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No: 7 Squadron
No: 7 Squadron was at Doncaster at the outbreak of the Second World War, engaged in training crews flying Hampdens to operational standard as part of 5 Group. In April 1940, 7 Sqd lost its identity by being absorbed into No.16 OTU. The squadron was re-formed at Finningley at the end of April but was disbanded three weeks later. It was re-formed in August 1940, at Leeming and became the first squadron in Bomber Command to fly four-engined bombers, being equipped with Short Stirlings. They began operations in Feburay 1941. In 1943 it was one of the five squadrons selected to form the he Pathfinder Force and converted to Lancasters in May 1943. One of the most famous raids for 7 squadrom was Peenemunde in August 1943.
Airfields No: 7 Squadron flew from.
- Doncaster, Yorkshire. Sept 1939
- Finningley, Yorkshire 15th Sep 1939 to 23rd Sep 1939
- Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire 23rd Sep 1939 to 8th April 1940
- Finningley Yorkshire 30th April 1940 to 20th May 1940
- Leeming Yorkshire 1st Aug 1940 to 29th Oct 1940
- Oakington Cambridgeshire 29th Oct 1940 to 24th Jul 1945
List of those who served with No: 7 Squadron during The Second World War
- Sgt. Reginald George Brown (d.29th Jan 1944)
- W/O N. J. Clifford pilot Read his Story.
- LAC John James Copley DFM Read his Story.
- Sgt William Richard John Craze Read his Story.
- Sgt. Leslie Ernest James Davenport nav. Read his Story.
- Sgt. William Fraser navigator (d.29th Jan 1944)
- Flt.Sgt. Henry Raymond Glover (d.25th June 1943) Read his Story.
- Sgt. William Edward Goodman Read his Story.
- F/S S. Jarvis pilot Read his Story.
- Flight Sargent Stanley Melville Liddle (d.29th Jan 1944) Read his Story.
- Thomas Reginald Nixon (d.20th Feb 1944) Read his Story.
- Sqd.Ldr. Leonard James Saltmarsh DFC and bar. Read his Story.
- Sgt. Ralph George Sharp pilot Read his Story.
- Sgt. R. W. Wilmott (d.29th Jan 1944)
Flight Sargent Stanley Melville Liddle 7 Squadron (d.29th Jan 1944)
My Wife's brother Stanley Liddle was killed in the crash of Lancaster JA-718 in Northern Germany on the 29th of January 1944, there were two survivors, the Pilot W/O N J Clifford and F/S S. Jarvis. They became POWs in Stalag Luft 6 and Stalag 357. From letters written by Stanley before his death in that crash, we believe that these two RAF members were English. It is our hope that we find either or both of these men so that we can learn more about that period of Stan's life.
The crew were:
- Sgt W.Fraser
- Sgt R.W.Willmott
- Sgt R.G.Brown
- F/S S.M.Liddle RCAF
- Sgt R.G.Sharp
- W/O N.J.Clifford
- F/S S.Jarvis
Sgt. Ralph George Sharp pilot 7 Sqd.
W/O Clifford was the pilot of Lancaster JA-718, he survived the crash on the the 29th of January 1944 and was held as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 6 and Stalag 357. We would love to hear from him or his family as my wife's brother Stanley Liddle was one of his crew.
F/S S. Jarvis pilot 7 Sqd.
F/S Jarvis survived the crash of Lancaster JA-718 on the the 29th of January 1944 and was held as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 6 and Stalag 357. We would love to hear from him or his family as my wife's brother Stanley Liddle was one of his crewmates.
W/O N. J. Clifford pilot 7 Sqd.
W/O Clifford was the pilot of Lancaster JA-718, he survived the crash on the the 29th of January 1944 and was held as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 6 and Stalag 357. We would love to hear from him or his family as my wife's brother Stanley Liddle was one of his crew.
LAC John James Copley DFM 38 Squadron
My father, John James Copley DFM, was the first in WW2 to be awarded the DFM from RAF Marham. Last year my family and I were invited to the opening of a new barracks there, Copley Block, named after my father. I have information on being awarded the DFM in 1940, and information on the POW camps he was held in after being shot down and captured in 1941, including some information on the Long March and Run up the Road that he was part of. A friend and I visited Denmark this year and contacted an historian who has dived on the wreck of the aircraft my father was in, and I have held some of the parts of the aircraft that have been brought back from the sea.
