THE OTHER FLEET AIR ARM HUNTER SQUADRONS...

738 NAS

No. 738 Naval Air Squadron (738 NAS)

738 NAS was first formed at Quonset Point, USA on 1st February 1943 as a training Squadron equipped with Corsairs, Martlets, and Harvards. It moved to Lewiston in July 1943, where it took on examples of the Avenger, and the Squadron provided advanced carrier training for pilots that had received their preliminary training with US Navy Squadrons. The instruction included patrol, simulated forced landings, simulated dummy deck landings, night flying, and anti submarine bombing. Once the training was complete the pilots would be posted onto the frontline FAA Squadrons that were forming in the USA.
738 Sqn changed bases again in February 1945 when it moved to Brunswick, and it stayed in commission for a further five months, before disbandment in July that year.

On 1st May 1950, 738 NAS reformed at RNAS Culdrose from the remnants of 736 NAS, and became a part of the Naval Air Fighter School. Receiving a fleet of Seafire F.XVIIs and Sea Furies, newly qualified pilots were given tuition in operational air-to-air and air-to-ground firing. Part of the Squadron broke away to form 759 NAS in August 1951, and 738 standardised its fleet to Sea Furies.

Moving to RNAS Lossiemouth in November 1953, 738 NAS gained Sea Hawk and Sea Vampire aircraft in 1954, and the Sea Furies were gradually withdrawn from service, the last leaving in March 1955. Now a jet squadron, 738 NAS was responsible for converting the FAA piston-engined pilots onto jet aircraft. During the rest of the decade, the Squadron lost, and then later regained, the Sea Hawks and Vampires, and also took the Sea Venom FAW21 on strength from October 1957 until October 1960. The Squadron became the Naval Air Fighter School in 1958 and it kept this role until 1962 when it retired its Sea Hawk FGA.6 fleet and became an Advanced Training Squadron.

In line with its new role, examples of the Hunter GA.11 and T.8 began to arrive at RNAS Lossiemouth during June 1962. Commanded by Lt. Cdr. F. Hefford, DSC, 738ís tasks included low-level Navigation, ground attack and air-to-air weapons training. Owing to congestion at Lossiemouth 738NAS relocated to RNAS Brawdy in Wales, where it operated as phase 2 of the Advanced Flying Training course, giving tuition on fighter tactics and weapons release to pupils from 759 NAS, also based at Brawdy.
The Squadron was decommissioned on 8th May 1970 and the Hunters were absorbed into the fleets of the other Squadrons.


738 NAS images

At present there are 8 images are available to download.

Hunter GA.11 WW639/LM648 photographed at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day, 30th June 1962. The first public appearance of the GA.11.

[© Martyn Watts]

Hunter GA.11 XF301/BY791 photographed at RNAS Brawdy's Air Day, 6th August 1966.

[© Ray Deacon]

Hunter GA.11 XE682/BY786 photographed at RNAS Brawdy's Air Day, 6th August 1966.

[© Ray Deacon]

Hunter T.8 XF322/BY780 photographed at RNAS Brawdy's Air Day, 6th August 1966.

[© Ray Deacon]

Hunter GA.11 WV382/BY784 photographed at RNAS Brawdy's Air Day, 6th August 1966.

[© Ray Deacon]

Hunter T.8 XF357/BY779 photographed at RNAS Brawdy's Air Day, 6th August 1966.

[© Ray Deacon]

Hunter GA.11 XF297/BY781 photographed at RNAS Brawdy's Air Day, 6th August 1966.

[© Ray Deacon]

Hunter GA.11 XE717/BY794 photographed at RNAS Brawdy's Air Day, 6th August 1966.

[© Ray Deacon]

Can you help with further photos? If so please get in touch. Full credit will of course be given

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