During a visit to Navy Wings at RNAS Yeovilton hosted by the Chief Executive – Liveryman Jock Alexander, the Crown Jeweller, Corporate Freeman Mark Appleby was able to inspect one of the last remaining Fairey Swordfish which was certainly a jewel in the crown of the Fleet Air Arm in WWII. Michael Infante, who is due to be admitted to the Livery on 27 April, also enjoyed the tour.
The Swordfish was nicknamed the “Stringbag” because, like the shopping bags of the day, it could accommodate practically anything. It could carry a 1610lb torpedo or a variety of depth charges, bombs, mines, rockets or flares. It played an important part in many aspects of WWII ranging from protection of the Atlantic and Arctic convoys flying from aircraft carriers, through the attack on Taranto in 1940 where 21 of them effectively stopped the Italian battlefleet taking any aggressive part in WWII – to one of them putting a torpedo through the steering gear of the Bismark, thereby enabling the home fleet to sink her with gunfire.
As the aim of Navy Wings is to inspire future generations by flying its historic aircraft at shows around the country, Liverymen are encouraged to keep a weather eye open for this iconic Stringbag as the 2022 season is about to commence.