Born in 1912 John entered the RAF in July 1935 as ACH/Mate, later in the year gaining the rank of AC2. He was trained firstly as Flight Rigger and was posted to 38 Squadron at Mildenhall 17th July 1936, becoming an AC1 31st December 1936. He arrived at the newly opened Marham Aerodrome with 38 Squadron on 5th May 1937. His personal diary for 1937 documents this event and gives some details of training and night flights. He became Flight Rigger Air Gunner on 19th July 1938, promoted to LAC 31st December 1938.
On the 3rd December 1939, 24 Wellington bombers from 38, 115 and 149 Squadrons attacked German warships off Heligoland, Germany. Hits were made on a cruiser and armed trawler during the raid. During the raid 38 Squadron Wellington captain, Pilot Officer E T Odore (later Group Captain DFC, AFC) strayed away from the main formation and was attacked by German fighters. Attacked from astern by an Me.109, LAC Copley, rear gunner, was able to fire two bursts at point blank range (200yards) and saw the fighter climb sharply and stall, falling out of control out of the sky into the sea. The Wellington was liberally peppered with bullets and cannon shells, some of which penetrated the port engine tank and cylinder. Unknown to the crew it slashed the port undercarriage. On landing back at base in RAF Marham, the aircraft ground looped due to the punctured port wheel. The rear turret wings were hanging in strips and there was a punctured petrol tank. All crew were evacuated quickly. When LAC Copley landed he found a German machine gun bullet lodged in the quick release box of his parachute buckle just touching his flesh. This he saved to remind him of how lucky he had been. It is now on show in the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, with his DFM and other items of interest.
The Distinguished Flying Medal citation appeared in the London Gazette of 2nd January 1940. The DFM was presented to him at RAF Feltwell on 20th March 1940. LAC J J Copley DFM is first on the Honours board in Marham today. To pay honour to their local hero the village people of South Hiendley, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, presented him with a gold inscribed pocket watch, presented by Mr A F C Assinder, New Monkton colliery manager, in Felkirk Church village hall. John had worked at New Monkton colliery before joining the RAF.
On 27th July 1940 Copley was posted to 15 OUT at Harwell, to 214 Squadron at Stradishall, from there to 7 Squadron at Oakington Cambridgshire, 30th October1940. He was promoted to Sergeant, 31st December 1940; 7th May 1941 he became Flight Engineer.
29th September 1941 at 18.50, Stirling Mk.I serial number W7441 coded MG-Y , MG indicating No. 7 Squadron RAF, Y radio code (the aircraft Copley was in), took off from Oakington air base, England to bomb Stettin near the Oder river to the east of Berlin. Since the aircraft was meant to lead the attack, it was loaded with flares and fire bombs (a total of 18 SBCs) to be dropped over the target so that the other aircraft would be able to aim their bombs as fires broke out. The outward journey over the North Sea and Denmark went according to plan. When W7441 reached the east coast of Jutland it was attacked by a Messerschmidt Bf 110 Night Fighter. The gunners were able to avert the attack, then a moment later, W7441 was again attacked by the Bf 110 (from 3/1/NJG 1-3 Staffel of the first group in Nachtjagdgeschwader 1). The attack was carried out by Lieutenant Schmitz. High from the right side, he set the Stirling’s right wing ablaze. It crashed in Lillebaelt South of Brandso at 22.47. It was Lieutenant Schmitz's third confirmed kill.
Interrogation Report of Sergeant John J. Copley (V G Nielson police constable L H Rasch, police sergeant) following capture at Trappendal in Hejls:
'REPORT Tuesday 30.9.1941. After giving name rank number, date of birth, etc. he explained that he had been on board an aircraft, a four engine bomber, with six other airmen, refusing to give precise departure details. They had flown across north Germany, following orders to drop bombs over Stettin. While they were on their way they were attacked by German aircraft presumably from Heligoland or Sild. They engaged combat and the person questioned said shot down German aircraft. They discovered that their aircraft was on fire. The fire spread quickly and orders were given to bale out. This person does not believe that the rest of the crew escaped.
According to Copley the aircraft exploded and crashed near to the coast. He was shown a map, and points out a location between Anslet and Brandso or Branso and Funen without venturing the precise location of aircraft.
He had landed safely in his parachute which he said he had left in a small forest, whereupon he headed North on foot. During the landing he had hurt his left knee which was very painful. Approximately 500 metres away from forest he hid his safety jacket in an hedge after which he continued walking until later that night came to an outbuilding where he slept for a couple of hours in a straw stack. He then proceeded to the farm from where the police picked him up, Copley knowing he could not go on for much longer owing to injured left leg.
