207 Squadron Royal Air Force History

from the Association web archive
What was New in 2002?

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December 2002

We offer our condolences to the families and friends of Member Arthur Thomas who was in Bill Verralls' crew and Friend Member Roger (Bob) Evans, son of F/O Doug Evans kia 13 May 1943, on the passing of their loved ones.

Regular visitors will notice that some pages look different - over the next few months all pages will, where practical, convert to this larger, easier to read font, which will also accommodate those using higher resolution thin screens.

Friend Member Michael Westmoreland is trying to find out if this is a picture of the five NCOs in the Taylor crew (LM366 EM-H, missing on Berlin 29 Jan 1944). Identifications so far are L-R: Flight Engineer Tom Westmoreland, ??Wireless Op Leo Croxton, ?, ?, ?Bomb Aimer Patrick Rothera. The two un-named may be the gunners Robert Hughes and Ivor Chalmers RAAF. Not shown are the pilot John Taylor and Navigator Ivor Mitchell. Michael reasons that the photo was taken in warm weather, hence possibly at Langar in the very late Summer/Autumn of 1943. Please contact the editor if you can help.

November 2002

Jim Currie in Spain today (21st) began a detailed email correspondence with a retired Canadian officer who many years ago discovered the logbook of Sgt George Tyler of 207 Sqn at the bottom of a pile of books bought at a jumble sale. George Tyler was one of the Rees crew, including Jim's brother Alex, lost on a Gardening sortie in 1943 - see Memorials and Lemvig for the background. Another success for this website!

John N Pittwood informs us that his father, also John, died on the 8th November after a long illness. John Pittwood was the Navigator in the Lissette crew lost on the Mailly-le-Camp raid of 3/4 May 1944 (ND556 EM-F). He managed to evade, as did three other members of the crew. The funeral was at 12.30 on 20th November at West Bromwich Crematorium, Newton Road, West Bromwich.

John Billany has found us - he was the last family sought from the John Howard crew - his father George Billany died 22 years ago, always regretting that he did not keep in touch with his crew. John hopes to rectify that!

See the 207(R) website for more fine in flight shots and the return to the Squadron of our badge.


October 2002

Please click here for Photos from the 2002 Reunion

We are sorry to hear via Andy Tait of the death of his skipper Frank Chambers, Pilot 11/44-6/45, on 2nd October in Canada. If you have recollections of Frank, please send them to the Editor as soon as possible.

Sep 2002

207(R) Sqn's website initiated by the Association is now on-line - see link on left

Derby Reunion, 7th September:
- In the end 124 sat down for Dinner including Sqn Ldr Al Dolding OC 207 (R) Sqn and Mrs Dolding. Al's presentation earlier on the work of the new Squadron was given to a fascinated capacity audience.
- Dorothy Ware was delighted with the Thomas Skelton ATC Trophy, in memory of her first husband killed in 1943 and in recognition of her generosity to our Memorial Appeals. The Trophy, presented by the Association, will be competed for by our associated ATC Squadrons, 2266 (Spilsby) and 207 (Cranfield).
- There were also presentations of pictures and books to the Squadron by other members.

Jack Lord (Nav Radar)
from 1956 has been found - see his article on Valiants in the October issue of FlyPast - one of the aircraft he writes about is XD875 - see MEMORIES/VALIANTS

Aug 2002

The Association is pleased to announce that Squadon Leader 'Al' Dolding RAF, Officer Commanding 207 (Reserve) Squadron, with Mrs Dolding, will be attending our 2002 Reunion at Derby on September 7th as our Guests of Honour. Before the AGM Sqn Ldr Dolding will do a presentation on the role of the Squadron.

123 have already booked for the Dinner!

Look at the STANDARD pages in MEMORIES and click on the images for even more information. Ivan Halstead (Corporal, General and Navigational Instruments staff, A flight 1/56-1/59) has provided a photo of HM The Queen's inspection. Were you there?

via Raymond Glynne-Owen: Manchester L7483 EM-O:
date of picture and crew unknown - can you help?

