207 Squadron Royal Air Force History

from the Association web archive
What was New in 2001?

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Dec 2001

David Balme CMG DSO DFC MA LL.D D.Litt was the moving force behind the formation of the Association. When he died in 1989 we published a booklet of tributes to him. This is now a website - see Lancasters in Memories

Ron 'Curly' Emeny AFM passed away on 8th December 2001: our condolences go to Jess and their family: Ron served twice on 207: he evaded after suffering horrific injuries when shot down on the Mailly-Le-Camp raid of 3/4 May 1944 and was the last airman taken across the Pyrenees by the Comete Line, on June 6th 1944. He had a long career in the RAF and told any number of stories of causing consternation among the local brass when very senior officers he had known in their early days spotted him during visits or on being posted in. He played a major role in the establishment of the RAFES Museum at East Kirkby. Funeral: St John's Church, Spilsby 12.30, 14th December.

Members of families making contact:
the nephew of Sgt Charles Crux lost with the Buchanan crew on Gydnia 18/19 December 1944 (NG144 EM-G)
the son of Sgt LP Gower in the Harding crew lost on Darmstadt 25 August 1944 (PD216 EM-J)
a relative of Raymond Eglen, in the Brady crew on 207, lost in October 1945 on 99 Sqn

At last we have photos of all the Badge crew (ED412, 12/13 July 1943), commemorated at Le Bouveret: Sgt Edward Higgins' photo has come to us by a curious route involving the website, of which more in the Newsletter! See Memorials and to 207 crews

Friend Member Dwight Blok is seeking contact the families of the McCarthy crew, lost on Duisberg 24th July 1942, in which his uncle Leo LaSalle was 2nd Pilot - see Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website

Ever wondered if some aircraft letters were 'luckier' than others? Nonsense! Or is it?
207's Lancaster losses have been analysed by letter and Flight. What do you make of it?
.. see Memories, Lancasters, Lancaster losses

Nov 2001

We no longer have a mystery. At Langar on 8th October 1943 the Squadron borrowed PO-S R5868 from 467 Squadron at Bottesford for one op to Hanover, flown by P/O CW Barnett. On the previous night five of 207's Lancs had landed damaged at Ford. R5868, by the way, is the Lancaster in the RAF Museum at Hendon. [apologies for the incorrect earlier message] See Memories/Lancasters/207 Lancs by serial

A major addition: 207 Squadron's Lancasters and Lancaster losses are now available via the menu Memories, Lancasters link: these Lancaster pages are being updated all the time from various sources, so if you think you have spotted an error (or two) please let the editor know.

More images added to the Margny pages in Memorials/to 207 crews.

Dennis Buck has added a 1990 image of Devon VP958 spotted in Queensland as VH-EOB - see Memories.

Oct 2001

Via the RAF ExPOW Association site (POW Diaries page) look at Sgt Jack Read's writings when a POW, courtesy of his grandson, Colin Collings. Jack Read was the sole survivor of the Southwell crew, R5616 EM-J, missing from Bottesford 16th August 1942 for mine laying duties in the Kattegat coastal area of Denmark.

Maurice Askew
, Flight Engineer in the Jarvis crew, Lancaster III EE126 EM-A lost on Leipzig 19/20 Feb 1944 has joined from New Zealand.  Although he has kept in touch with his Bomb Aimer, Phil Paddock, he has completely lost any contact with his Skipper Wally Jarvis, and Syd Pearson, his Navigator. He's seeking renewed contact with them or their families and with the families of those who died: Jeff Morey, Wireless Operator; M/UG Len Linton RCAF and R/G Sam Rogers, from Canada in the RAFVR. email mandas@xtra.co.nz

Gabi Fisher is looking for information about Flying Officer Harry Rowan Briggs RAF, who was kia on 10 June 1944, age 24 in the raid on Etampes. He was the pilot of Lancaster MkI ME678 EM-N. Gabi is the daughter of Harry Brigg's widow Pamela. email gabi.fisher@bbc.co.uk

The Avro Aircraft page in Useful Links now has an interesting illustrated site about the Building and instrument restoration of a Lancaster nose section.

Sep 2001

Ron Winton ISM, our retiring Secretary, who has also been Membership Secretary since the start of the Association, had a terrific send-off at our reunion at the Midland Hotel Derby on 15th September. Thank you to all members who sent messages for his card and who contributed to the four-figure sum collected for him. We presented his wife Eileen with a bouquet. Ron will still do a few key jobs off the Committee, such as the Reunion Dinner seating plan.

Kevin Mapley was elected Secretary & Frank Haslam was elected Membership Secretary. More news to follow shortly.

If you still have a 207 reunion lapel badge (any recent vintage!), please post it to Frank Haslam (address on the newsletter).

