Motto: - 'Audentes fortuna juvat - Fortune helps the daring'

Role: - Operational Airborne Surveillance and Control

Base: - RNAS Culdrose


854 NAS was officially formed in 1944 flying the Grumman Avenger aircraft. Quickly they were amalgamated into No.157 Wing, RAF coastal Command and carried out anti-shipping patrols in the English Channel from Hawkinge. In September the Squadron sailed in HMS Activity bound for the Far East, equipped with the Avenger I and took part in operations at Belawan and Palembang. In addition the Squadron was involved in attacking airfields on the Sakishima Islands in the East China Seas in March and April of 1945.

In 1945 the aircraft were upgraded again to the Avenger III’s and the Squadron joined the 3rd Carrier Air Group. This deployment, however, was short lived with the aircraft being withdrawn and the Squadron disbanding a couple of months later.

World War II

The squadron was formed during the Second World War in January 1944 equipped with Grumman Avenger IIs to operate as an anti-shipping squadron. In May 1944, it arrived back in the United Kingdom, to become part of No.157 Wing, RAF Coastal Command. It operated over the English Channel to carry out anti-shipping patrols in the run-up to the D-Day Allied invasion of Europe. It left for the Far East in September 1944. The squadron carried out operations on board aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious against Sumatra in December and January 1945. In March and April the squadron attacked targets on the Sakishima Islands. 854 NAS received new Avenger IIIs in July to join the 3rd Carrier Air Group. But shortly afterwards 854 left its Avenger IIIs behind and sailed for the UK, to disband after the war on 8 December 1945.

After a ceremony on 13 December 2006 at RNAS Culdrose, the unit reformed with the Westland Sea King ASaC.7, previously A Flight, 849 Squadron. From March to July 2007 the squadron carried out counter-drug operations on board HMS Ocean, and helped to seize a tonne of cocaine.


In 2006, ‘A’ Flight 849 NAS was re-badged as 854 NAS using the Sea King ASACS Mk 7.


Avenger, Sea King


Normandy 1944, Palembang 1945, Okinawa 1945

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This webpage was updated 11th June 2021