JOYCE BROTHERTON - the silver haired WAAF I/O - in MEMORIALS/207 CREWS
were you there? More memories of this please - see MEMORIES/60th
- images of the nose section undergoing preservation at Newark Air Museum - see MEMORIES/VALIANTS
1661 HCU WINTHORPE - did you serve here or pass through on your way to the Squadron? - see MEMORIALS/OTHERS
- some faces from photos provided by Terry Grewcock - see MEMORIES/CANBERRAS
JOURNEY'S END - a witty and informative booklet to guide you around late wartime RAF Spilsby is now on-line via MEMORIES - can you tell us more about who created it and when?
SPILSBY AIRFIELD MEMORIAL - the information board at the memorial is now on-line via MEMORIALS to 207 Squadron

Via Service Pals on Channel 4's Teletext pages, Ken Cowgill (Air Gunner 1943-4) has surfaced. Injured with the Cosens crew on Hannover 27/28 Aug 1943, from Langar, he was hospitalised when they landed at Hardwick. He has ever since been trying to locate all his stuff which had 'disappeared' by the time he returned to 207 at Spilsby. Any leads?

Jul 2002

12 July 2002 - 207 (Reserve) Squadron comes into being at Linton-on-Ouse - see above

Sqn Ldr Peter Gibbs, Pilot & CO 1954-56, has died: his funeral will be in Doncaster on 7th August at 1.30pm at the Doncaster Crematorium, Rose Hill. Our condolences go to his wife Pauline and family. If you have any recollections of Peter, please contact the editor.

Dennis Maunders (Nav 5/51-4/55) who served on 207 both on Washingtons (Bennett crew) and Canberras (Ford crew) has just joined.

Del Williams (Nav 3/59-9/61) had an uncle, Sgt Gwilym Williams, who was kia with the rest of the Polley crew 24/25 March 1944 (ME680 EM-R) on Berlin. Friend member Mrs Dorothy Sims is the niece of P/O Gordon Frederick Polley. Please contact Del if you have any information about these two men or the rest of the crew or the circumstances of their loss (see Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website for details of this enquiry and how to contact Del). By the way, are there any other 207s related to someone who also served on 207 (or 7 RNAS)?

Thanks to Mr Paul Kendall we are now in touch with Chris Cook, son of Sgt Stanley Cook, Wireless Operator kia 25/26 May 1943 in Wg Cdr TAB Parselle's crew (W5001 EM-J) on Dusseldorf. Quick detective work on the information provided lead to Robertson Hood-Morris, Air Bomber in that crew and the only other survivor (we believe Tom Parselle has died). Anyone connected with this crew or who has any recollections of any of them, please contact the editor.

Progress is being made on contacts with families of the McNaughton crew lost on Revigny 19 July 1944 (PD210 EM-C).

The World War I section of this website is now on line - see menu. Please look at it. I hope you will find it interesting and feel able to recommend it to your friends who have WWI interests. It will grow! If your family have WWI connections with us please get in touch with Frank Haslam

Jun 2002

Phil Hawkins is researching his great uncle F/S Laurence John Lea lost with the Wathey crew and is joining the Association.
Shirley Boulton
is trying to trace anyone who knew her cousin Graham MUSITANO, who was a WOp/AG in the same crew, all killed when Lancaster R5847 EM-Y was lost on Bremen on the 3/4th June 1942 - see Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website

John Snee, AEO Leader 6/56-5/60 has died: if you knew John please get in touch with the Editor - his widow Joan has moved.

The daughter of F/O D M Grant DFC has been in touch via a friend, seeking information about him and his crew. Grant completed his tour on 207 which began in 1944.

