The Nos 52 and 63 Squadrons received the Battle in March 1937.
By 1938 17 squadrons were equipped with the Battle.
Once war broke out in 1939, ten Battle equipped squadrons (Nos 12, 40, 88, 98, 103, 105, 142, 150, 218, 226) were moved to France with the Advanced Air Striking Force.
On September 20, 1939, a Fairey Battle shot down a German aircraft, the first of World War II.
Battles were unfortunately used without fighter escort and suffered severe losses. On September 30, 1939, No. 150 Squadron went on a bombing mission where four out of five of the aircraft were shot down.
First Victorian Crosses of World War II
The very first Victorian Crosses to be awarded in World War II were posthumously to a Battle crew that attacked the Maastricht bridges on May 10, 1940. These men were Flying Officer D. E. Garland and Sergeant T. Gray of No. 12 Squadron.
In this attack four of the five aircraft were shot down.
On May 14, 1940, 70 (71) Battles raided Sedan, and of those 40 were lost. They were from the Nos 12, 103, 105, 150, and 218 Squadrons.
After the severe losses the Battles were withdrawn from front line duty and converted into trainers. Some were shipped to Canada to be used in air gunnery schools.
Belgium received Battles.