A reconstruction was then conducted with him and in the place he had previously mentioned his safety jacket was found. He then pointed out the forest where his parachute supposedly was, but since he had great difficulty walking, and the forest was inaccessible by car, he could not point out precise location. Constable Hubsmann, Christiansfeld, promised to search for the parachute with his police dog. Furthermore, Hubsmann reported that the police at Haderslev had caught two airmen from the same aircraft, information that pleased the English man very much. The person in question was then taken to Dr Dolmer in Hejls who treated his injured knee. The person was then taken to the criminal investigation office, where he was handed over to Hauptmann Knock and Hauptmann Mahler.'
'W7441 were leading bomber force to its target at Stettin; load consisted of incendiaries and flares. Task was to light up the target for the main force. This was just prior to the introduction of the Pathfinder Force. We left Oakington, 29th Sep about 7pm, taking northerly route over North Sea and Denmark to hit Stettin from the Baltic. However while approaching we were attacked by two 110 German night fighters. The first attacked from underneath astern and damaged port wing. The rear gunner, Fulbeck immediately opened fire and reported he had scored hits. It was then a second 110 attacking from starboard, high astern, his shells caused severe damage, setting the Port wing ablaze knocking out the intercom. Fire broke out in the fuselage and the Captain gave orders to bale out, flying about 10.000 feet, but I estimate that by the time we baled out we were flying at 2000 feet. I only had time to open my parachute, saw I was over the mouth of a river. The aircraft dived down and crashed into the sea just off shore. The wind carried me inland a short distance and I landed in a ploughed field. Landing hurt my back and had difficulty walking. I wandered about, then took shelter in a farm. I found out this was the home of Hensen family which is about 20 mile South of Kolding. They took me into their home gave me food and then put me in one of their famous feather beds. Later I learned where I had landed from maps shown to me. Apparently they had intended to get me out of the country to Sweden, but a search was on for the crew and shortly afterwards two plain-clothed police officers arrived and I was handed over. The Wehrmacht took me to barracks, where I was joined by Captain Cobbold who had been captured earlier. Then a third member arrived, Copley.'
Cobbold, Donaldson, Copley were taken to the German airfield near Flensburge where they were given dinner in the Officer's Mess. Here they met Lieutenant Schmitz who had shot them down. Another member of the crew, Sergeant David Young Niel, navigator, landed near Hejelsminde. He remained missing until Wednesday 1st Oct, when he was arrested as he attempted to cross a bridge. He was handed over to German Wehrmacht in Haderslev. Niel met the other three in POW camp Stalag Luft 3, Sagan, southeast of Berlin.
Three other members of the crew were never found, believed to have gone down with the Sterling Aircraft W7441. We will remember them.
- 1109112 Sergeant Edward Donald V Tovey, 2nd pilot,
- 1325233 Sergeant Eric James Rogers, Air Gunner ( nose turret gunner)
- 618116 Sergeant Charles Waghorn Fulbeck Air Gunner (rear gunner)
My mum at home with her 2 year old twins, and 6 months pregnant, had received a telegram to inform her that her husband was missing, believed dead. Happily soon after she was notified that he had been captured and was in a POW camp. She now knew he was alive but where and for how long. Her third child, a boy was born on Pearl Harbour Day, 7th December 1941. He did not see his dad until after the war; contact was made with my dad but it was very limited.
During my research I was contacted by Rob Thomas, researching information about his uncle Alex Donaldson. Alex Donaldson was in 7 Squadron with my dad, they were friends and worked together and were in POW camp for 3 1/2 years.
Rob contacted my brother to find out if Dad was still alive, and did we have any information about his Uncle Alex? My brother remembered Alex as being a friend of Dad's from the RAF days. Knowing I was trying to piece together Dad's war history, he gave Rob my phone number and since then we have been in regular contact on the internet, and telephone. We met in July 2005, he and his family visited me and we had a great day swapping information and putting it together. Alex had started a project in 1974 to gather details of his account and trace surviving crew members but sadly died two years later in his mid 50s.
Rob s interest has focused on the Stirling aircraft that crashed into the sea in Denmark. He had details left by his Uncle Alex about a man he had met at Farnborough Air Show called Soren Flensted whose hobby was researching RAF losses over Denmark. Rob contacted Soren who had lot of information about the Stirling, and a letter ( dated 1970) written to him by Alex about that fateful night.
