207 Squadron Royal Air Force History
from the Association web archive
What was New in 2006?
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- Ron Hart, Navigator 11/44-5/45 in the Howard crew, died on 3rd December 2006 after a very short illness. Our condolences go to his daughter Penny and the family and to Jess Emeny who had become a very good friend. The funeral will be on Friday 8th December at 10am, at Walton Lea Crematorium, Chester Road, High Walton, Warrington WA4 6TV. Any member who can attend please do so, this will be appreciated by the family.
- New member Dave Griffiths GSM, in East Sussex, was a Junior Technician on the Squadron at Marham 3/63-4/65.
- Jim Gossland, one of our Canberra pilots, has made contact from Florida
- New member Mike Lovett, Air Radar Mech 1/56-3/57, in N Yorkshire, has written about the loss of six of eight Hunters diverted from their base at West Raynham on 8th Feb 1956 because of bad weather. All six came down not far from Marham, one of the pilots being killed.
- 26 Nov 2006 - 55,000th visit to this website.
- Ken Brown reports that his pilot Richardson 'Dick' Burnet (11/43-1/44) has died in Canada, it is believed on 5th November. Our condolences are being passed to Dick's widow Margaret and sons Richard and Eric.
The Burnet crew, in Lancaster EE173 EM-K, failed to return to Spilsby on the Berlin raid of 30 Jan 1944, all except the rear gunner surviving to become PoWs. More information when available.
- The 90th Anniversary of the Squadron was celebrated by a flyover on Wednesday 1st November by a formation of three Tucanos of 207R Squadron at a number of airfields past and present where the squadron has served in the UK.
These were, in order of arrival: Spilsby, [East Kirkby - included as this was Spilsby's wartime HQ Station and many 207 memorial trees and an extensive 207 photo display are there], Marham, Methwold, Mildenhall, Tuddenham, Stradishall, [Duxford - included as it happens to be more or less en route], Cranfield, Cottesmore, Langar, Bottesford, Waddington, and 11.20hrs Linton-on-Ouse. It is reported that those at Bottesford, Cranfield and Langar had better viewing than those at Spilsby airfield. More information and photos when received. Many thanks to the Squadron, for whom it was also a tribute to all who have served on the Squadron, remembering especially Wg Cdr Russ Jeffs AFC whose memorial service was on 2 November. An Association web page is in preparation.
The RAF website has covered the event - see RAF Regional News - RAF Linton on Ouse
It has also been reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post and York Press
Our thanks to Frank Pollard, Alan Mawby and Matt Clark (CCO RAF Linton-on-Ouse) for their assistance on press coverage.
- The 207s on Local War Memorials page been updated with over 20 new entries thanks to further research by Raymond Glynne-Owen and the editor: if you discover a 207 is listed or commemorated in a church or elsewhere or on a memorial near you, please contact the editor - see Memorials
- Photos from the Valiant era on 207 are now on-line and captioned thanks to Raymond Glynne-Owen, Alan Mawby and others: if you can add further images or captions please contact the editor .. Del Williams and John Trevains have already done so - see Memories > Valiant > 207 Album
- Joe 'Beck' Parsons, Electrician 3/41-3/43 died peacefully in his sleep in hospital in the early morning of 16th October (email from his son Perry). Beck was posted from 207 to what became the newly formed 617 Squadron. After the war he worked for Vickers and was involved with the construction/design work of many types including the Valiant, VC10 and Concorde. Our condolences go to his widow Terry and the family.
It was standing room only at his funeral on Friday, 27th October at 11am at Woking Crematorium. The Association was represented by the Secretary and the Editor. Our Memorial Card was displayed with the family flowers and afterwards at Brooklands. Donations, which are being divided between two charities, Leonard Cheshire and the Brooklands Museum Trust, may be sent to the Co-operative Funeral Service, 16 Parlaunt Road, Langley, Berkshire SL3 8BB.
After the funeral there was a gathering at the The Chequered Flag Room, Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey, where Dr Norman Barfield, a long-term friend of Beck's both in the aircraft world (Vickers Armstrong/British Aircraft Corporation/BAe) and amongst Theatre/Cinema organ enthusiasts, gave a tribute.
Please let the editor know if you have any memories of Joe/Beck.
- Wg Cdr Russ Jeffs AFC RAF(Retd) OC 207 Squadron May-Dec 1942 has died.
One of Russ's sons, Brian, writes, 12 October: "I regret to inform you that my father passed away peacefully late in the evening of Wednesday, 11 October, aged 92. He had been in hospital following a fall which he suffered while returning home from a social engagement. Unfortunately, several complications set in and Russell was caught in a multi-front engagement, in which he fought bravely, but eventually succumbed to an overwhelming set of medical circumstances. He was very fond of his association with 207 Squadron."
