The Sea Fury and Firefly In Service With The Ran Fleet Air Arm Part II
In the second instalment of this three-part series, Eric Allen charts the post-World War II and Korean War service of the Sea Fury and Firefly
“The sea fury and firefly squadrons now entered a period of pilot training both on land and sea”
Introduction to service and training
The formal acceptance of HMAS Sydney on 5 February 1949 saw her sail from HMNB Devonport, Plymouth, on 15 February followed by several weeks of working up exercises at Moray Firth, Scotland. After a departure on 12 April, the ship arrived at Jervis Bay on 25 May carrying Sea Furies of 805 Squadron and Fireflies of 816 Squadron. The 54 aircraft on board were ferried ashore and towed by road over 30 kilometres to HMAS Albatross. A lack of accommodation at the base, with construction then under way, saw aircrew and families living at Nowra showgrounds in caravans, with capacity extended using Spitfire shipping crates. To assist pilot training, No. 816 and other squadrons initially had the benefit of Royal Navy pilots attached to units, both on land and sea, offering the benefit of their experience. One wonders what these RN personnel made of their new antipodean living conditions. The ship returned to England departing from Sydney on 7 June 1950 to embark Sea Furies of 808 Squadron and Fireflies of 817 Squadron of the 21st Carrier Air Group. Further working up exercises were conducted with a departure for Australia in October, arriving in Sydney on 8 December 1950. Between January and September 1951, the ship conducted exercises in Australian waters.
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