Malcolm Devenish is joining the Association. He is the son of the late Henry (Harry) Devenish, Ken Letford's Rear Gunner credited with the shooting down of a nightfighter over Berlin on F for Freddie's trip with Wynford Vaughan-Thomas of the BBC on 3 Sep 1943. The recording of the trip was broadcast the following evening. We would like to establish contact with the families of the rest of that crew: Ken Letford, Charlie Stewart, Bill Bray, Jock Fieldhouse, Con Connelly and HOS 'Bill' Sparks - and with the Vaughan-Thomas and Reg Pidsley families.

William Ivory is joining the Association. He is the nephew of Sgt Lawrence Ivory who was lost with the McDowell crew EE175 EM-R on 22nd October 1943.

May 2002

The Squadron in the First World War - work is well advanced on creating WWI pages for our website: if you have a 7 Sqn RNAS or 207 Squadron WWI or relevant WWI aviation interest please contact the editor Frank Haslam. (A page on the 'genealogy' of the squadron has been added to Useful Links)

Hugh Wynter (AG 10/44-2/45) is joining the Association.

Read the fascinating story of Raymond Collishaw, who was a Station Commander when 207 and 35 Squadrons were at Bircham Newton 1929-35. He was also Senior Officer No.5 Wing of the RAF's Middle East Command sent to the Sudan in 1935 to face the Italian threat. The Wing was composed of his old compadres, Nos.35 and 207 Sqns still flying Gordon bombers and No.3 Sqn flying Bristol Bulldogs: click http://www.constable.ca/colishaw.htm

We have found some individual squadron members commemorated on war memorials etc that are on the web - see Memorials.

David A Balme in the USA - grandson of the late David Mowbray Balme, a Flight Commander on 207 and later CO of 227 & 49 Squadrons, and one of the prime movers in the formation of the Association - has joined as a Friend Member.

Sheila Ansell, sister of Sgt Albert Sayers, M/UG in the Boyce crew (LM218 EM-N) lost on the second attack (night of July 7/8 1944) on the huge St.Leu d'Esserent V1 handling and storage facility, has been put in touch with the sole survivor of that crew, evader John (Bob) Parkinson. Coincidentally Bob had just returned from Haudricourt, where those who died are buried and where there is a memorial.

At last on this website, the 207 Squadron Badge as depicted in stone in the floor of St Clement Danes - see Memorials, to 207 Squadron

Aircrew Association Annual Service, St Clement Danes, Sunday 28th April 2002

207s and evaders: L-R
AVM Eric Stephenson, a 1943 207 POW over from Australia:
Frank Haslam snr, a 207 1944 evader:
Malcolm Staves, 207:
Tom Wingham, evader and Chairman of 102 Sqn Assoc.

(R) Frank Haslam snr responding to a request by the Chief of the Air Staff,
Sir Peter Squires, to tell him about his evasion in Belgium in 1944.
On the left is Len Norris, Chairman of Surrey ACA -
of which Frank Haslam jr, your editor, is an Associate member.
Len is chairman of 150 Sqn Assoc and is a Goldfish.

In Useful Links in County Guides, Pictures of World War Two Airfields in Lincolnshire is fascinating.

Now there is a link via Memorials, Crew members to photos and and letters relating to F/O Dennis Quinlan RCAF, lost with the Southwell crew (R5616 EM-J) on 17 Aug 1942 on a Gardening trip off the coast of Denmark: the same link gives access to the POW diary of the sole survivor Jack Read.

Michael Jeffries, son of the late Alf Jeffries, Rear Gunner in the James crew (DV191 EM-O), taken POW when shot down on Brunswick 14 Jan 1944 has made contact.

Nigel Lodge, son of Flt Lt WCA Oliver Lodge, a Gunnery Leader on Manchesters has joined as has Lee, the son of Sgt Leo Arthur Croxton, sole survivor of the loss of the Taylor crew (LM366 EM-H) on Berlin 29 Jan 1944: Sgt Croxton's widow Betty has also joined. We now have members from three families of that crew.