There was a private cremation on Thursday 19th October. The UK memorial service was on Thursday November 2nd, at 2pm, at Twickenham Parish Church, All Hallows, 138 Chertsey Road, Twickenham (map). It was family flowers only, but donations may be sent to the RAF Benevolent Fund via WA Truelove Ltd, 118 Carshalton Road, Sutton, Surrey SM1 4RL. Russ's ashes are going back with the family to Canada for interment and a service in Canada. They are also taking the poppy wreath provided on behalf of the Association and the Squadron.
at 2006 reunion, 3 Sep
Russ had a most interesting life, part of which was chronicled in our Newsletter, and more stories are emerging all the time - if you have one please contact the editor. Our reunions will miss his always affable greeting of "Good to see you, old boy" - from perhaps the oldest member attending. Our condolences go to the family and Russ's many friends. A new section of the website dedicated to Russ is in preparation.
- With regret, the Squadron has informed us that the dining in night in connnection with the 90th Anniversary has had to be postponed until 2007. A firm date is expected shortly.
- The family of Charles John Solly, known as Mike, has at long last been located. Mike Solly was kia 21/22 June 1944, pilot of EM-M LL973 lost on Wesseling. Sadly, his daughter died aged 36 in 1981 but there are four grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren!
The survivors of the crew are now even keener to locate the family of the mid-upper gunner Edwin Jack (known as Jacky) Jewell, who was also killed.
- The Engineer's Notes for the Lancaster issued to Sgt William Shaw, lost with the Dallen crew on Revigny 18/19 July 1944 (ME814 EM-E) have been kindly donated by Mr Graham Wain (who has no connection with the Squadron, unless you count near misses - he is ex-206 Sqn) for display at Linton. Tucked inside was this photo. The notice on the row of Coke bottles says 207 "Special" RUM & "COKE" 2/-.
Can you tell us who, where, and when?
- In correspondence mention is sometimes made of former members of the Squadron who have died, often some years ago. It would be helpful to have a year or date of death, and any continuing contact with the family, as well as any recollections, photos:
VH Hudson, Navigator (seen in Intercom Autumn 2006, member of Albrighton ACA)
MA Mawbie Hughes - about 1991?: AEO 2/59-6/63
Kenneth V Kiwi O'Rourke: Pilot 3/54-11/55 & 2/58-4/60
There is a roll of members of the Squadron, who have died since leaving the service. It also records the passing of members of the Association - see Memorials > Roll Honour > 207 Assoc RIP
- Many wartime members have a Caterpillar badge, commemorating a successful bale-out using an Irvin parachute. Dennis Buck Pilot 2/71-1/74 & 5/77-9/80 has found an interesting ejection website. How many of our post-war service members have ejected? No ejections are known on 207 but 207s who have ejected elsewhere so far traced are:
8 Dec 1955 Sqn Ldr David Dick Javelin XA561. First use of Martin-Baker Mk3 seat
5 Apr 1966 Flt Lt PG Goodman from a Jet Provost T.4 7 TFS, mutual training with another instructor, Flt Lt Cowen: both ejected
13 Nov 1970 Fg Off Geoff Hamlyn from a Sea Vixen while detached to the Royal Navy (Dennis: Geoff always maintained that he was taller than his wife when he married her!)
31 Jul 1980 Flt Lt Dennis Chapman from Jet Provost T.3A XN590/86 7 TFS
- There is now a page on Postings for 207's Canberra era at Marham but work continues on it - see via Stations or Memories > Canberra
- The Postings for 207 in our Washington era at Marham page has been updated. Are you listed or are you in touch with someone who is? If so please contact the editor - see via Stations or Memories > Washingtons
- Did you have a car when serving on 207 during WW2? Mike Madigan (Nav 7/44-6/45) provided these snaps:
"My Morris car, Summer 1944: L-R Watson (pilot), self (Nav), Hill (RG)"
see also Ted Lawson's 1933 Morris
- A new groundcrew group photo dated March 1945, courtesy of Mr David Blakemore, and of Victor Moss jr of Spilsby (son of the late Victor Moss, Corporal Airframe Fitter) has been added to the Spilsby group photos page via Raymond Glynne-Owen. Can you add names? - see Memories >Lancaster > Spilsby gp photos
- The funeral of Wg Cdr Charles Darwen Stenner DSO DFC took place at Yeovil Crematorium, Bunford Lane, Yeovil at 11.30am on Thursday 14th September. We are grateful to a wartime Air Gunner member Brian Connors for attending on behalf of the Association. A Memorial Card was sent to the family.
Charles Stenner, who died on 5 September, aged 92, served as a pilot on 207 4/41-6/41 alongside Sqn Ldr Mackintosh. Bob Kirby writes of him on p178 of his book Avro Manchester - the Legend behind the Lancaster. He was a Halton Brat who was vastly experienced by the time he reached 207. His son Lester says his father spent the last three years of the war training pilots on Lancasters on HCUs and AFUs. After the war he flew for Airwork, Ghana Airways, Caledonian and Donaldsons, accumulating 23,000 hours of which 9,000 were on Britannias.
- Late in the evening of Wednesday 6th May 1964 Valiant WZ363 of 148 Sqn, which was being flown by a 207 crew (Flt Lt Chris Welles), crashed at Market Rasen with the loss of all five aboard. These were the only fatalities during the nine years that 207 operated Valiants. They are commemorated by name on the Memorial Scroll that was dedicated at Marham in 1997. If you can add to our research please contact the editor - see Memories > Valiants > WZ363
We are now in touch with the brother of Sgt Richard Noble, the AEOp, and the daughter and son of Flt Lt George Mills, the co-pilot on that flight. If you knew Richard Noble or George Mills or the the rest of the crew or can put us in touch with the families of the following, please contact the editor:
- Flt Lt Chris Welles, Captain
- Flt Lt JR (Bob) Stringer Nav Plotter
- Flt Lt Les Hawkins, Nav Bomber
- Our 2006 Reunion at Derby took place the weekend of 2nd/3rd September. 80 sat down to the Dinner held at at the Midland Hotel and there were no less than 27 apologies, many from regular attenders - see a photo report via Reunions link.
Congratulations to Kevin Mapley, our Secretary, whose hard work on the Reunion raffle generated £1,100 for the Association.
The AGM endorsed that we look into combining the 2008 reunion with a visit to the National Cold War Exhibition at the RAF Museum Cosford. This is part of our campaign to identify and recruit as many as possible post-war members of the Squadron.
We were delighted to welcome for the first time Sqn Ldr Jack Christen, OC 207R Squadron at Linton and wish his predecessor Paul Stockley and his family all the best for the future.
Sqn Ldr Christen announced that the Squadron's 90th Anniversary Dinner will be on either Wednesday 1st November or Wednesday 8th November, at RAF Linton on Ouse. Members who wish to have further information should contact the Reunion Secretary, Frank Haslam or write (enclosing reply postage) to him at 56 Windfield, Leatherhead, Surrey, England, KT22 8UQ
Our next Annual Reunion will be on Saturday, September 8th 2007, again at the Midland Hotel, Derby.
- Making contact:
Peter Langdon DFM - he was a sergeant pilot at Bottesford and Langar 1942-43; he flew again with the Squadron at Northolt 1972-74, retiring in 1977 as a Squadron Leader after moving over to Ops at Northolt.
Jock Wingate - pilot at Marham 1961-65
Cecil 'Smudge' Smith DFM ISM, Wireless Operator 5/41-5/42 died on Saturday August 12th, aged 86. The funeral took place on on Tuesday 22nd August at 2pm, at Loughborough Crematorium, Leicester Road, Loughborough. It was family flowers only, with donations to the RAF Benevolent Fund. Our condolences have been sent to his family. Known to his family as Smudge, his RAF nickname, and preferring Charles to Cecil - he leaves his wife Eileen and three children, Jo, Carol, and Anthony; five grandsons and a great granddaughter.
Born in Beverley, East Yorkshire he joined the RAF in 1937/8 on leaving Beverley Grammar School.
He flew in Hampdens, Manchesters and Lancasters. He did 76 bombing raids including the first Thousand Bomber raid. He received his DFM from King George VI at Buckingham Palace and was Mentioned in Despatches. He also served on 44 Sqn.
He settled in Leicester after his marriage and worked with Ron Winton ISM in Government Communications. He was a regular attender of our reunions until 2002.
The Editor represented the Association. Our Memorial Card was on display and a prayer from the Association was included.
The Association was represented at the Dedication of a Ledger Stone to all who lost their lives on Bomber Command 1939-45, which took place in Lincoln Cathedral on Sunday 27 August 2006 - see Memorials >Bomber Command
Friend member Pam Gurnell and Peter Green the aviation photo historian have enabled us to add a page on the memorial collage Pam created in memory of her late husband Peter Gurnell and the rest of the Seibert crew shot down on the night of 27/28 March 1941 in Manchester L7303 EM-P. Peter died in January 1992. The collage was presented to RAF Waddington in 1993 and hangs outside the Nettleton Room - see Memorials > to crews > Seibert
via Bob Russell we have learned that Clive Suttor DFC Pilot 8/42-6/43, New South Wales, died on VE Day, 8 May this year. We have written to his family. If you have any recollection of Clive please contact the editor.
