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Culdrose aircrew pay tribute to World War Two heroes

Culdrose aircrew pay tribute to World War Two heroes
28 February 2018
Whilst honing their skills in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare in the North Atlantic, aircrew from RNAS Culdrose paid tribute to their World War Two predecessors.

The aviators visited the memorial to a Second World War battle where 829 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), now based at Culdrose, played a key role. 

As part of World War Two Operation Tungsten, they flew Fairey Barracuda bomber aircraft from the Fleet Carrier HMS Victorious against the German Battleship Tirpitz.

As a result of this action the Tirpitz was critically damaged and later sank. For this work 829 NAS received their most prominent battle honours.

The aircrew from 829 NAS Tungsten flight felt honoured and humbled to lay a wreath that commemorates so many fallen sailors.

Operating from the Type 23 Frigate, HMS Westminster, Tungsten Flight have been working in the cold and challenging Artic waters, just as their predecessors had done in World War Two.

For the ship and Merlin helicopter, their mission was to practice their skills of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, roles they need when protecting the UK.

For the World War Two aircrew operating from HMS Victorious they were defending the all-important Arctic Convoys against German U boats, the Luftwaffe, and the threat from mighty Kriegsmarine battleships such as the 53,000 tonne Tirpitz.

During Operation Tungsten, 829 NAS flew nine Fairey Barracuda bomber aircraft as part of a larger force of 52, launching from the Fleet carrier HMS Victorious.

The attack achieved great surprise, resulting in heavy damage to the ship and rendering her effectively unable to operate at sea.

Later, Tirpitz was moved to Tromso, Norway, to defend the city from Allied assault. It was here that she finally met her fate in Nov 1944, sunk by a force of RAF Lancaster bombers.

On the 15th February 2018, four aircrew from 829 NAS Tungsten Flight visited a memorial to the sinking of the Tirpitz on Hakoya Island, Norway whilst HMS Westminster was alongside in Tromso.

The location overlooks the fjord where the Tirpitz was finally sunk. A wreath was laid and the brave men who flew in the attacks, as well as the 1000+ Kriegsmarine sailors who were killed when the Tirpitz was sunk, were remembered.

829 NAS provides the Merlin Mk2 Helicopter which operate from RN Daring-class (Type 45) Destroyers and Duke-class (Type 23) Frigates such as HMS Westminster.

Today 829, and other units of the Royal Navy, are operating in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans in support of our allies just as we have done since the days of Operation Tungsten.

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