Aug 2001

The dedication of the Airfield Memorial on the site of RAF Spilsby went off very well on August 25th, attended by over 200 people. Congratulations to the organising committee - Kevin Mapley, Ron Winton, Sheilagh Wilford and Ron Emeny. See 207 Memorials in the Memorials pages for the latest photo report.

Ron Winton ISM
, who has been Membership Secretary of the Association from the very beginning, has advised the Committee of his wish to retire as Secretary/Membership Secretary. Ron's work has been crucial to the success of the Association. He will still be around to do a few non-Committee jobs. If you are a member and have not been contacted about this please email Frank Haslam.

See 207 books for news of member Ben Lyon's book on Les Baveystock DSO DFC* DFM of 50 & 201 Sqns - there is a 207 connection!

The following have made contact this month:
- Susan Mark from the USA on behalf of her father Raymond Victor Burstall, Rear Gunner in F/O George Stenhouse's crew: George's widow Eveline has been informed and we are trying to contact Peter Chapman of that crew: is anyone in contact with any of the rest of that crew?
- Grahame Todd, stepson of Sqn Ldr Roissetter, an Engineering Leader at Spilsby, who was awarded a mention in Despatches for his efforts to salvage a Halifax from the Loveless incident in November 1944
- Mike Travers, the great nephew of P/O Charles Travers RCAF, who was the Bomb Aimer in P/O Jack Read's crew lost on 21/22 Jan 1944 on Magdeburg (R5895 EM-B)
- Drew McIntyre, only nephew of Sgt Robert Wood in the Badge crew which crashed at Le Bouveret (ED412 EM-Q).
- Ian Elsy, son of the late Dick Elsy, Flight Engineer in the tour expired (Nov 1944) Summers Crew
- Sara Gibbs, daughter of Sgt CJW Gibbs, Air Gunner in the HW Spraggs crew, joined 207 17/6/44: tour expired 28/29 Oct 1944: can you tell us more about these names: HG Laing, A Pinder, F Blackman, GD Scottwill, RJ Straight, J Turner(?), Frank Cooper, P/O Heeley, F/Sgt Madigan, Sgt Petheridge ?
- Briony, the grandaughter of F/O Wilfrid Edmonds, kia 17.8.42 in the Southwell crew (R5616 EM-J): she has been put in touch with the relatives of Denny Quinlan and Jack Read from that crew

Success for Jim Kenny in finding one of his crew, Ken Freeman from a message placed in 1999 on our Aircrew and Groundcrew Search website.

We are also looking for the relatives of Sgt William Shaw, Flight Engineer in ME614 EM-E (F/O Jesse Dallen), shot down on Revigny 18/19 July 1944. Someone has come by Sgt Shaw's Flight Engineer's Notes, with his annotations. His was a Kircaldy family.

We are also investigating a private memorial to Sgt George Adam Nichols Thompson, kia 30th January 1944, found in the grounds of Cragside, the former home of Sir William Armstrong. He was Rear Gunner in DV371 EM-M (P/O Harold Broad) lost on Berlin that night. Was his family connected with the estate? - see Memorials pages for headstone and the story so far.

And we have been contacted by a distant relative of F/O Frank William Cosens DFC, pilot of ND510 EM-T lost on Berlin 15th Feb 1944. We would like to hear from anyone who knew this pilot or his crew.

July 2001

The Association's visit to Margny for the dedication of the Squadron Badge in stone at the grave of the Weekes crew went off very well and some photos are now on the Margny website (via Memorials) with more to follow. Our thanks go to the Mayor and people of Margny for their very kind hospitality and to Mrs Betty Chaland for all her work behind the scenes.

Ron Buck
died 2nd July. Ron was an Air Gunner 6/43-1/44. He was a founder member of the Association and a Treasurer. Our condolences go to Betty and sons Paul, Pete & Ron jr. Click on Ron.

We have also heard of the death of George Baker on 4th July. George was the Flight Engineer in F/O Hordley's crew when they were shot down in Lancaster ND567, EM-V on the night of 7th/8th July 1944 in an attack on St.Leu d'Esserent.  George evaded for some while but was then captured. The aircraft crashed on the edge of woods near Sérifontaine, where a memorial was dedicated in 1995 - see the memorials pages. Our condolences go to Molly and his family.

We have also heard that Ray Cupit Pilot 7/44-12/44 (see below) died on 18th July. Our condolences go to his wife Theresa and family.

Mystery of the Weekes crew buried at Margny: why did the rear gunner's family have a different crew photo? See Margny in Memorials pages

June 2001

We have sold our last copy of Vince Holyoak's On the Wings of Morning about RAF Bottesford. If you have a copy for sale please let the Editor know so that you can in future be put in touch with enquirers.