If you look at the maps of the stations at which 207 Squadron served you can now in some cases such as Spilsby look at aerial photos down to a scale of 1:10,000 and overlay the current maps on them - see 207 STATIONS which is now in MEMORIES

Shirley Boulton is trying to trace anyone who knew her cousin Graham MUSITANO, a WOp/AG in the Wathey crew all killed when Lancaster R5847 EM-Y was lost on Bremen on the 3/4th June 1942 - see Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website

Friend member David Collins is closely involved with the Newark Air Museum: on the weekend of 18/19 May they are having Tribute to the Lancaster: Friend Member Brian Goulding will be there on the 18th signing books and Roy Hill, shot down in Dec 1944 and author of Survivor, will also be there. For more information visit the NAM website.

Apr 2002

I was privileged to attend the Service of Commemoration for the Bomber Command Association held in St Paul's Cathedral on 25th April, of which an account will appear in the forthcoming newsletter. If you were there and I missed you, my apologies.

Priscilla Delatorre has returned to the hunt for any who knew Mel Delatorre, lost with Peter Evison's crew (EM-U ED365) on Hamburg 3rd March 1943 - see Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website

Recent new members:
Dennis Hewlett, Air Gunner 2/53-3/54, Stewart crew
Peter Corley (see below)
Matthew Allen, grandson of F/S BW Allen of the Howard crew

The daughter of F/S William Brown DFM has made contact. He was the Observer in the Withers crew lost when their Manchester L7314 EM-Y was shot down by a 25 Sqn Beaufighter in June 1941, crashing at Wollaston near Northampton. Please contact me if you knew F/S Brown or his parents/family.

If you have memories of Ron Emeny please email me Frank Haslam for the next Newsletter (due out end May)

Mar 2002

Some new information has been added on the crash of the Montgomery crew's LM208 EM-M, shot down 15 Oct 1944 at Låstrup, Denmark - see memorials to 207 crews

See Bomber Command in Useful Links for the official RAF Bomber Command Anniversary website.

Peter Corley, son of Sgt Percy (Tiny) Corley in the Norman Owen crew, who completed 34 ops Jan-Jun 1944 - "I've just discovered this superb site after spending several years trying to research my fathers service with 207 Squadron". Peter would like to hear from anyone with memories of this crew and his late father - please contact the editor.

Shaun McGuire
has added to his site commemorating the Fitzgerald crew lost on Nuremberg 28th August 1943 (ED627 EM-N) a page on the other 207 Lancaster lost the same night, F/O John Welch's crew in LM334 EM-V - see MEMORIALS. Anyone having recollections of or connections with either of these crews should please contact the editor.

Thank you to those who contacted the local council about the proposed mobile phone mast almost at the Air Forces memorial at Coopers Hill, Runnymede. It was thrown out on five grounds at a packed meeting.

Feb 2002

Coming shortly via our British and Commonwealth Air Unit Register website - a major collection of RAF badges

It is proving to be a very busy month on 207 as new contacts are made and many signed up:

Richard and David Balme have sent messages of appreciation for the pages we have provided on their late father David Balme (see Dec 2001 below)

Ron Hart, Navigator 11/44-5/45 from Johnny Howard's crew has joined and was 'absolutely gobsmacked' to be almost immediately put in touch with families and other members of his crew - we are now seeking Sgt Billany, who was from Hull.

Nigel Lodge, son of Flt Lt WCA Oliver Lodge, a Gunnery Leader on Manchesters

Lee Croxton, son of Sgt Leo Croxton from Flt Lt Taylor's crew lost on Berlin on 29 Jan 1944 in EM-H LM366 is in touch, thanks to information provided by Michael Westmoreland whose brother was in the same crew

The Exley family - Sgt Henry Exley survived the loss of Sqn Ldr Jones and crew of EM-K ME631 lost on Schweinfurt 27 April 1944. Friedbert Zapf, whose family come from Reichental where the aircraft crashed has been doing a lot of detective work - his mother was there at the time, and he has found several pieces of the aircraft.

