#1296 Merlin HC3
Purchased products will not feature the Squadron Prints watermark
Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1296 - Merlin HC Mk3, ZJ128 \'M\', 846 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton. 846 Naval Air Squadron was commissioned in April 1943 at Naval Air Station Quonset Point (Rhode Island, USA) as a torpedo-bomber reconnaissance unit equipped with Avenger Mk1 aircraft, returning to the UK in July embarked in HMS RAVAGER. After a period of work-up, during which a Flight of Wildcat V fighters were added, the Squadron embarked in HMS TRACKER in January 1944 to provide anti-submarine patrols for Gibraltar convoys. HMS TRACKER was damaged in June 1944 in a collision with the Canadian frigate HMCS TEME while forming part of the naval screen for the D-Day landings, and the squadron disembarked to RAF Limavady, Northern Ireland, joining 15 Group RAF Coastal Command. A month later 846 NAS was assigned to HMS TRUMPETER, supporting mine laying off Norway until September 1944. In December, a detachment was formed and transferred to HMS PREMIER whilst the remainder of the Squadron operated from HMS TRUMPETER and RNAS Hatston in Orkney. On 4 May 1945, twelve Avenger and four Wildcat aircraft of the Squadron took part in Operation JUDGEMENT, the last air-raid of the war in Europe. The Fighter Flight was subsequently disbanded after the end of hostilities. 846 NAS was then assigned to the 4th Carrier Group and deployed to the Far East aboard the fleet carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, however, a change of plans led to the Squadron becoming a trials unit. It was renumbered 751 NAS until it was disbanded at Machrihanish, in September 1945. 846 NAS was reformed in 1962 as a Commando Squadron equipped with the Westland Whirlwind HAS7. It deployed to Borneo aboard the Commando Carrier HMS ALBION and flew in support of actions against guerrillas during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. British Army units gave 846 NAS the nickname ‘Junglies’ in Borneo, a moniker which has endured and is used today. After returning from the Far East, 846 NAS was again disbanded, only to be reformed in 1968 at RNAS Culdrose. This time the squadron was equipped with the Westland Wessex HU5. The Squadron deployed aboard the Dock-Landing Ship, HMS FEARLESS and conducted cold weather trials in Norway. In May 1972 the Squadron was relocated to RNAS Yeovilton as the Wessex Headquarters and Trials Squadron and disbanded for a third time on 17 December 1975. On 1 April 1976 846 NAS was reformed from the remnants of 848 NAS as a Commando Squadron. In February 1979 the Squadron was deployed aboard the Commando Carrier HMS BULWARK and in December of the same year the Squadron started to convert to the Westland Sea King HC4. In April 1982, 846 NAS embarked aboard the carrier HMS HERMES, with elements detached to HMS FEARLESS, HMS INTREPID and MV NORLAND, as part of the Royal Navy Task Force in the Falklands conflict. During the operation 846 NAS Sea Kings flew over 2800 hours, completed 10,000 individual troop moves and transported more than 81,600 t of freight. In 1983, detachments were deployed aboard the carriers HMS HERMES and HMS INVINCIBLE. At the end of 1983, a detachment was deployed aboard HMS FEARLESS to the coast of Lebanon for the eventual withdrawal of British Nationals and troops from Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. In 1991, 846 NAS took part in the Gulf War. In six weeks the squadron flew a total of 1200 hours in support of Allied ground forces. After the end of hostilities, the Squadron moved to northern Iraq to assist with humanitarian relief for the Kurds. In January 1993, 846 NAS was deployed until March aboard the carrier HMS ARK ROYAL to the Adriatic as part of UN operations in Yugoslavia. Shortly after returning to the UK the Squadron was deployed to Northern Ireland to replace 707 NAS in support of security forces; a commitment which was to last until 2002. Throughout the early 2000s the Squadron was also committed to numerous deployments and operations with Amphibious Task Groups, including humanitarian relief in Turkey and South America, as well as the UK intervention in Sierra Leone. Additionally, cold weather exercises in Norway protecting NATO’s northern flank were conducted and the Squadron briefly returned to the Balkans for operations in Bosnia. In 2003 846 NAS deployed to Iraq following the invasion to provide Immediate Response casualty evacuation, trooping and surveillance. In 2006 elements of the Squadron once again assisted with the withdrawal of UK nationals and troops from Lebanon and in 2007 the Squadron re-deployed from Iraq to Afghanistan having re-equipped with the more capable Sea King HC4+. This commitment endured for 5 years before 846 NAS were withdrawn as part of the plan to transition from the Sea King to Merlin support helicopters. Having stood-down on 31 May 2013, 846 NAS stood-up in September 2014 fit for operations with its new airframe, retaking its place within the Commando Helicopter Force.