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Gannet Airframe Histories


Unlike other RAN aircraft types, the side numbers on Gannets were changed from time to time, with any particular airframe bearing three or more during its life.  This has made things a little difficult in the identification of which airframe was which in the many photographs we have. The following table and the linked individual aircraft pages were compiled from information supplied by ADF Serials; Ross Gillet’s book Wings Across The Sea and Ben Patynowski’s book Submarine Hunter. Photographs from these and other sources were used to cross reference side and airframe numbers. Where we have personally correlated the two we have marked the side number detail in green in the table below. Readers are encouraged to inform us of any corrections or errors they perceive.


Type RAN Codes Delivered Aircraft History
WN456 AS.1 433/B, 312/Y,  811/M, 884(NW), 884/M, 815/M 08/05/56 816 Sqn. Ditched fatal 23/03/65 off HMAS Melbourne.
A/SBLT(P) J.Hutchinson RAN LT(O) Bessel-Browne & LAUC K.Ryan. Aircraft on landing on HMAS Melbourne caught number 4 wire, hook broke and A/C trickled off angled flight deck and went into sea. Pilot lost but remainder of crew safe.
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WN457 AS.1 434(B),  436/B, 433/Y,  310/Y,  313/Y,  436/Y, 816/M, 887(NW) 08/05/56 Ditched 25/04/63 816 Sqn SBLT (P) Noel Dennett RAN. Engine failure after catapult launch from HMAS Melbourne. Crew rescued unhurt.
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WN458 AS.1 435/B, 314(Y), 434, 313 08/05/56 725 Sqdn. Crashed fatal 15/10/59,when aircraft failed to maintain height during single engine landing at RANAS Nowra. ASLT(P) A.L Mauritz RAN Killed.
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WN459 AS.1 436/B, 434/B, 313 08/05/56 817 Sqn,
Crashed Fatal 10/11/55 in sea near Isle of Wight.
Crew of Lt(O) D Padgett RAN SBLT(P) J.P Van Gelder RAN and ACMN(T) N.J Self killed
XA326 AS.1 432(B), 311(Y), 825/M, 880/NW, 853/M 08/05/56 Damaged 11/8/56 LEUT Rowe(P) RAN when nose oleo collapsed on catapult.Withdrawn 15/08/67.
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XA327 AS.1 426/B, 305/Y, 880/NW, 890/NW, 884/NW, 852(M), 852(NW) 08/05/56 Withdrawn 15/08/67,
Used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
XA328 AS.1 425(B), 304(Y), 827/M 08/05/56 Withdrawn 15/08/67,
Scrapped 1968.
XA329 AS.1 424/B, 973/NW, 829(M), 814/M, 819(M) 08/05/56 Withdrawn 15/08/67,
Sold 30/04/68, reportedly to McCulloch of Landsvale.
XA330 AS.1 423/B, 302(Y), 308(Y), 882(NW) 08/05/56 Crashed 20/02/1961, Nowra NSW. 725 Sqdn.  Aircraft accident resulted from the undercarriage being left down during a single engine flypast. Aircraft stalled and landed in trees, crew unhurt. Reduced to components.
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XA331 AS.1 422/B, 301(Y), 824(M), 859(M) 08/05/56 Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
On display Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra QLD.
XA332 AS.1 421/B, 421/Y, 300(Y) 08/05/56 Crashed 30/01/59, near Miranda Sydney. Tail assembly failed in flight. Fatal. Aircraft had just been accepted from factory at Bankstown. 816 SQN test pilot LEUT(P) Peter Arnold RN killed.
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XA333 AS.1/T.2 431/B, 310(Y), 857(NW), 857/M, 877/M 08/05/56 Converted to T.2. Trainer
Damaged 21/02/61 Nowra.
Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
XA334 AS.1 431, 308/Y, 313(Y), 832(M), 832/Y, 860(M) 08/05/56 Damaged during barrier landing on HMAS Melbourne. 6/67.
Single engine failure on catapult launch; arrestor hook failed to pick up a wire and aircraft crashed into safety barrier.
Not economically repairable. Withdrawn from service.
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XA343 AS.1 309/Y, 315/Y, 307(Y), 881/M 08/05/56 817 Sqn.
Damaged 17/02/58, wheels up landing at NAS Nowra.
Lt (P) M.Astbury 817 Sqdn RAN undercarriage would not lower. Crew uninjured.
Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
Struck off 02/11/70.
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XA350 AS.1 316/881/817  881(NW), 884(NW) 08/05/56 817 Sqn.
1/11/56 made the first live Mk 30 torpedo drop in the RAN near Manus Island whilst being flown by LCDR(P) Gledhill,LEUT(O) Palmer & SBLT(O) Selsmak RAN.
