811 Squadron transfers to HMS Vindex

 Vindex  was built at Swan Hunter, Tyne, laid down 1 July 1942 as uncompleted refrigerated cargo hull Port Sydney, and subsequently bought by the Royal Navy in October 1942. She was launched on 4 May 1943 and commissioned 3 December 1943 as HMS Vindex.

This was a  "naval" escort carrier as opposed to the "merchant" escort carriers (e.g. HMS Biter). These British conversions were all twin-screw vessels with enclosed hangars and relatively long steel flight decks. HMS Vindex used empty oil drums to fill void space as Torpedo protection.

HMS Vindex operated with 825 squadron for most of the war, except for a short spell with 811(Oct-Nov 1944) and in April 1945 with 813.

GMA was aware of a rumour that Vindex had collided with the Queen Mary  but knew no details


 Queen Mary on the Clyde

HMS Vindex operated on convoys to Russia docking in the Kola Inlet (Murmansk)

HMS Biter & 811 squadron convoys in 1944 (GMA present)

Convoy sailed Biter joined Convoy No Biter left convoy Convoy arrived Convoy from Convoy to Logbook Ref.
20 October 22 October JW061 28 October 28 October UK (Iceland) N.Russia M1
2 November 2 November RA061 7 November 9 November N.Russia UK (Iceland) N1

on GMA's left is Jim Palmer from 811 squadron: he was promoted to "Commander, Flying".

(See also peace time photograph of Jim Palmer under " Friends")

Vindex in dry dock


HMS  VINDEX - Vindex-class Escort Carrier



811 Squadron nominated for service on board in place of 825 Squadron.

(Note : Work-up flying programme for new Squadron had to be reduced until repair completed.)


After repair completed deployed to carry out flying exercises for 811 Squadron in Clyde . 
(Actually 8th see Logbook)


 Sailed from Clyde for Scapa Flow to rejoin Home Fleet for TRIAL.


Joined JW61:  Six Ex US Navy PC Boats also took passage with JW61. 
Carrier aircraft carried out anti-submarine patrols


Two SWORDFISH aircraft delayed in landing by weather conditions. 
WILDCAT aircraft launched to intercept unknown aircraft which was found to be friendly.


SWORDFISH aircraft crashed into sea on return to ship. Despite rescue attempts both of crew lost their lives.
Detached from JW61 on arrival at Kola Inlet after unscathed passage.


Sailed from Kola Inlet to join return Convoy RA61 which had left previously.

Avoided torpedo by speedy manoeuvre.


SWORDFISH aircraft crashed into sea on landing. Only one of the two aircrew was rescued .


SWORDFISH aircraft using RATOG crashed into sea after take-off. Aircrew were rescued.
(Note : One of RATOG rockets had not fired which caused crash.)
Two WILDCAT aircraft broke loose from Lashings on Flight Deck due to violent ship movement 
in severe roll of ship. One went overboard. and the other was damaged.
As a result further landings were restricted but two aircraft crashed during their return.


Detached from JW61 and returned to Clyde and Squadron aircraft flown ashore 

NOT correct: 811 squadron did not leave Vindex  until 9th December- see GMA logbook)

(Note : It was decided that 811 Squadron required further work-up to improve their night flying)

GMA: I don't remember this level of problem on this convoy. The comment about 811 squadron was not passed to us!


Vindex at Sunset: note Swordfish and Grumman  Wildcat aircraft

  According to FAA Archives there were 12 Swordfish and 4 Wildcats on HMS Vindex



Firth of Clyde

Firth of Clyde

HMS Nelson in the Clyde

Summary on completion of Murmansk operation


Note given to GMA on board Vindex (doubtful if Russians would have allowed a party of Officers to leave the ship. 

Russians got "high" on sherry (from  Gibraltar)

The note translates as :"in memory of Officer of Russian Army" with date and signature. This was apparently a standard phrase used to dedicate a photograph.

On return from Russian convoys 811 squadron was disbanded in December 1944.This was the last time that GMA flew a Swordfish.

GMA at Duxford in July 2010 in front of a preserved Swordfish