Traces of World War 2 
Royal Air Force - No. 7 Squadron
01/01/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 28 June 2008

Bomber - Handley Page Hampden

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In the spring of 1938 No.7 received its first modern monoplanes, the Whitley I. These were replaced by Whitley IIIs in late 1938, but during April/May, 1939, the squadron was re-armed yet again - this time with Handley Page Hampdens.

When the Second World War broke out the squadron was at Doncaster and engaged in training crews to operational standard for No.5 Group. It moved back to Finningley and then to Upper Heyford (No.6 Training Group) during the third and fourth weeks of September 1939, and in April, 1940, lost its identity when it was absorbed into No.16 OTU. It re-formed at Finningley at the end of April - again as a Hampden bomber squadron - but was disbanded three weeks later.

Re-formed again in August 1940, at Leeming, No.7 became the first squadron in Bomber Command to have four-engined bombers, and by early 1941 had moved to Oakington and was ready to begin operations with its new Short Stirlings. On the night of 10/11th February 1941, No.7 made its first bombing attack with the Stirlings - on oil storage tanks at Rotterdam - and just over two months later paid its first visit to Berlin. Among other early targets were Brest, Rotterdam, Emden (this was the target when the squadron made its first daylight raid, on 28th April), Hamburg and Mannheim. In 1942 minelaying was added to the squadron's duties and in May and June its Stirlings took part in the 1,000-bomber raids on Cologne, Essen and Bremen. Later that year it was one of the five squadrons selected to form the nucleus of the Pathfinder Force.

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Losses 01/01/1940 - 30/06/1940

01/01/1940: Training, UK. 1 a/c lost, 3 KIA, 1 WIA

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01/01/1940: Training, UK

Hampden I
Serial number: P1260, MG-?
Operation: daytime cross country navigation exercise
Lost: 01/01/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Horace M. MacGregor, RAF 41855, 7 Sqdn., age 19, 01/01/1940, Harrow (Pinner) New Cemetery, UK
Sergeant [Navigator] Robert J. Bailey, RAF 581258, 7 Sqdn., age 19, 01/01/1940, Boldon (Whitburn) Cemetery, UK
Sergeant (W.Op.) Thomas O. Dennis, RAF 518112, 7 Sqdn., age 28, 01/01/1940, Birkenhead (Flaybrick Hill) Cemetery, UK
Corporal (W.Op./Air Gunner) Ted Brightmore - injured.
From: Peak District Air Crashes and BBC's WW2 Peoples War: 'The crew of P1260 were on a daytime cross country navigation exercise from RAF Upper Heyford, they flew to Blackpool and then out over the Irish Sea. The weather over the sea was poor and the crew became lost in low cloud and snow. Corporal Brightmore was in the process of winding out the trailing aerial so the crew could make contact with an RAF station to get a fix on their location when the aircraft ploughed into Snaefell and burst into flames.'

"I remember a terrific thump and tearing sound, being drenched in petrol, a big explosion, rolling into some snow which must have put on my personal fire and saved my life."
- Cpl. Ted Brightmore (in a 1990 letter to Harry Jacobson)

'Corporal Brightmore was flung from the wreck as it broke up but received fairly serious burns, he staggered do the hill eventually reaching a cottage in Sulby Glen. He was treated in Ramsey for three months before being transferred back to Upper Heyford where he was placed on non-flying duties.'

See Hampden Mk.I P1260 for pictures of the crash site circa anno 2000

Sources: CWGC and Peak District Air Accident Research

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Air of Authority - 7 Squadron
Air Force POWs 1939-1945
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database
Australian War Memorial
Bail-outs for 1940
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
German claims and Allied losses, May 1940 - Laurent Rizzotti
The London Gazette
Prisoners of War captured in Europe 1940
Royal Air Force - 7 Squadron
RAF Bomber Command - 7 Squadron
RAF against odds (Time, USA, 27/05/1940)
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account
The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, by Major L.F. Ellis, 1954

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David Clark 'A-Apple'
Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
Docherty 'No. 7 Bomber Squadron RAF in World War 2' (2007)
R Edwards DSO 'In the thick of it- autobiography of a bomber pilot' (Images Publishing 1994)
T G Mahaddie 'Hamish' (Autobiographical; Stirlings 1942) (Ian Allen 1989)
Chris Ward '7 Squadron' (Bomber Command Profile no. 1)
West 'Nothing heard after take off: a short history of 7 squadron 1914-74' (West 1974)

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Abbreviations used in the Royal Air Force
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Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War
The Bristol & District Blitz War Memorial - A register of those who lost their lives due to enemy action in Bristol and surrounding districts, 1940-1944
British Aircraft Directory
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
Canada's Air Force History
HMS Cavalier
Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
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Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
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Aircraft crashes on the North Yorkshire Moors, England
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North East Diary 1939-1945
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The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
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This page is dedicated to the men of 7 Squadron.

With special thanks to Amrit

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to