Right, the last post seemed to have generated quite a deal of interest. So I thought I'd put a few more ones here. After the Battle of Britain, my father served with 888 Squadron on HMS Formidable for quite some time before being promoted to command 1839 (Hellcats). 888 flew the Martlet or Wildcat in American parlance. It was an American aircraft and originally came into Fleet Air Arm hands as an order by the French never got delivered for some reason! Its interesting that it was not chosen by the US Navy as it lost a competition with the Brewster Buffalo, an awful machine that was massacred by the Japanese Zeros when they first met. The Wildcat did have some overheating issues in the early days but by the time the FAA had it, it was a fine little machine. The FAA had to go down this route as thanks to neglect by the RAF during the inter war years the only British fighter aircraft the FAA had was the Blackburn Roc, which only had guns that could fire backwards!! If you don't believe me have a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackburn_Roc
888 spent most of their time flying in the Mediterranean and had some busy times as the previous post shows. It was also a dangerous business in those days, with no angled flight decks. If you missed an arrester wire you went into a webbing barrier. Later in the war when flying Hellcats off Indomnitable my father's arrester hook failed and he elected to boot it over the side rather than take the barrier, apparently the water was quite warm.
When you have an accident in an RN aircraft you have to fill out a form called an A25. Strangely, there is a very famous song in the FAA called 'The A25 song'. The first verse is:
They say in the Air Force and landing's OK
If the pilot gets out and can still walk away
But in the fleet Air Arm the prospects are grim
If the landing's piss poor and the poor bastard can't swim: