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No. 7 Squadron Royal Flying Corps in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 7 Squadron Royal Flying Corps during the Great War -

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No. 7 Squadron Royal Flying Corps

1st May 1914   No 7 Squadron formed at Farnborough on 1 May 1914, the last squadron of the RFC to be formed before the outbreak of war, but was disbanded to bring other Squadrons up to strength.

It was reformed on 28th September 1914 and proceeded to France in April 1915.

The squadron was engaged in both bombing and reconnaissance during the Battles of the Somme in 1916 and 1917, and at Ypres in 1917, and in support of Belgium forces in the closing months of the war. It disbanded at the end of 1919.

15th September 1916 New Positions  236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report:

At 0620 all our Artillery bombarded violently the selected German positions and the 4th Army offensive commenced. The Divisions on our left and right (50th Division and New Zealand Division) made satisfactory progress. The right Battalion of the 140th London Brigade made progress but the left Battalion and the 141st London Brigade were held up at the start by machine gun fire.

At 0800 the artillery again bombarded the enemy front line in High Wood. After half an hour's bombardment the artillery lifted. The Infantry again attacked and captured the Wood chiefly by working round the flanks. A line was then dug running more or less East to West in front of the North East corner of the Wood. At 1815 the 23rd London regiment and 24th London Regiment assaulted the second objective with the 21st London Regiment on their right.(These are 3 Battalions in the 142nd London Brigade) The 2nd objective was not taken but a new line was dug about 250 yards in front of High Wood.

The Brigade employed 7.0.0. to go forward and find out position of Infantry.

A236 B236 and C236 Batteries moved up during the night to new positions about 500 yards to the North East of Bazentin le Petit. During the night the enemy shelled Bazentin le Grand and valley moving North West and South East with tear gas shells. Otherwise all was fairly quiet on this front. Col Lowe DSO OC. 236 Brigade RFA was liaison officer to 141st Infantry Brigade. Lt Blackwell A236 Battery was awarded the Military Cross. (Note-Bazentin Le Petit is directly behind High Wood and Mametz Wood, mentioned next day, is directly behind that.)

[Comment: Tanks were used for the first time in this battle but could not move well on the terrain and were very unreliable, (only 13 took part in the attacks out of an intended 49 tanks and most of those broke down as well) so they are highly unlikely to have featured in observation work.

More relevant is the fact that 7th Squadron Royal Flying Corps were working with a primary role of reconnaisance support in this sector which gives three other possibilities for BAZ 7.0.0 as follows:

  • 1. It could be an aircraft from the squadron, with an Artillery officer as passenger, in wireless or message communication reporting on enemy movements.
  • 2. Planes were used to drop spies behind enemy lines to carry out spotting work and report enemy movements.
  • 3. Balloons were also used for observations either tethered or towed.

    One cannot be really sure but No.1 seems the best guess. It is also possibly just a reference for an Observation Point in the Bazentin area, but there is a mention of sending it forward to observe and locate enemy troop movements so that seems unlikely as well.}

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    Those known to have served with

    No. 7 Squadron Royal Flying Corps

    during the Great War 1914-1918.

    • Dowding Hugh Caswell Tremenheere. Group Capt.
    • Liddell John Aidan. Capt. (d.31st Aug 1915)
    • Liddell John Aidan. Captain (d.31st August 1915)
    • Wilson C. E.. 2nd Lt. (d.16th April 1917)

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    Want to know more about No. 7 Squadron Royal Flying Corps?

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