Postings for 207 in our Washington era at Marham have started on-line with the first Nominal Roll and Crew Return. Are you listed or are you in touch with someone who is? If so please contact the editor - see via Stations or Memories > Washingtons
207 Squadron Marham postings in our Valiant era 1956-65 are now on-line - following further visits by the editor to the National Archives. The listings are principally aircrew although groundcrew listed for exercise deployments to Cranwell 1961-63 are now (19 Aug 2006) included. Are you listed or are you in touch with someone who is? If so please contact the editor - see via Stations or Memories > Valiants
Sqn Ldr Gilbert Haworth DFC DFM, Navigator/Bomb Aimer 12/42-6/43 in the Woodward crew died aged 90 on 18th July 2006. His funeral took place at Peterborough Crematorium on 26th July 2006. He was a great supporter of Langar and belonged to a number of RAF related societies. He wrote for a number of publications of his wartime experiences and on the largely unsung role of Bomber Command in the Battle of Britain. Our condolences go to Mary and the family. If you have any recollections of Gilbert, please contact the editor.
Communication era images from the photo albums - can you add names/dates/stories - see Stations > Northolt
Repeated from July: Plans for commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the Squadron are beginning to take shape which include Linton and possibly some of the airfields at which 207 Squadron and 7 Sqn RNAS served in the UK.
Members who wish to know more when the time comes should please complete and return the form provided in the Summer 2006 Newsletter.
- Members Nat Bury DFM and Jack Pegrum DFM were among those attending the Aircrew Association's Annual Family Service at the Air Forces' Memorial at Runnymede, on Sunday 13th August. The Editor attended taking along some members of the Surrey Branch of the ACA. It is said that next year's service will be the last so perhaps members of 207 Sqn Association will make a special effort to turn out.
Nat & Jack at the ACA Family Day Service at Runnymede 13 Aug 2006: image - Haslam
- welcome to new members
Mrs Heather Lofthouse, Lancashire: daughter of John Jock Sweeney, Mid Upper 43-45. He was in the Wall crew when badly wounded on Walcheren Oct 1944 and so was not with them when they were shot down in December 1944. He eventually returned to the Squadron.
Clive Semple, Somerset: son of Leslie Semple, Pilot 7/18-1/20: his father is shown in a photo in the Squadron History, p21, start of 2nd row, holding a cat.
A memorial to a 207 crew has been discovered in the Netherlands. Lancaster EM-Q ED554 (WO2 Harold Healey crew) was shot down on the Duisburg raid of 9 April 1943, with the loss of all the crew. A mounted propellor from Q forms the memorial, which also commemorates two other crews which came down within 1000m - Halifax HR786 MH-J of 51 Sqn on May 13th 1943 (all killed ) and B-24 Liberator 42-52450 G, 754 Squadron, 458th Bomb Group (H) on March 6th 1944 (3 killed). Information is still being gathered and a small group visit in early May 2007 may take place - see Memorials > crew members > Healey
- Sgt Jack Everett DFM, Wireless Operator, was on 207 Squadron in 1942. Raymond Glynne-Owen reports that Jack died in a mid-air collision on 13th July 1944 between two Wellingtons of 14OTU (Market Harborough) and is buried in Brighton (Bear Road) Borough Cemetery. He has been added to the roll of 207s who lost their lives after being posted from the Squadron - see Memorials > Roll of Honour > Post 207 cas
- welcome to new members
James (Ned) Easey, Essex - Nav Plotter 10/61-11/64 in the Marwood, Bridger and Wingate crews
Maureen Love, Canada - daughter of the late James Nelson Love DFC, Nav 3/43-10/43
Kenneth W Bate, West Midlands - son of the late Ken Bate, Bomb Aimer 3/43-10/43
Maureen and Ken continue the links with the Association among the members of Stevie Stephen's F for Freddie crew.
SUNDAY 27TH AUGUST 2006 3pm: LINCOLN CATHEDRAL
DEDICATION OF A BOMBER COMMAND MEMORIAL
Bill Green, a Friend Member, is Chairman of the Fenland Branch of the Bomber Command Association and is the BCA and 207 Squadron Association contact point for the arrangements for this ceremony. He tells me:
The 5ftx3ft stone is being set in the floor of the Cathedral near the Airmans Chapel, with the following inscription:
Dedicated to the men and women
of Bomber Command 1939-45
of whom 55,888 gave their lives for our liberty
All are welcome to attend but if you want to see whats going on the seats at the front are by ticket, for which applications will be handled on a first come, first served basis. You should aim to be in the Cathedral by 3pm. There will then be time to meet people. The stone will be dedicated during a short service, and unveiled by two wartime members of Bomber Command, one a WAAF.
