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A22 Fairey Battle

The prototype Fairey Battle first flew on 10 March 1936, and was the forerunner of 2419 production models for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although obsolescent by 1939, Battles were the first aircraft to be sent to France with the Advance Air Striking Force (AASF). On 20 September 1939, a Battle claimed the first German aircraft shot down in the western war. On 10 May 1940, Flying Officer Garland, in Battle P2204, was awarded the first RAF Victoria Cross of World War II. During 1940, Battles were withdrawn from operations, and many were shipped to Canada and Australia as training aircraft.

In Australia the RAAF prefix A22 was allocated to the Battle, but the aircraft retained their RAF serial numbers. The first four Battles (P2167, P2169, P5239, P5247) were delivered to No 1 Aircraft Park at Geelong on 30 April 1940, and Flight Lieutenant J. Lerew tested the first assembled aircraft, P5239, on 29 June 1940. Thereafter, Battle deliveries steadily increased until the 366th and last Battle, V1202, was received at No 2 Aircraft Park on 7 December 1943.

In addition to the bomber version, a number of Battle target-tugs, and Battle dual-trainers, with two separate cockpits, were also imported. Battles operated mainly at Bombing and Air Gunnery Schools until 1945, and were finally phased out of service in 1949.

In 1940, Pilot Officer R. Givens, of the RAF's No 88 Squadron, flew Battle K9297 in combat over France with the AASF (Advance Air Striking Force), and in 1941, he flew the same aircraft, K9297, in Australia as an instructor on exchange duty with the RAAF.

TECHNICAL DATA: Fairey Battle Mk I


Three-seat light bomber. All metal stressed-skin construction.


One 1,030 hp RR Merlin I, II, III or V.


Span 16.46 m (54 ft); length 12.85 m (52 ft 1.75 in); height 4.27m (15 ft 6 in).


Empty 3015 kg (6,647 lb); loaded 4895 kg (10,792 lb).


Max speed 388 km/h (209 kt); Range 1448 km (782 nm); Service ceiling 23,500 ft (7163 m).


One Browning gun forward and one Vickers K gun aft; Bomb load, 454 kg (1,000 lb). Back to top

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