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F-35 pilot, Commander Nathan Gray, will fly a Swordfish onto the deck of Queen Elizabeth.

Today, 25th July 2018, Commander Nathan Gray, who will be the first pilot to land an F35 on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth later this year, took a flight in the Historic Flight’s Mk1 Swordfish. 100-year old WW2 veteran and Swordfish pilot Ian Templer, also paid a visit to talk to Commander Gray and to see the plane go for a short flight.

The Fairey Swordfish was a 1930s torpedo bomber biplane that served as a frontline attack aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) of the Royal Navy. Hardly faster than the old WW I SPADs and Nieuports, it was already obsolete by the time it entered service in 1936. Despite being antiquated, it sank more tonnage than any other Allied plane during World War II and served from the beginning of the war until the end. Of its most famous missions, it played a role in the attack of the strategic Italian port of Taranto and it made a critical strike that led to the sinking of the most famous of all German battleships, the Bismarck. The Swordfish also had the capability to serve as a dive-bomber, perform night missions, and pioneered the use of Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) radar. It was nicknamed “Stringbag” as it was compared to a housewife’s string shopping bag, common at the time, due to its ability to carry an unlikely combination of loads. The nickname was meant as a compliment.


Photo and current information copyright and courtesy of the MOD.

Additional information and the second photo of the Swordfish


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