More cleaning up papers:

HUTCHINSON, David Alexander, Sub-Lieutenant (A) - No.802 Squadron - Distinguished Service Cross - reported in Flight, 9 April 1942 as several awards associated with HMS Audacity, "For bravery and skill in action against enemy aircraft and in the protection of a convoy against heavy and sustained enemy attacks." The recommendation states “For determined and successful action against enemy aircraft whereby one Focke Wulf was shot down on 8.11.1941, and a second Focke Wulf was damaged and driven off.” Following from Spink Auction catalogue of 25 November 2010.

Lieutenant (Air) David Alexander Hutchison, DSC. (1919-1942), joined the Royal Navy as Midshipman (Air), 11.9.1939, Sub-Lieutenant 14.3.1940, initial pilot training included at F.T.S. Belfast and F.T.S. Nethavon, gaining his ‘Wings’, 22.6.1940; due to the pressing need to replace R.A.F. pilot casualties sustained during the Battle of France, Hutchison was one of about 33 Fleet Air Arm pilots temporarily seconded for Special Service; arriving at 5 O.T.U., Aston Down, 25.6.1940, he converted to Spitfires and was posted to 74 Squadron, Hornchurch, Essex, 6.7.1940; throughout July the squadron was heavily engaged during the Battle of Britain, tackling wherever possible German fighter escorts; after the first phase of the Battle, the squadron was withdrawn for rest to 12 Group, 30.8.1940; Hutchison returned to the Fleet Air Arm and was posted to 804 Squadron (Gladiators), Haston, Orkney Islands; the squadron protected the Home Fleet’s base at Scapa Flow against regular German bomber intrusions made from occupied Norway; the squadron re-equipped with Martlets, October 1940; Hutchison transferred to help reconstitute the ill fated 802 Squadron (the squadron had been based on H.M.S. Glorious, when she was sunk by the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau, 8.6.1940), 31.11.1940.

802 Squadron – H.M.S. Audacity

Later the same month, Hutchison embarked with his new squadron aboard H.M.S. Audacity (the first ever Escort Carrier); the Audacity’s flight deck was only 112 metres long and just 18 metres wide, she had no hangar and little safety equipment, all of which made flying from her particularly dangerous in heavy seas or high winds; on his maiden voyage escorting Convoy HG 76 to Gibraltar, Hutchison and the other squadron pilots had to operate in appalling weather conditions, with the flight deck pitching 20 metres and rolling 16 degrees; his first notable action occurred when he was scrambled in company with the Squadron C/O, Lieutenant-Commander J.M. Wintour, just before noon, 8.11.1941, ‘Wintour made one attack from the quarter and one from the stern, setting the F.W. on fire. Apparently thinking that its gunners had ceased firing, he ranged up alongside the burning bomber. One of its guns opened fire. Wintour banked away and took a 7.92mm shell right underneath the cockpit. Loudspeakers all over Audacity, which had been wired to pick up the pilot’s victory yells, relayed his dying scream. His wingman, Sub-Lieutenant D.A. Hutchison, R.N., closed in and finished off the Condor’; on the outward voyage the Martlets had destroyed 4 Condors as well as conducting anti-submarine sweeps; the Audacity, as part of a nine warship escort, began the homeward bound leg of convoy HG 76, 14.12.1941; by the 19th H.M.S. Audacity was reduced to barely three serviceable aircraft; on the latter date Hutchison and his wingman attacked a Condor in thick cloud cover; despite his guns jamming, Hutchison managed to drive off the enemy aircraft; the convoy of 32 merchantmen was under constant assault, with the Martlets proving vital – so much so that the Stoerbrecker Wolf-Pack was given express orders to attack and sink the Audacity; at nightfall on the 21st December, 500 miles west of Cape Finisterre, the Audacity left the escort screen to begin her nightly zigzag outside of the convoy; no escort could be spared for her and fatally some merchantmen from the convoy panicked in her vicinity, sending up flares; her unmistakable silhouette attracted a torpedo within 4 minutes, two further torpedoes sealed her fate, taking her aircraft down with her; Hutchison was retrieved from the freezing cold-water later that night; after five days concentrated assault. the convoy returned home with the loss of Audacity, a destroyer, and three merchantmen; the Germans had lost five U-boats, out of twelve that attacked the convoy, and two Condors had also been destroyed.

802 Squadron – H.M.S. Avenger

802 Squadron reformed for the second time in February 1942; Hutchison returned to the squadron, this time equipped with Sea Hurricanes, and was posted for service on Arctic Convoys with the Escort Carrier Avenger, 13.7.1942; PQ 18 consisted of 39 merchantmen and sailed with an escort of 20 warships which sailed for Murmansk, 2.9.1942; the convoy, with Avenger as part of the escort, was shadowed most of the way by enemy torpedo-bombers; this was another ill-fated trip for the squadron with Avenger consistently having engine problems and the loss of another C/O in action; when PQ 18 reached Murmansk it had lost 10 merchantmen against 41 German aircraft and 3 U-boats; upon arrival the Avenger and the escort group switched to protect the homeward bound convoy QP 14; this was made up of 15 vessels, including some of the PQ 18 survivors; having completed that trip, Hutchison went with the Avenger to participate in Operation Torch, the landings in North Africa, 7/8.11.1942; the Sea Hurricanes of 802 Squadron operated from the Avenger carrying out strikes against Vichy coastal defences and the airbases at Bilda and Maison Blanche; with this operation completed and her engines repaired at Algiers, H.M.S. Avenger formed up with Convoy MKFI (Y) comprising of empty troop and equipment transports returning to Britain; Hutchison and the convoy reached Gibraltar on the morning of 14.11.1942; having taken on more fuel, it departed at 1800 hrs that night; in the early hours of the following morning, a U-boat was detected; the convoy made an emergency turn, but it was too late for Hutchison and the Avenger; U-155 had managed to fire three torpedoes, one of which struck the aircraft carrier amidships ripping through her Bomb Room, igniting her ammunition and tearing apart; the captain of the nearby Ulster Monarch reported to the Admiralty, “At 0315 a vivid reddish flash appeared on the starboard side of Avenger, stretching the whole length of the ship and lasting about two seconds. This flash made a perfect silhouette of the ship and was followed by a pall of black smoke. After the flash, nothing more was seen of Avenger; a destroyer searched until dawn but was only able to find and rescue 12 survivors out of a complement of 550 – this time Hutchison was not amongst the lucky ones; it was the third time that 802 Squadron had been wiped out when a carrier had sunk underneath them; no pilots survived; Hutchison is commemorated on the Fleet Air Arm Memorial, Lee-on-Solent.XXXX