Damaged 27/08/59. 816 Sqn. Ditched 16/03/63, off HMAS Melbourne near Manus Island. Flight control lost after engine relight. Crew LT(P) J Smith RAN LT(O)I.Lawson & Observer P.Hancox rescued & returned to HMAS Melbourne.
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XA351 AS.1 305(Y), 831/M, 816/M 08/05/56 Sold for Scrap 30/03/67.
XA356 AS.1 829(M) 08/05/56 Crashed 30/03/60 on landing on HMAS Melbourne.
Flown by Lt P McNay RAN 816 Sqdn. Aircraft sank on approach and struck round down, port mainplane sheared off at root and aircraft came to rest on it side.
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XA359 AS.1 303/Y, 306/Y, 309(Y), 315/M, 08/05/56 816 Sqdn Flown by Lt(P) Roland RAN Ditched 09/05/60 off HMAS Melbourne. Single engine failure on being catapulted.
Ditched ahead of the ship. Crew safe.
XA389 AS.1 303/Y, 306/Y, 880/M, 814/M, 315/M 08/05/56 Sold for Scrap 30/03/67.
XA403 AS.1 311(Y)  831(M) 08/05/56 Served with 817 Sqn. Damaged aboard Melbourne July 61. Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
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XA434 AS.1 830(M), 810/M, 846/M, 846(NW) 08/05/56 Flew with 725 , 816 and 817 Squadron RAN.
Withdrawn 15/08/67. On display Fleet Air Arm Museum.
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XA436 AS.1 306/Y ? Ditched 17/06/58 off HMAS Melbourne.
Pilot LtCdr Payne RAN Senior Pilot 816 Sqdn and crew rescued safely
XA514 T.2 878/M, 854/M, 878(NW) 08/05/56 Withdrawn 15/08/67,T2 Trainer. Flown by Lt(P) Cabban RAN 724 Sqdn coded 791 on 13/11/1956. Aircraft suffered an engine overspeed, engine shut down but not feathered.
Aircraft damaged beyond repair on subsequent landing adjacent to runway. Used for firefighting HMAS Albatross. More details here: More Info
XA517 T.2 876(NW), 876/M, 855/M,
972(NW), 855(NW)
08/05/56 Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
XD898 AS.1 826(M), 811/M, 847(M) 1957 Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
XG784 AS.1 822(NW), 810/M, 811/M, 828/M 09/58 Damaged 01/61 during landing.
Flown by CO 816 Sqdn L/Cdr T Dadswell on the night of the 10/2/1964 who witnessed  the collision of HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Voyager.
Sold for Scrap 30/03/67.
XG785 AS.1 833(M), 813/M, 883(NW) 09/58 Sold for Scrap 30/03/67.
XG787 AS.1 815(M), 818/M, 828(M) 1957 Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
XG789 AS.1 811/M, 841(M) 09/58 Withdrawn 15/08/67.
Sold to AARG. Eventually purchased by the National Aviation Museum in Moorabbin, VIC.  Was transported as deck cargo aboard HMAS Sydney, which at that time was being used as a logistics support ship.
XG791 AS.1 812/M, 813/M, 830/M 09/58 Sold for Scrap 30/03/67.
XG792 AS.1 813(M)  831(M) 09/58 816 Sqn. Coded 813
Crew Lt(P) D.Farthing RAN LT(O) G.Bessel-Browne RAN & POACM McCreanor.
Ditched 02/02/65, off HMAS Melbourne near Kiama NSW.
Both Engines failed after launch.
Some wreckage recovered to HMAS Albatross.
Crew returned safely to HMAS Melbourne.
XG795 AS.1 813/M, 826(M), 811(M), 814/M, 815/M 09/58 816 Sqdn. Coded as 815,
Sold for Scrap 30/03/67.
XG796 AS.1 812/M, 816(M), 815(M), 882/M, 858(M) 09/58 10/01/1964 LEUT(P)P Adams RAN and crew made a wheels up landing on the bomb bay doors at NAS Nowra,HMAS Albatross, when the undercarriage would not come down.
816 Sqn. Crashed 24/02/66 Lt(P) Fyfe RAN.
Whilst carrying out his first night deck arrested landing on HMAS Melbourne, took his wave off too late catching six and came to a stop hanging over the port side by the wire.
Crew rescued uninjured. Aircraft fell into sea during subsequent unsuccessful recovery attempt.
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XG825 AS.1 13(M), 813/M, 843/M 09/58 Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
XG826 AS.1 810, 813, 817 09/58 Withdrawn 15/08/67, used for firefighting HMAS Albatross.
XG888 T.2 09, 58 09/58 Returned to Royal Navy and converted to T.5.
Returned to Fleet Air Arm Museum Nowra NSW.
Was displayed in Royal Navy scheme but has since been restored to RAN scheme.
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