A Brief History

'No.1849 Royal Navy Squadron'

Most of the personnel, formed and assembled at Townhill Camp, in June 1944 and left Liverpool, on the troopship 'Queen Mary', destined for Brunswick, Maine, U.S.A., via New York, where pilot's were awaiting form-up on August 1st 1944.

No.1849 Squadron Pilots.

The Squadron consisted of, Commanding Officer Lt. Cdr. Patrick Chilton R.N., Senior Pilot Lt. Grogan R.C.N.V.R. and pilot's, S/L. Bardner, S/L. Borthwick, S/L. Bouchard, S/L. English, S/L. George, S/L. Gurnhill, S/L. Laine, S/L. Lynch, S/L. McKinstry, S/L. Rickell and S/L. Rouse. All but two of the pilot's, passed through H.M.S. St. Vincent at Gosport, Hampshire and progressed together through the various stages of Flight Training in the United States. S/L. Rouse wrote a Squadron ditty and played the guitar and S/L. Bardner was an accomplished classical pianist. All except the Commanding Officer and Senior Pilot, were trained in the United States and earned their 'wings' at Pensacola, Florida in late 1943.

No.1849 RN Squadron, USNAS. Brunswick, Maine, USA - 1944. Back row (l to r) S/L. Lynch, S/L. English, S/L. George, S/L. Rouse, S/L. Laine, S/L. Sheppard, S/L. Stacey, S/L. Rickell. Centre row (l to r) S/L. Aspen, ?, Sen. Pilot Lt. Grogan RCNVR, C.O. Lt. Cdr. Chilton, S/L. Wadsworth, S/L. Borthwick. S/L. Bardner. Front row (l to r) ?, S/L. Ewing, S/L. McKinstry.

1849 Squadron Group photo, taken at HMS. Saker, Brunswick, Maine, USA in 1944.

S/L. Norman McKinstry in a Corsair at Bar Harbor, Maine, in September 1944.

Lt. Grogan was from British Columbia, Canada and through family connections and to help the war effort, arranged for a tribe of Native American Indian's to adopt 1849 Squadron. The Indian's named the Squadron "Thunderbirds" and gave each aircraft an Indian name, which was painted on the individual aircraft. A photo taken at Brunswick shows C.O. Chilton, S/L. Borthwick and S/L. McKinstry accepting the Totem.

C.O. Pat Chilton (left) S/L. Stanley Borthwick (centre) and S/L. Norman McKinstry (right) with Totem. Corsair 6V11 (JS 655) in background.

S/L. Stanley Borthwick (left) hands the Totem to C.O. Pat Chilton in the Corsair cockpit. S/L. Norman McKinstry standing (right).

ADDL's Ellsworth Airfield.

It is fair to say, that 1849 Squadron had an 'Esprit De Corps' above average. Flying was tighter than usual and this probably led to a mid-air collision at Brunswick, while flying Squadron formation to Bar Harbor, Maine on September 11th 1944, both S/L. Bouchard and S/L. Gurnhill lost their lives. Both are interred at the U.S. Navy Cemetery at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

C.O. Pat Chilton as Bats Officer, during ADDL's at Bar Harbor, Maine, USA. September 1944.

1849 Squadron departed Norfolk, Virginia on November 22nd 1944 on H.M.S. Reaper for Belfast, Northern Ireland, arriving on December 6th 1944. The same day, 1849 Squadron was disbanded and part of the Squadron reformed with No.1850 Squadron.

ADDL's Ellsworth Airfield, Maine, USA, a satellite airfield of Brunswick United States Navy Air Station, being 'waved off - to high'.

Lt. Cdr. Chilton had a long and distinguished Naval career and after the war, sailed around the World with his wife as crew, he died a couple of years ago. Lt. Grogan continued flying and was killed in a flying accident after 1849 Squadron was disbanded.

S/L. J. Laine (seated) at Bar Harbor, Maine. 1944.

1849 Squadron 'Totem'.

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No.738 Training Sqdn. at Lewiston-Auburn airport (RN air facility) Maine, USA in July 1944. A holding area for Corsair pilots from Jacksonville, Florida. (left to right) S/L. P. Cann, S/L. F. English, S/L. N. McKinstry, S/L. L. MacLean and S/L. H. Bouchard.

Smoke rises from crashed aircraft near NAS. Brunswick on Monday 11th September 1944.  S/L. H. Bouchard (13V11 - JS612) and S/L. C. Gurnhill (8V11 - JS669) both killed.  U.S. and R.N. ground crew look on.

Compiled mostly from memory, logbook & old photograph's by Norman McKinstry & Stanley Borthwick. (Former 1849 & 1850 Squadron pilots)



1849 Squadron Aircraft

Chance-Vought F3A-1 Corsair III ordered from Brewster Aeronautical Corporation under Contract No. a(S)172, Requisition No. N-1113, numbered JS 469 to JS 888. BuAer Nos. 04689 - 04774, 08550 - 08797, and 11067 - 11152. (2,000hp Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp R-2800-8). Total: 420 Aircraft.

Serial No.

Code Arrival Departure Comments

JS 547




JS 548 '10V11' 03.09.44 23.10.44 Incident. Wingtip hit by JS 668 on 10.10.44. Repaired. Replacement for JS 662, lost on 30.08.44.
JS 571 '17V11' 28.09.44 23.10.44  
JS 573 '4V11' .08.44 23.10.44  
JS 581 '19V11' 11.09.44 23.10.44  
JS 612 '13V11' 01.08.44 11.09.44 Lost. In formation at 800-1000 feet, tail cut off by JS 669. Crashed near Clinton, Maine., on 11.09.44. S/L. H. R. Bouchard killed.
JS 615 '7V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 655 '6V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44 Featured in Totem Pole photographs.
JS 657 '9V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 660 '5V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 661 '8V11' 26.09.44 23.10.44 Replacement for JS 669, lost 11.09.44.
JS 662 '10V11' 01.08.44 30.08.44 Lost. Hit sea, low flying, ditched and sank within 30 seconds 30.08.44. S/L. E. P. George O.K.
JS 663 '11V11' 01.08.44 29.09.44 Unserviceable. No other details. Replaced by JS 876.
JS 665 '3V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 667 '18V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 668 '14V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44 Incident. Overran wingtip of JS 548 on 10.10.44. S/L. F. C. English.
JS 669 '8V11' 01.08.44 11.09.44 Lost. In formation at 800-1000 feet, hit tail of JS 612 and cut it off. Crashed near Clinton, Maine., on 11.09.44. S/L. C. P. Gurnhill killed. Replaced by JS 661.
JS 670 '12V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 671   01.08.44 14.08.44 Lost. Head on collision at 8000 feet, with F3A-1 Corsair. Crashed near Clinton, Maine., 14.08.44. S/L. R. J. Wadsworth killed.
JS 719 '18V11' 01.08.44 .09.44  
JS 802 '2V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 869 '16V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 875 '1V11' 01.08.44 23.10.44  
JS 876 '11V11' 22.10.44 23.10.44 Replacement for JS 663. (Unserviceable)
JT 173 '5S' .08.44 .09.44 Not a Squadron aircraft. F4U-1.


25 Aircraft

2 Incidents

4 Aircraft Lost

3 Pilots Killed

Aircraft Coding

'1V11' to '19V11' from 01.08.44 to 23.10.44

6th December 1944, Squadron disbanded

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