An airborne attack on the might of the German Battle Fleet has been remembered 75 years on. 

18 naval aviators, flying six Swordfish biplanes, demonstrated unsurpassed bravery in an attack in the English Channel.

Now, it's been commemorated in Yeovilton with a flypast by four Wildcat helicopters of 825 Naval Air Squadron (825 NAS).

Channel Dash 75th Anniversary Flypast

It's part of the 75th anniversary commemorations of Operation Fuller, which took place in response to the German Navy's 'Channel Dash'.

The six Swordfish torpedo-bombers of 825 NAS were lost and 13 of the 18 naval aircrew died, with five rescued alive from the Dover Straits. Commanding Officer of 825 NAS Commander Simon Collins said:

"I am delighted that we are able to mark this significant anniversary today in such a fitting manner, to remember the bravery and sacrifice of our forbearers in 825 Naval Air Squadron. 

"Not only is it an opportunity for us to remember but also to share our current squadron experiences with such a wide and varied range of guests.

"825 NAS is at the forefront of the future of the FAA [Fleet Air Arm] as it delivers frontline flights to operations and trains all Wildcat aircrew and engineers. This will be our next legacy."

A commemorative service at the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church honoured the 18 brave men who fought despite the impossible odds. 

Operation Fuller is now regarded as one of the most daring and courageous in the history of naval aviation. Former Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral The Lord Boyce said:

"Royal Navy history is rich in stories of actions that have been taken in the full knowledge that the 'ultimate sacrifice' was inevitable. There can be no better example of this than that Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde of Fleet Air Arm 825 Squadron who, 75 years ago, led six Swordfish against the heavily defended and powerful German flotilla making its Channel Dash on 12th February 1941 – knowing as they closed the enemy that their annihilation was certain.  We rightly honour his name and those of the other seventeen Swordfish aircrew, only five of whom survived, with humility and awe."

A 75th anniversary memorial service dedicated to all personnel who took part in Operation Fuller will be held in Dover on 30 September 2017.

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