From No.7 RNAS to No.207 RAF

With the foundation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, all ex-RNAS squadrons were given the prefix "200" to avoid confusion with the RFC squadrons. Thus No.7 RNAS Squadron became No.207 Squadron Royal Air Force.

Shown on the right is a souvenir of the Last Dinner of No.7 Squadron, No.5 Wing RNAS (in future: No.207 Squadron, No.65 Wing, ROYAL AIR FORCE).

Frank Wootton's painting April Morning: France,1918

The advent of the Royal Air Force saw changes in rank titles, for example the RNAS Squadron and Flight Commander ranks now became Army ranks of Major and Captain.

Thus Sqn Cdr Stanley-Adams (see signature to left of 7 Sqn stamp) became Major Stanley-Adams. It was not until August 1919 that the present day RAF ranks came into force.

Apart from 7(N) RNAS becoming No.207 Sqn RAF, the other offshoots of 7 RNAS at Coudequerke also renumbered: Nos.14(N), 15(N) and 16(N) became No.214-216 Sqns RAF respectively.

To 'celebrate' this occasion, on the last night of March 1918 preparations were put in hand for a raid in the early hours of 1 April against Bruges Docks and Thourout railway junction, involving four Handley Pages from 207 Squadron, (HPs 1459, 3128, 3119 and 1462), and five from 214 Squadron. The raids were carried out between 0330 and 0430 hrs and a total of seven tons of bombs were dropped.

It was the last raid to be flown by 207 Squadron for the moment because on 22 April the unit was withdrawn first to Cappelle and then to Netheravon, England, later moving to Andover on 13 May, in order to re-equip with new Handley Page 0/400s and to train replacement air and ground crews.

This move had already been 'compensated for' by the formation of a new Handley Page squadron, No.I5(N), at Coudekerque on 10 March, 1918, from elements transferred from 7(N) and 14(N) Sqns RNAS. However, No.215 Sqn (as it was retitled on 1 April 1918) was also withdrawn to England, moving to Netheravon on 23 April, then joining 207 Sqn at Andover on 13 May, and being brought up to full establishment of Handley Page aircraft and crews.

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updated 15 March 2015