ark Royla in the attack on Mers-el Kebir

    Hello,

    Unfortunately I don't have any crew list from Operation Catapult and Lever but HMS Ark Royal operated with a full complement of 30 Swordfishes from 810, 818 and 820 Squadrons and 24 Skuas from 800 and 803 Squadrons and lost a number of Swordfishes and SKuas in the Operations.
    The Swordfishes were both used in artillery spotting, torpedo attacks and bombing.

    Best wishes/Håkan
    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces
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    Default

    Thanks Håkan.

    I am interested to find out who was involved because I was wondering if there were any kiwis involved. Just wondering.

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    Sorry, but I just have a few names. The losses/names I have are:

    Operation Catapult
    Swordfish L2787/A4B (Lieutenant Humpries, Lieutenant Williams and Leading Aircraftman Pendleton)
    Swordfish L2840 (Lieutenant Hunter, Lieutenant Gerrett and Petty Officer Smith)
    Skua L2927/A piloted by Lieutenant Bruen
    Skua L2997/B piloted by Sub Lieutenant Brokensha
    Skua L2915/C piloted by Petty Officer Airman Thomas Frank Riddler – shot down and crew KIA (navigator Naval Airman 1st Class Horace Turner Chatterley) possibly shot down by Sergeant Chef André Legrand of GC II/5

    Operation Lever
    Swordfish 810 Sq. Lieutenant Godfroy-Fausset
    Skua 803 Sq. L2953/’F’ flown by Lieutenant Christian
    Skua 803 Sq. L2996/’H’ flown by Sub Lieutenant Easton
    Skua 803 Sq. L2961/’G’ flown by Midshipman Griffith

    //Håkan
    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces
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    Thanks for these names.

    There were of course very few kiwis in the actual Fleet Air Arm in 1940, I am sure I was told by a couple of the FAA piltos I have interviewed that only two pilots had joined the re-established FAA and were trained up by 1940. But of course there were RAF piltos and aircrews on the carriers too, one kiwi being Colin Gardner, a kiwi in the RAF, who was poosted to fly Swordfish from HMS Furious till that ship was decommissioned and he returned to being land-based, in Singapore. It was his story that made me wonder if at first Furious was involved in these operations, or if other kiwis were involved.

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