207 SQUADRON ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORY

HISTORY OF THE SQUADRON ASSOCIATION


Formation

These were some of the principal guests of those who met at RAF Northolt in September 1983.

The occasion was to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the famous BBC recording made by Reg Pidsley of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's commentary during Lancaster EM-F's sortie to Berlin with Ken Letford's crew on 3 Sep 1943.

George Mitchell, of 207 Sqn at Northolt, can be seen on the left.




L-R: Charles Stewart (F/E), Ken Letford (Pilot), Wynford Vaughan-Thomas (BBC Correspondent), Bill Bray (B/A). [source: Ron Winton]

It was on this occasion that the idea of forming an Association took firm root. Several months later on June 30th 1984, 207 Squadron disbanded at RAF Northolt.

In October that year the Squadron Association was formed with the late AVM David Dick as Chairman and President. The Squadron Standard, which was presented to the Squadron by Her Majesty The Queen at Marham in 1956, was laid up in Leicester Cathedral on Sunday 14th October 1984. A Memorial Book was added in 1989.

Every year we had a Reunion and Dinner - mostly held in Derby, England at the Midland Hotel. When a memorial was being dedicated in Europe, sometimes a group visit was arranged.

There was a significant overseas membership and as time went on the proportion of Friend Members increased. Some Honorary members were created in recognition of the service they had given to the Association, such as organising the erection of a memorial.

The Association was actively involved in the establishment of memorials, in recording its casualties and having an official squadron history produced. Its website was among the earliest to appear and had a significant impact on enabling membership and the gathering of information.

After being 'homeless' since 1984 the renaming of No.2 Squadron 1 FTS as No.207 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in July 2002 afforded the Association new opportunities.

In 2013 it was finally decided to close the Association as few new members were joining and no-one was coming forward to replace retiring committee members. 207(R) Squadron had also once again disbanded, merging into 72(R) Squadron.

We Will Remember Them

207 Squadron suffered 977 killed, both aircrew and groundcrew; 200 have no known grave. 171 others were Prisoners of War and 39 evaded capture.

1997 saw the completion of the Association's program to dedicate Memorials to those who gave their lives and freedom for others whilst serving with No.207 Squadron RAF, placed at the bases from which the Squadron mainly suffered casualties. There are also some splendid local memorials with which the Association was linked, arising from local initiatives:

Memorials in Britain and Europe

Memorials large and small have been dedicated to 207 Squadron crews:

Individual graves are respected by many individuals and communities in former Occupied Europe, to whom the Association was grateful.

In 1998 three members of the crew of Lancaster DV361, EM-V were commemorated on a memorial erected by a local initiative at Brigstock, near Oundle.

In September 2005, at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, the Association dedicated a tree and plaque to all who served on 207 Squadron.

207 Squadron remembered at the former 55 Base HQ and the site of RAF Spilsby

East Kirkby near Spilsby, Lincolnshire, was 55 Base HQ for RAF Spilsby - now it is the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. A Memorial to 44, 57, 207, 630 & 619 Squadrons was dedicated in 1995 and is situated beside the restored Control Tower. Some trees have been planted there in memory of 207 Squadron crews.

On 25th August 2001 on the site of former RAF Spilsby, the Spilsby Airfield Memorial for all who served at RAF Spilsby was dedicated. This was the result of an initiative by local people and members of the Association. However this weathered badly and was replaced by a new memorial designed by Kevin Mapley and dedicated on 9th June 2012.

The Association made donations to the Bomber Command Memorial Appeal and the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial, as well as to the RAF Benevolent Fund.

see also the Memorials section of this website

Links to other Associations

207 Squadron RAF Association had useful links via members with the:

Bomber Command Association,
Royal Air Force Association,
Air Gunners Association,
Aircrew Association,
Caterpillar Club,
Goldfish Club,

... and many other Squadron Associations, as well as the Air Training Corps - 207 (Cranfield) Squadron, the former 2266 (Spilsby) Squadron and 1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron.

Support was given in gratitude (and continues) to kindred associations through the hosting and editorship of the Royal Air Forces Register of Associations website and websites for 207 (Reserve) Squadron RAF, the WAAF Association, the RAF Ex-POW Association, and the Royal Air Forces Escaping Society 1945-95. These can all be be visited via www.rafinfo.org.uk (see left). The update site for Honorary Member Bill Chorley's series of books on RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War is also hosted and edited.

The Association is closed but the memories and history continue in this website. Please contact the editor in the first instance if you wish to add information or seek contact.

last update 22 Dec 13