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 207 Squadron Royal Air Force Association was formed with the late AVM David Dick as Chairman and President. Its aims, which this website continues to honour, were:
to foster in a practical form the spirit of comradeship, co-operation and mutual service founded in No.7 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service and No.207 Squadron Royal Air Force.
to identify and preserve the record of service and the achievements of No.7 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service and No.207 Squadron Royal Air Force and of No.207 (Reserve) Squadron Royal Air Force.
Squadron Membership was made up of those who had service in whatever capacity on those Squadrons. Friend membership was for those who had a connection (such as a family member served on 207, or 7RNAS) or some special interest in the Squadrons.
A limited number of five-year Honorary members were admitted by invitation of the Committee after consideration of nominations by members. Honorary members were those who had not served on the Squadron but had given exceptional service to the Association, such as key involvement in the creation of a memorial. OC 207R Squadron and Association Liaison Officer on 207R were Honorary members whilst in post.
Self-funding annual reunions and visits (such as to Memorial dedications) were organised by a Reunion Secretary. The (unpaid) Committee was made up of the President, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, Reunion Secretary, Newsletter/Website Editor and, as required, co-opted members. The Committee stood for election at AGMs held during reunions. There was a significant overseas membership and as time went on the proportion of Friend Members increased.
The Association was actively involved in the establishment of memorials, in recording its casualties and having an official squadron history produced (ALWAYS PREPARED, by John Hamlin). Its website was launched in 1989, among the earliest to appear, and had a significant impact on enabling membership and the gathering of information.
Post the closing of the Association, non-members who believe that they would have qualified for membership of the Association are invited to express interest in keeping in touch by contacting the editor. Any postal communications should please include a stamped addressed reply envelope.
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 presented to the Cathedral in 1989.The renaming of No.2 Squadron 1 FTS at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in July 2002 as No.207 (Reserve) Squadron afforded the Association new opportunities. A new revised Squadron Standard was presented by HRH Prince Andrew in 2003. In 2012 as a result of Defence cuts 207(R) Squadron became a Flight of 72(R) Squadron. 207(R) Squadron's Disbandment Parade in 2012 was followed by the Laying Up of the Squadron Standard in Lincoln Cathedral in 2013.
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. Some members continued to meet annually.
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:
- 1992 - a Memorial Tablet and Book of Remembrance were dedicated in All Saints Church, Great Steeping, to those lost from former RAF Spilsby, from where most of 207 Squadron's WWII casualties occurred.
- 1994 - as a result of a marvellous local initiative, a Memorial was placed at the entrance of the former RAF Langar airfield, which is still used for recreational flying and parachute training. The BBMF Lancaster again participated. A Book of Remembrance was also placed in St. Andrew's Church, Langar.
- 1995 - a Book of Remembrance and a Memorial Tablet were dedicated in St. Mary the Virgin, Bottesford, to those lost from the former RAF Bottesford.
- 1996 - a Book of Remembrance and a Memorial Tablet were dedicated in the Chapel at RAF Waddington.
- 1997 - a Memorial Scroll was placed in the Chapel at RAF Marham.
The greatest number of the Squadron's wartime casualties were on operations from RAF Spilsby in Lincolnshire.
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, notably Ron Winton.
However this weathered badly and was replaced by a much admired new memorial designed by Kevin Mapley and was dedicated on 9th June 2012. The 2001 Memorial's obelisk was restored and placed in the grounds of Monksthorpe Chapel on the other side of the airfield.
Memorials in Britain and Europe
Memorials large and small have been dedicated to 207 Squadron crews:
- in France, at Barembach, Haudricourt, Holtzwihr, Margny, Neaufles-St.-Martin, Sérifontaine and St Brisson
- in Denmark, at Låstrup
- in Switzerland, at Le Bouveret.
- in Belgium, at Meeuwen
Individual graves are respected by many individuals and communities, in former Occupied Europe, for example at Eindhoven, 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.
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,
... 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 was also hosted and edited.
Although the Association is closed, 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 with someone.
last updated 22 Dec 13: 6 Jan 19