Universally known as the 'String-bag', the Fairey Swordfish had nearly a decade of distinguished service with the Royal Navy, finally outliving its intended replacement, the Albacore.

The first contract, for 86 Swordfish Mk I, was placed in April 1935 and it entered FAA service in July 1936.

At the outbreak of World War 2, thirteen front-line squadrons were equipped with Swordfish, and during the war years a further twelve were formed.

Total Swordfish production was 2391 machines; 1700 by Blackburn and 691 by Fairey.
In its torpedo bombing role, the Swordfish took part in many memorable events of the war: the decimation of the Italian fleet at Taranto in November 1940, the battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941, the crippling of the Bismarck, the 'Channel Dash' of the German pocket battleships in February 1942, and a long record of shipping destruction from bases in Malta.

As the war progressed, the Swordfish went on to such duties as convoy escort and anti-submarine patrols. Its flying qualities, which were legendary, and are illustrated by the story of one aircraft, so badly damaged by A.A. fire as to be virtually a monoplane, which nevertheless flew back successfully from the Western Desert to Great Britain for repair.

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