Please send an SAE to Bill stating how many tickets you require, to arrive by Tuesday 18th July: if you need further information call him on 01733 223350, or email billgreen1ATbtinternet.com (replace AT with @ before sending);
Mr WJ Green, 80 Pioneer Park, Thorney Road, Eye, PETERBOROUGH, Cambridgeshire PE6 7UF
We were saddened to hear that Friend Member Peter J Hornfeck died on 19 June. He was the son of the late Peter W Hornfeck, taken POW when shot down with the Henderson crew on 6 Dec 1944 in EM-C PD322, on Giessen. Our condolences go to Pete's wife Ruth and the family. She writes " Your contact and information had given him great pleasure and filled a gap for him about his father. He was so proud to have been accepted as a member of the 207 'family' "
We also record that John Peto, nephew of Ralph M Peto, Valiant Crew Chief, has informed us that his uncle died some years ago. John was also his godson and is making a model of Valiant and would like it to be Ralph's. If you know which is the correct serial, please contact the editor - all the suggestions so far received fail to agree.
Ken Smith's funeral: The service, followed by the burial, was held at the beautiful village Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Oxton, Notts. at 10.30 am on Friday 9 June 2006. Ken as a boy sang in the choir there. It was a superb Summer's day. The service was taken by Lay Reader Anne Hedley, who gave an Address which although Ken didn't want a fuss made, touched all the key points of a full life. The family were delighted that the congregation included a number of Association members. Appreciations of Ken are welcomed for the forthcoming newsletter.
Tony Sturch, Bomb Aimer 9/44-7/46 has rejoined the Association. He believes that with the death of Eric King, he is probably the last survivor of Andy Mathieson's crew - unless their Navigator Norman Gulley turns up.
Philip Elcock informs us that his father Frederick Elcock, General Armourer 11/40-4/43 died in May 2000.
We welcome new members:
Michael Belfitt, Northern Ireland - son of the late Frank Belfitt DFM
Christopher Cottier, Canada - son of the late Douglas Cottier, Radar Mech B 8/42-8/43
Eddie Davison, Northumberland - Bomb Aimer 10/43-5/44 in the Andrews crew
Chris Edwards, London - brother of Sgt Jack Edwards, Mid-Upper Gunner kia 5/7/44 on St Leu in the Gibbs crew EM-Z ND570
Basil Rootes, Worcestershire - Flight Engineer 5/44-10/44 in Arthur Giddens' crew
30 May 2006: Ken Smith, Armourer 9/43-5/45 has died. Kenny was a stalwart member of the Association and annually travelled to Great Steeping & Spilsby to remember those killed and injured in the Bomb Dump explosion. More information on the funeral when available. Please contact Kevin Mapley.
via Honorary Member Bryan Pattison: BBC DOCUMENTARY - SUEZ CRISIS
The BBC would like to hear from anyone involved in the Suez Crisis of 1956 to help with research for a major three part documentary series. In particular they are interested in hearing from anyone who carried out bombing missions, reconnaissance missions or were involved with "Psy-Ops" such as leaflet dropping etc. Anyone with any information should contact Charles Young at the BBC on 020 875 24118.
Coming on the market shortly - a DVD on the Valiant from DD Home Entertainment, on which the Association assisted with locating aircrew and groundcrew. 207s taking part are Eddie Crook, John Foster, Bob Lord and John Scullard. More news expected soon.
Bob Holmes, Service Police with the squadron 5/43-7/45, died on 15th May. We have sent our condolences to his family. The funeral takes place on 31st May at 12.30pm in the church in the tiny village of Twyford where Bob was born. If you are able to attend please contact the editor.
A new page has been started on References to No.207 Squadron RAF or No.7 Squadron RNAS in books (other than those in the bibliography) or on film/video/DVD. Please contact the editor if you have additions to make to this page, which should be of use to those interested in what has been published about us and to researchers. Eventually we will include those references to known members of either squadron which do not mention the unit - see 207 Books > References
Peter Charles Fagg nephew of Charles Solly kia EM-M LL973 22/6/44 (Mike as he was known to his crew) has provided a photo album about his uncle - see Memorials > 207 crew members > Solly crew > Mike Solly
Ron Ravenhall is a local councillor in Rugby. As a child he was living in occupied Holland with his English mother. He has provided a story - A Bent Sixpence - since published in Bomber Command Association News, based on research done in Holland, which paints a scenario of what happened to Bill Hawkes's crew in Lancaster ED418 EM-H 12/13 May 1943. By the way, Bill Hawkes was at the same school as your editor, who also edits the Old Boys' website. The bent sixpence? see Memories > Lancaster > Bent Sixpence
Eric King, Wireless Operator in Andy Mathieson's crew 9/44-7/46, passed away at Pilgrim Hospital (Boston) on 21st April 2006, aged 82 years. Loving husband of Rita, his funeral service was held at Spilsby Methodist Church on Thursday 11th May at 1.15pm, when some local members represented the Association. Eric went from school to an apprenticeship in the printing trade, did fire watching in London and then joined the RAF. He was a great supporter of the RNLI and they will scatter his ashes at sea. We put Tony Sturch (Bomb Aimer) and Joe Emsall's (Air Gunner) family in touch, being the surviving connections with the Mathieson crew.