The family of Sgt Keith Paine, Rear Gunner in the Weekes crew that we are going to Margny to honour in July, have made contact. They were on a visit to Margny in mid June and learned of the planned ceremony. They have now seen the website and promised new material.

We have traced the sister of Sgt Stanley Goodwin, Flight Engineer in F/O Douglas Evans' crew EM-A W4938 lost on Duisberg 13 May 1943. Dorothy Ware, the widow of the Bomb Aimer, is delighted. That makes three crew members now traced via this website: three more to go - visit the aircraft section of our Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website for more details.

Ben Lyon has now put us in touch with George Mitchell, pilot with 207 at Northolt 1979-84.

Our 22 page Summer 2001 Newsletter was posted on June 13th. It covers the arrangements for the unveiling of the Spilsby Airfield Memorial in August and includes the booking form for the Derby reunion in September.

May 2001

The Squadron Standard is now in full colour thanks to Barry Goodwin - see MEMORIES

Ray Cupit made contact - he served a tour on 207 during 7/44-12/44: his original Flight Engineer Sgt Derek Mills and Rear Gunner Sgt Dennis Elmes were killed on Bois de Cassan, 6 Aug 1944 (PD209 EM-V): F/O Irwin, his Mid Upper, was so seriously injured that he did not fly again.
We are trying to locate F/O Irwin (a Canadian) and Tommy Taylor - we believe Tommy bought a hotel in Bridlington. Ray's Bomb Aimer, 'Dicky' Bird, is a member of the Association.
If you knew any of this crew or are related to them, please email the editor.

April 2001

Spilsby Airfield Memorial Appeal and appeal for material for the Editor's book on RAF Spilsby : see link on home page
MEMORIES pages vastly updated on Devons, new sections started on our Washingtons, Valiants, Canberras (including one shot down in the Falklands!) and Pembrokes.
MAPS of the locations of many of 207's bases are linked to the 207 BASES page in USEFUL LINKS
Bands of the Royal Air Force
- a new link on the RAF & CHARITIES page in USEFUL LINKS - where and when they are playing and all about them.
Avro family page in USEFUL LINKS has an excellent new link to the Auckland Lancaster - many detailed photos. Mind the main spar as you clamber through!

Låstrup, Denmark : much new information on the Montgomery crew burials - LM208 EM-M, lost on a Gardening sortie on 15 Oct 1944: via MEMORIALS (see left)

Ron Emeny - evaded after being shot down on Mailly-le-Camp on 3/4 May 1944; his parachute had an even more glamorous fate. Go to MEMORIALS (see left) and then RELATED and click on MAILLY

George Wall's crew - PB765 EM-B - 4th Dec 1944: an account of the creation of the memorials for this crew in the village of Holtzwihr in the Alsace region of France. This is based on the recently published book Survivor - a true story of one man's war, by crew member Roy Hill. Go to MEMORIALS (see left) and then to 207 CREWS and click on Holtzwihr

Horace Badge's crew - ED412 - 12th July 1943: this now has its own website with much additional information provided by Friend member Jim Wright, son of one of the crew. Go to MEMORIALS (see left) and then TO 207 CREWS and click on Le Bouveret

new links page - CURRENT AVIATION - so we can keep up to date as well as look back.
The unofficial RAF SNCO Airmen Aircrewpage has been added to the RAF/Charities links page.
For both go to USEFUL LINKS (see left)

Mar 2001

Trevor Smart's immediate DFC - LM535 EM-R at Manston 19/20 May 1944 : Photos of his damaged aircraft at Manston have just come to light via this website - go to MEMORIES (see left) and then LANCASTER.

Låstrup, Denmark : Church, graveyard, and crash site memorials to the Montgomery crew, LM208 EM-M, lost on a Gardening sortie on 15 Oct 1944: via MEMORIALS (see left)

British & Commonwealth Air Unit Register : we host this popular associations listing website, which clocked up its 11,000th visit on 29th March 2001. It is now featured on the Aircrew Association and RAF Museum websites.
It can be visited via the new domain www.rafinfo.org.uk registered for the 207 hosted websites, which you may like to add to your favourites or bookmarks.

Feb 2001

Devons feature : 207 Squadron operated during 1969-1984 as a Communications Squadron at RAF Northolt. The principal aircraft type was the DH Devon. Our new pages on this aircraft are collecting information on those of the 21 Devons operated by 207 which still survive, as well as images of the rest. So far we have found four survivors and images of five others - visit the 207 Devons pages via MEMORIES (see left)

Jan 2001

'Ben' Lyon has come back into contact after many years and has provided an entertaining account of the formation of the Association for our next Newsletter.

What was new in ... ?

2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010
2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 to 2016 in preparation - 2017 to date