No. 7 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 7 Squadron went through three incarnations during the Second World War, although only in the third did it see active duty. At the outbreak of war, it was a pool squadron in No. 6 Group of Bomber Command, providing training on the Handley Page Hampden. In April 1940 the squadron merged with No. 76 Squadron, creating No.16 OTU.

The second incarnation of No. 7 Squadron was short lived, lasting from 30 April to 20 May 1940. It was to have been a bomber squadron equipped with the Hampden, but the collapse of France altered priorities.

Short Stirling MG-D of No.7 Squadron, RAF
Short Stirling MG-D of
No.7 Squadron, RAF

Finally, on 1 August 1940 No. 7 Squadron reformed for the second time, with the Short Stirling, making it the first RAF squadron to use one of the four engine heavy bombers. It flew its first operation with the Stirling on 10 February 1941, after the RAF came under great pressure to bring the Stirling into use. This raid, against oil tanks at Rotterdam, was the first sortie flown by one of the RAF's four engine heavy bombers.

As the first Stirling squadron, it is not surprising that in October 1942 No. 7 Squadron became the Stirling element of the Pathfinder Force. It remained with the Pathfinders for the rest of the war, converting to the Avro Lancaster in July 1943.

Location

Personnel of No.7 Squadron RAF, 1945
Personnel of
No.7 Squadron RAF, 1945
1-15 September 1939: Doncaster
14-23 September 1939: Finningley
23 September 1939-4 April 1940: Upper Heyford

30 April-20 May 1940: Finningley

1 August-29 October 1940: Leeming
29 October 1940-24 July 1945: Oakington

Radar Section, No. 7 Squadron RAF, March 1945
Radar Section,
No. 7 Squadron RAF,
March 1945
Aircraft
April 1939-May 1940:  Handley Page Hampden I
August 1940-July 1943: Short Stirling I
March 1943-July 1943: Short Stirling III
July 1943-January 1950: Avro Lancaster I and III

Squadron Codes: MG

Crew of Lancaster MG-N, No.7 Squadron, April 1945
Crew of Lancaster
MG-N, No.7
Squadron, April 1945

Group and Duty
April 1939-4 April 1940: Pool bomber squadron with No. 6 Group
30 April-20 May 1940: Briefly reforms as bomber squadron
1 August 1940-October 1942: Bomber Command
October 1942-end of war: Pathfinders Force

Known Raids/ Significant Dates
August 1940: Becomes RAF's first Stirling squadron
10/11 February 1941: RAF's first Stirling mission, against oil tanks at Rotterdam

Books

Bomber Offensive, Sir Arthur Harris. The autobiography of Bomber Harris, giving his view of the strategic bombing campaign in its immediate aftermath. Invaluable for the insights it provides into Harris’s approach to the war, what he was trying to achieve and the problems he faced. Harris perhaps overstates his case, not entirely surprisingly given how soon after the end of the war this book was written (Read Full Review)
cover cover cover
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 March 2007), No. 7 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/7_wwII.html
Last revised: 28 April 2007

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