1st May 2006 - 50,000th visit recorded on this website, which was launched on 5th March 1998: thank you to all who have contributed material and who keep up to date by regular visiting.
If you served at Northolt or Marham on 207 are you on our lists?
Joining us this month:
Allan English, British Columbia, Canada - nephew of Sgt Joe Mireault RCAF, Air Gunner, kia 22/6/44 with the Corless crew on Wesseling - Allan and his father Joe English (ex 625 Sqn) joined us at Meeuwen in May 2005 for the dedication of a memorial to the Corless crew whilst on a tour of Europe.
Fred Hambly, Cornwall - Pilot 2/79-6/84
Stuart Jack, Hertfordshire - son of the late Bob Jack, who was W/Op in Wg Cdr JF Grey's crew 1944
Lachlan Rutherford, Victoria, Australia - nephew of Flt Lt Edward McMaster Lawson, killed in the collision of ME473 EM-H with a 57 Sqn Lanc, 3/3/45
Martin Walker, Ontario, Canada - nephew of Sgt J Rothera, kia 29/1/44 in the Taylor crew on Berlin
Dennis Buck Pilot 2/71-1/74 & 5/77-9/80, and Friend Member Lesley Hayward (from the Personal Flying Log of her late husband Dick Hayward, Pilot 10/69-6/72), add names to the Northolt postings page - see below
Ken Bate DFM Air Bomber 3/43-9/43 in Jack Stephen's F for Freddie reunion stalwarts crew died on 20th February 2006. Our condolences have been sent to the four surviving crew members, and are being sent to the family. The news of Ken's death was delayed by the family having to cope with the very serious illness of another member, who following a major operation is now home and recovering well.
Julian van Geersdaele writes that his father Alan died in 1981. F/Sgt AEJ Van Geersdaele was Air Electronics aircrew with the Squadron from 1956, promoted to Master Signaller in 1957 and left in 1960 for Officer Cadet Training Unit at RAF Jurby. He was on Victors at Wittering and retired in 1968 at the age of 47 with 3,500 flying hours.
The OUT OF TOUCH link has been added to the top of this page. It aims to help us find out what has happened to people who are no longer in touch. If you can help please contact us - and if you are named and wish to rejoin we will be delighted to hear from you!
Don Bell Nav 10/44-7/45 in the Doug Rose crew (and with Jack Cranston when later posted) has provided names for the Navigators Spilsby May 1945 photo - see Memories > Lancasters > Spilsby group photos
Joyce Rose in Manitoba, widow of one of 207's Crazy Gang founders, F/O Douglas Rose DFC, has provided some photos of the Rose crew and the groundcrew. There are also a couple of photos of Joyce Brotherton - we need to identify the officer in one of these - see Spilsby > Rose crew or Memorials > Crews > Brotherton (Joyce's page has been updated)
Kevin Mapley has again been busy refurbishing the Spilsby Airfield Memorial, assisted by Roger Aston and Fred Pearce. Thank you from all of us. As he was 'on site' Kevin was able to attend a brief ceremony to commemorate the10th April RAF Spilsby Bomb Dump explosion, when 10 men lost their lives. Armourer Ken Smith laid a wreath and Rev Harry Orchard, former Spilsby Flying Control Officer, took the prayers - see Spilsby Area News at the top of this page or Stations > Spilsby > 207 in the area
On 6th April Kevin took Honorary Member Mrs Dorothy Ware to 1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron ATC for her - on behalf of the Association - to hand over the The Thomas Skelton ATC Trophy to OC Flt Lt Lana Willson RAFVR(T). It will be competed for by 1279's Senior NCOs. This year's winner was Sgt Brice.
