GMA transfers to 798 squadron at Lee-on-Solent for a Fighter Conversion Course.

Aircraft types flown:


The Miles Master was an advanced trainer which was designed by Miles in the late 1930s. When the design was submitted to the Air Ministry it was thought to be premature. Nevertheless the type was developed as a private venture and the first prototype flew on 3 June, 1937. With no competition the Air Ministry ordered the type on 11 June, 1939, but requested lower-performance engines. This made it 70 mph slower than the fighters of the day. Even so, the type was regarded as the best training aircraft of its time. The first of 900 aircraft flew 31 March, 1939, and when production had ended a total of 3,227 aircraft of all versions had been built.

The RAF transferred c200 Miles Master I to the Fleet Air Arm. The first arrived in February 1940 to 759 squadron (eg N7547), followed by other aircraft in September 1940. 759 squadron was the main recipient of the Master and had received all its aircraft by the end of 1940. The Fleet Air Arm gradually reduced its Masters and the last in 761 squadron, Master N7631, left in September 1944, and only one, W9018, continued as a ground instructional fuselage at Bramcote till 1948.


The Fairey Fulmar was a two-seat reconnaissance fighter.  It was a reliable, sturdy aircraft with long range.  It provided the RN with a monoplane fighter. 600 were built.

The Fairey Fulmar was designed to meet the Admiralty's urgent need for a modern shipboard fighter. The Fulmar prototype was first flown on 4 January 1940 at Ringway and served as the first production aircraft. The Fairey Fulmar was the Fleet Air Arm's first carrier-based fighter with the same weight and firepower of the RAF's Hurricane and Spitfire. In fact, the Fulmar was developed for the FAA after being being rejected by the RAF.

Many hundreds of Fairey Fulmar fighters fought over the sea in every wartime theatre. The Fulmar played important roles in the early defense of Malta and the defense of Ceylon, and went on to account for nearly 1/3 of the aircraft shot down by the FAA in WWII. Significant numbers of enemy aircraft were shot down in the Mediterranean Campaigns especially from HMS Eagle, Formidable and Illustrious, most notably on Operation Pedestal.

 The Fairey Fulmar was sufficiently well known to become a children's cartoon book.



Designed as a two-seat Fleet reconnaissance fighter based on the Fairey Fulmar,  the prototype first flew on 22 December 1941. It had a low-wing monoplane configuration with a wide-track undercarriage, smaller than the Fulmar, and provided with a more powerful engine, a single 2,250hp Rolls Royce Griffin 74 engine. The design was deliberately conventional, to bring it into service quickly, and with the trailing edge provided with patented Youngman flaps for use at low speeds and in cruise. Unlike the installation on the Barracuda, these flaps could be recessed into the wing.. Early Fireflies had a deep 'beard' radiator, later models had wing leading root intakes. The aircraft went into production on 26 August 1942 and the first production aircraft was delivered from Fairey’s Great Western Aerodrome (now London Heathrow International Airport) to RNAS Yeovilton on 4 March, 1943. A total of 1623 Firefly were built.

It was mainly used as a carrier based anti-submarine, reconnaissance and strike aircraft, with a crew of pilot and observer.  The plane carried four 20mm guns mounted in the wings and sixteen 60lb rockets or two 1,000 lb bombs. The Firefly was regarded as a versatile aircraft, taking part not only in WWII but also in the Korean war. The last of the 1702 built was delivered in 1956. The Firefly ended its naval career as a target drone.

Fairey Firefly preserved at Imperial War Museum at Duxford


GMA in front of a Fairey Firefly being renovated at Imperial War Museum at Duxford, July 2010

and in front of a restored version at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, October 2010