Andrew Armstrong, whose mother was a member of the Hall family in Boston, who were friendly with several members of 207

Terry Gower, son of Sgt LP Gower, Flight Engineer in EM-J PD216 lost on Darmstadt 26 Aug 1944 in Flt Lt Harding's crew - all were killed

BBC tv's drama Night Flight about Bomber Command veterans starring Christopher Plummer and Edward Woodward and written by William Ivory was shown on 2nd February 2002.
Just Jane repainted, playing footsie for the filming of
Night Flight
at East Kirkby (FlyPast)

Alan Cooper, the well known author of books on the RAF contacted us on 1st Feb to say he believes that Ivory had an uncle, Sgt Lawrence Ivory, who was lost with the McDowell crew EE175 EM-R on 22nd October 1943 from RAF Spilsby, on Kassel.

All were killed and are buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, Westphalia. We intend to contact William Ivory to verify this, and perhaps ask him to contribute something to our next newsletter. As well as writing the drama, he played the role of Sgt Stan who cycled out to the aircraft to find one of the crew. Many of the Lancaster shots were filmed at East Kirkby, as all you Just Jane fans probably know.

Radio Times also says that Ivory wrote the drama for his father who flew with 50 Squadron.

Jan 2002

A E (Bert ) Hazel DFC, Pilot (9/44-4/45) has joined : after his Lancaster LM123 EM-Q was hit by flak on Brunswick, 14/15 October 1944, he ordered the crew to bale out: the three at the back went, but then he managed to bring the aircraft back. We would like to trace the three who baled out, who were POWs: Derrick Lewis, Clarence Dixon and Cecil Flear.

F/O Peter Noel Hodgson RAFVR pictured here in Canada when training at Dafoe, was Bomb Aimer in the crew that Flt Lt George Ebert took to Stettin on 6 Jan 1944, in EM-F ED586*. All were killed, including Wg Cdr Ashley Jackson who was aboard as 2nd dickey before taking command of another squadron. A relative of Peter's would like to hear from any families of the crew, or anyone who knew Peter - please contact the Editor. This message is in full on our Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website, where there are more like it about 207 and many other units. Please have a look.
*This was the famous 'F for Freddie' in which Ken Letford took the BBC's Wynford Vaughn-Thomas and Reg Pidsley with their recording gear to Berlin on 3rd September 1943.

Some updates for the New Year via the Memories pages:
- Our Avro Manchester pages have begun their updating - the fates of all the Manchesters used by 207 are shown by serial number, and the losses on 207 are shown in date order - any errors, please let the editor know!
A Bassetts page with images of five aircraft used by 207
A Lincolns page
- additional material on the Squadron Standard page - click the images

Newsletters index made easier to find and use - see Newsletters link in Association News

Sqn Ldr AA Roissetter - see July 2005

Please visit the British & Commonwealth Air Unit Register's 'Useful Sources' page to check the listings the Editor has created of RAF Acronyms, code names and RAF vocabulary

Site Guide added to aid navigation of what is now a very large website and getting bigger!

Were you one of those who attended or were involved with the 60th Anniversary Reception of the Squadron held at RAF Northolt on 20th November 1976? Peter Goodman, CO at the time recalls that it was held in the old South Side building used postwar as a terminal by BEA. All tasking was suspended for the day - just as well as the jollifications went on for several hours. Former COs David Dick, Bill Robertson and Hetty Hyde were among the guests. All the Devons were lined up and a Squadron & guests photos were taken. The following day there was a special service in St Clement Danes.

Stan (Nick) Carter in Winnipeg, Flight Engineer in Vic Glann's crew, which completed its tour in June 1944, has made contact via daughter Elaine to suggest we try and trace Eric Downey, the only survivor of the the Broad crew lost on Berlin (DV371 EM-B, 30.1.44) - see story below on Sgt George Thompson's memorial in the grounds of Cragside. Can you help? See also Aircrew & Groundcrew Search website

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

The 207 Squadron Roll of Honour is now on-line

What was new in ... ?

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2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 to 2016 in preparation - 2017 to date