The Trophy recognises Mrs Ware's great generosity to our various memorial appeals and is in memory of Sgt Thomas Skelton, her first husband, who was kia May 1943 - see Links > our ATC Sqns
The 207 Sqn in the life of the Spilsby Area page has been updated with a photo from Raymond Glynne-Owen (Chairman of the Spilsby Local History Society) of Harvest Festival in October 1944 - where was it taken? see Stations > Spilsby > 207 in the area or Spilsby Area News at the top of this page
Raymond has also provided information on two 207s named on the Boston War Memorial - F/Sgt Richard Cross kia 4 May 1944, and Sgt Walter Upsall, kia 27 April 1944: John Humphreys of Swinton, near Mexborough , South Yorkshire who is researching the names on the Cenotaph at St Margaret's Church, Swinton, has added P/O Frank Mason, kia 14 October 1941, to our page of 207s on local war memorials - see Memorials > 207s on local war memorials
Looking to the future, the Membership Secretary is keen to identify and trace post-war members of the Squadron and their families. He has been visiting the National Archives at Kew, London, to research the postings to and from the Squadron at Marham and Northolt as shown in the 207 Squadron ORBs. These records mainly cover aircrew.
Progress to date on this ongoing project is as follows - if you are mentioned and not in touch with the Association - or perhaps you know someone who is listed and can put them in touch - we would like to hear from you:
- Marham 1956 to the end of 1960 - see Memories > Valiants > Postings (or Stations > Marham)
- Northolt 1969 to 1975 (later records are not accessible in the National Archives) - see Stations > Northolt
Some frequently asked questions come up when a member of the Association or someone who served on the Squadron dies. A page is now provided to answer these questions. It also provides links to some websites giving practical information on what to do when someone in the family dies - see the When someone dies link above or via Memorials
When someone dies page introduced - see above
Frank Belfitt DFM, Observer 2/41-3/42 died in his sleep on 28th March after a long period of ill health. He was a regular attender of our reunions up to 2003 and was a stalwart supporter of RAFA in Northern Ireland. His funeral is at 1.30 pm on Friday, 31st March at Roselawn Crematorium, Belfast. Our condolences go to his family, with whom we have been in close touch over these latter days, which Frank knew and appreciated. If you wish to be in touch with them please contact the Editor.
Lachlan Rutherford has provided a new photo of Joyce Brotherton, taken in Grantham in 1954. Lachlan is the nephew of Ted Lawson, pilot of ME473, lost in a collision with a 57 Sqn Lanc on 2 March 1945 - see Memorials > 207 crews .. Lawson, Joyce Brotherton.
We are building a database of those who served on the Squadron at Northolt or Marham. The postings so far identified are from the Squadron ORBs for 1969 to 1975: if you have lists of those who served with you at these stations please contact the editor - see postings info via link on the Northolt section of the Stations page or via Memories > Bassett/Pembroke/Devon
DD Home Entertainment are putting together a DVD on the Valiant and are urgently seeking interviews with Valiant aircrew and groundcrew - for more information click appeal
Sqn Ldr Jack Christen OC 207R Sqn writes 8 Mar 07: A letter from the Airport Manager of Robin Hood Airport, formerly RAF Finningley says he intends to dedicate a Heritage Memorial at the airport on 31 March 2006 to mark ten years since the last lowering of the RAF Ensign. All current serving units that were involved with Finningley are invited to attend the event. A detachment from 207 Sqn was there when they were a Communication Squadron.
I intend to be there to represent the Squadron and will attempt to ensure the Squadron flypast at a suitable point. Having spoken to Mr David Ryall, the Managing Director of Robin Hood Airport, he is keen to have any past Squadron members who served at Finningley [at any time but in particularly if on 207] to also attend. The ceremony is planned to start at 1400 on 31 March 2006 and expected to be complete by 1600.
If you served at Finningley, especially in the 207 detachment, please contact the Editor.
Members are reminded that the booking form for our Saturday 2nd September Reunion in Derby is in the Winter 2005/Spring 2006 Newsletter
Mike Harrall Pilot 6/61-7/64, in Norfolk
Ken Cook Air Gunner 11/44-6/45 in Larry French's crew, living in France: also served on 617 Sqn
Tony Delaney brother in law of Ken Cook
Chris J Whyte grandson of John Whyte, Pilot, evaded 15/2/43 L7547; a Kiwi working in London
Bert Irwin has written to say his father AK 'Bert' Irwin DFC has died at the age of 88 on 20th January 2006 in Vancouver. Bert snr was the Navigator the McDowell crew during training, and for their early ops on 207 in Autumn 1943. After their sixth trip, Sqn Ldr McDowell told Bert they were being selected for Pathfinders. A medical problem resulted in hospitalization and an operation for Bert. The crew picked up a replacement navigator (P/O Edward Laming Jackson). On Kassell, October 22, 1943, with a 2nd pilot aboard (P/O John Elliott Kirkup) they were shot down and all were killed. On returning to the Squadron from hospital Bert joined another crew which was soon selected for Pathfinders and he went to 83 Sqn, completing in all 47 operations. Our condolences go to the Irwin family. We welcome Bert jr as a Friend member.
