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The Airmen's Stories - P.O. (FAA) T J Mahoney


Timothy Joseph Mahoney was born on 31st January 1916, on 6th September 1930 he joined the Royal Marines at Plymouth as a Boy Bugler aged fourteen and a half.

He joined HMS Exeter as a bugler but on 31st January 1933 transferred to the General Duty Branch as a Marine and in May 1933 was drafted to Deal, Chatham and Plymouth for infantry and gunnery training.

He then joined HMS Dorsetshire from April 1935 to 14th June 1937 and was promoted to Corporal on 27th August 1937.

The next year Mahoney volunteered for flying training and on 8th October 1939 was transferred to the RN on probation as an Acting Leading Seaman to join No. 7 Naval Pilots Course. His Elementary Flying Training took place at Sydenham, Belfast, before further training on No. 7 (FAA) Course at 7 FTS Peterborough.

He qualified as a pilot on 27th May 1940. The next day he was promoted to Acting Petty Officer Airman and immediately commenced fighter pilot training at RNAS Eastleigh.

He joined 804 Squadron at RNAS Hatston on 18th July 1940, flying Gladiators on dockyard defence. On 31st October 1940 he landed on muddy ground at Skeabrae after his first flight in a Martlet. The aircraft tipped over but he was unhurt.

In November 1940 he was drafted back to RNAS Yeovilton and Eastleigh for refresher training but was not posted to a fighter squadron thereafter.

Instead, in May 1941 he was posted to the nascent 777 Squadron at HMS Edinburgh Castle, the base depot ship at Freetown, Sierra Leone. 777 Squadron was formed at Hastings, Sierra Leone on 1st August 1941 as a Fleet Requirements Unit.

The squadron was initially equipped with Swordfish and Rocs, to which were added Defiants and several Walruses during 1942. 

Mahoney returned to RNAS Yeovilton on 28th September 1942 to serve briefly with 790 Squadron before joining 776 Squadron at HMS Blackcap, RNAS Stretton from 25th November 1942 until 1st May 1944 during which he attended a twin engine conversion course.

In May 1944 Mahoney returned again to Lee-on-Solent for an Upper Yardman Course and on 12th January 1945 was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant. He was appointed to HMS Kestrel at RNAS Worthy Down for ferry pilot duties from 17th January to 13th March 1945 before being posted to RNAS Arbroath from 14th March to 30th May 1945 to attend a flying instructors course at 2 FIS Montrose, flying Harvards.

As a newly qualified instructor he returned to Lee-on-Solent for instructional duties in 798 Squadron from 6th June to 5th September 1945 and was promoted to Acting Lieutenant. From Lee-on-Solent Mahoney joined HMS Godwit at RNAS Hinstock, the FAA's Advanced Instrument Flying School for instructional duties in 758 and 780 Squadrons.

While here he completed the Advanced Instrument Instructors Course and on 27th November 1946 was promoted to Lieutenant.

From RNAS Hinstock he was appointed briefly to HMS Jackdaw at RNAS Crail before going to HMS Condor at RNAS Arbroath from 24th March 1947 to 30th June 1947 as the Senior Pilot of 4 Ferry Flight and also as the instructor converting pilots to fly twin-engned Oxfords.  

From Condor Mahoney then joined HMS Fieldfare at RNAS Evanton from 1st July 1947 to 30th March 1948 for its Station Flight and as Assistant to the Lieutenant Commander Flying. From Fieldfare he was appointed to RNAS Donibristle as an exchange instructor at RAF Syerston until June 1949 instructing on both Harvards and Tiger Moths.

On completion of his exchange tour, Mahoney then joined HMS Fulmar at RNAS Lossiemouth, serving in 766 Squadron from 17th June 1949 to 11th March 1950 as the officer in charge of instrument training. Unfortunately, for administrative reasons, his time in RNAS Lossiemouth was short lived and he moved to HMS Gannet at RNAS Eglinton from 26th April 1950 to 3rd April 1951 for instructional duties in 815 Squadron flying Barracudas and Fireflys plus Deck Landing Training on HMS Vengeance.

He returned to RNAS Lee-on-Solent on 4th April 1951 to 8th May 1953 serving with 781 Squadron as a member of the Instrument Flying Examining Flight, flying Barracudas, Fireflys and Oxfords. He received an above average report and was upgraded to A2 instructor before being appointed to HMS Helmsdale, a River class frigate to gain his watchkeeping certificate.

He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 1st January 1954.

From Helmsdale Mahoney was appointed back to RNAS Eglinton flying Fireflys with 719 Squadron by which time he was recognised as an experienced instructor having by then having flown over 3800 hours and holding an A2 flying instructors category and a Master Green instrument rating.

From Gannet he joined HMS Peregrine at RNAS Ford, serving with 771 Squadron until 22nd June 1956, during that tour he did a short attachment back to Gannet for a Gannet aircraft conversion course.

Back at Ford, he was lent as an instructor on Gannets to the Channel Air Division RNVR until 22nd June 1956.

Mahoney's next and final appointment was to HMS Seahawk at RNAS Culdrose as a twin conversion instructor. During this tour he was lent to 796 Squadron converting Firefly pilots to fly the Gannet and was also in charge of the Devon Flight. After his brief experience in fighters, Mahoney built up a wealth of experience on many aircraft types and clearly had a particular aptitude as an instrument flying instructor.

Mahoney retired on 29th July 1958 as a Lieutenant-Commander.

He died on 1st August 1977 in Levington, Suffolk.


Majority of research courtesy of


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