Patrick Gubbins in Middlesex joins us - he was an Air Bomber 2/46-5/46
Maurice Askew, Flight Engineer 11/43-2/44, was taken POW when the Jarvis crew was lost on Leipzig, 20 Feb 44, EE126, EM-A. No Caviar for a Kingfisher, published 2005, is an account of his life in the Midlands town of Redditch, his time in the RAF and his postwar career which took in the first seven years of Granada Television - see 207 Books
A Happy New Year to all visiting this website.
Rob Kirby writes: Charles Hall, WOp/AG 1/41-9/41, POW, Lewis crew on Berlin 8/9/41 (Manchester L7380 EM-W), died in his sleep after a long illness, at 1am on Saturday 20th January in a Nursing Home here in Taunton. The funeral is on Friday 3rd February at 0930 at Taunton Deane Crematorium, Wellington New Road, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 5NE. I plan to attend and will represent the Association, though if others can also attend, please contact the editor.
Mrs Lesley Summers writes: "My father, Ken Cowgill, who served as an Air Gunner with 207 Squadron, died peacefully at home on 23rd January 2006. Anyone who knew him is welcome to attend the funeral, which is to be held at Southport Crematorium on Tuesday 31st January at 1.30pm." Our condolences have been sent to Lesley and the family. If any members can represent the Association at Ken's funeral, please contact the editor.
In early 2003 we noted that Ken Cowgill Air Gunner 9/43-7/44 was now in touch with the family of his fellow gunner in the Cosens crew, Tony Owen. Ken was badly injured on the raid on Hanover on 27/28 September 1943 and did not rejoin the Cosens crew, which was eventually lost, all killed, on Berlin (ND510 EM-T). Len Field was the rear gunner who replaced Ken.
Wallace McIntosh is now back at home after convalescence following an operation. His family have kept us in touch with his progress and we wish him all the best for his recovery.
Ron Winton has added some names to the Spilsby group photos - see Memories > Lancasters > Spilsby group photos
The New Year begins with news from the Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse. Sqn Ldr Paul Stockley, who succeeded Sqn Ldr Al Dolding as OC 207 on 13 Sep 2004, is leaving the Air Force with a view to returning to New Zealand and a new career. Paul has been a very good friend to the Association and we hope he will continue his link with us. He has said how much he has valued the opportunities to meet us. His attendance at Peggy Priestley's funeral in Harrogate was much appreciated by her family. We also wish Lt Cdr Peter Lumsden RN, Association Liaison Officer, well in his new posting when it comes through.
Sqn Ldr Jack Christen BSc MEng RAF, who was already serving as an Instructor on the Squadron, took over command on 2 Jan 2006. A biography will be provided in the forthcoming Newsletter. We welcome him and hope to see him at the reunion in September. He has served tours on the F4 Phantom and F3 Tornado - see 207R link
An obituary on Peter Ward-Hunt appeared in The Times on 3 January 2006. See below for the link to the one in the Daily Telegraph on Dec 14.
After 60 years, contact has been made with the family of CJ Mike Solly, pilot of EM-M LL973, kia on 21/22.6.44 on Wesseling.
'Ren' Watters, Pilot 1/45-9/45, New Zealand died on 5th November 2005. Our condolences go to his widow Betty and their family and friends.
F/O Raymond Lewis's crew were lost without trace on Bohlen 20/21 March 1945. Thanks to Friend member David Nicholls we now have much information on the Rear Gunner, Tom Lawton, whose nephews have joined as Friends; some via David from the family of Jim Dewdney F/E and we have traced that Henry Collin M/U is named on a Peterborough war memorial. If you have any memories of this crew (the others were: F/O John Duncan Smith, Navigator; W/O William Bruce Judd, WOp; and F/Sgt Gerald Matsumoto, Air Bomber) please contact the editor - see via Memorials > those on war memorials > Collin or Lawton
Lachlan Rutherford, nephew of Edward (Ted) McMaster Lawson, pilot of Lancaster ME473 EM-H, which collided (with the loss of all aboard) with a 57 Sqn aircraft on 2nd March 1945 and crashed in Ruskington Fen, has provided photos of his uncle and of the crew and Ted's car. Did anyone else have this car, said to be a 1933 Morris ?LA261 before or after him?
In 1996 one of those aboard ME473 was buried at Cambridge City Cemetery - see Memorials > 207 crews > Lawson.