Rob went to Denmark with a friend Andy to trace the story. They found a campsite near the area where Sgt Donaldson had landed in his parachute. It turned out that the farm on the campsite was the first building Sgt Donaldson had come to, where he had knocked on the window. Arrangements had been made to meet the Henson family and Asta, the daughter of Johannes Hensen, who was just 10 years old when Sgt Donaldson stayed the night in 1941. In Sgt Donaldson's written account of that night 'there was a young daughter at this house, I later learned her name was Asta Hensen. She got maps out and showed me where I had landed. I had a limited conversation with Asta and then fell to sleep.'
Rob and Andy were given a great welcome. Asta took Rob and Andy to her home where Sgt Donaldson had spent the night in a chicken shed -- the shed is still there. Rob & Andy then took a ride to Germany and visited Stalag Luft III near Berlin. Dad and Alex were held there for 6 months, leaving just before the great escape took place. Returning to Denmark Rob & Andy were contacted by the local diving club, who had located the wreck of the Stirling aircraft. They had salvaged some parts of the aircraft for them to see. Rob & Andy came back home to Derby, and decided they needed to learn to dive. This they did and in 2005 returned to Denmark with their own diving equipment.
Rob and Andy met with Carlsten Jenson, a founder member of the Middelfart diving Club, and custodian of the Stirling wreckage. Jensen knew exactly where to dive and had even salvaged some pieces of the wreck on previous dives. Rob, Andy, Jenson and other diving colleagues, sailed out to the wreck, about two hour trip. They headed down to the depths, the water not too bad, visibility good, could see four to five metres in front of them. Rob was ecstatic, he could not have got any closer to the story, and how pleased his uncle, and my dad would have been. What greeted Rob was hardly recognisable as an aircraft-- just a collection of bent and twisted metal. The wreckage was strewn across the sea bed over an area about the size of a football pitch. The aircraft was probably travelling at about 200 miles an hour when it hit the water. As custodian of the wreck Jenson has a say over who can dive it, and who can take pieces away. He allowed Rob to remove some objects, because he knew about the family connection. Although the wreckage has spent more than 60 years in salt water, some of the pieces salvaged were in good condition. One of the most interesting to Rob was a tail wheel. Another unusual find was a piece of twisted plastic, which appears to be part of the cockpit window.
Rob & Andy both felt mindful of the three RAF crew that had lost their lives in the aircraft, and the wreck was effectively a war grave. They were careful not to cause too much disturbance. 'Out of the three, one of the bodies was found on the beach by a local. It is now thought to be that of C W Fulbeck, the rear gunner. However the front gunner and co-pilot never got out of the Stirling before it crashed, so their remains could be buried there'. Jenson says that the echo-sounder had picked up something buried deep in the mud, it is thought to be the front end of the Stirling.
Rob, on his visit to me in 2005, brought parts of the Stirling for me to see. He is keeping them in water to stop the oxidising, and intends to clean them up and seal with a mixture of linseed oil and paraffin. Parts of the Stirling W4771 aircraft, preserved and held in Denmark, include oxygen cylinders, machine gun propeller blades, escape hatch and engine cylinders.
I have been doing research into my father's WW2 history for 7 years now and have lots of information. I have started a web site dedicated to my father www.copeydfm.co.uk
Sgt. William Edward Goodman 7 Squadron
I am the daughter of William 'Bill' Goodman who served in the RAF during the Second World War. He was returning with the crew from a mission to Emden when their plane, a Stirling, was shot down in the Friesland area and they made their way to Ferwerd.
In my father's own words: "Our intention was to approach the Friesian Islands about 13000 feet, but those atmospherics took our ‘lift’ away and we could get no more than 10000 feet. Even at that height we could be seen in silhouette from almost any direction, which was a potential hazard, and all crew members were asked to keep a very sharp look-out.
We were suddenly shaken by the impact of cannon shells striking into the starboard (right) wing which burst into flame. The shells had damaged the throttle and other controls to both starboard engines and the starboard aileron as well as the bomb doors on that side. Because those two engines could not be controlled by the throttles and lack of aileron control caused the plane to fly on a long circular track, which would bring us down in the middle of the North Sea, but Buck worked up a huge sweat with the exertion of holding some sort of course which would bring us over the Fresian Islands and, hopefully the Dutch coast before the plane exploded. We made it and he gave the order to abandon.
My ‘chute opened and I was drifting more or less serenely to earth, wondering how many had managed to get out when I was startled out of my thoughts by an aircraft which seemed as if had narrowly missed me. It was twin engined, a Messerschmitt 110 night fighter as I remember. I saw the flaming comet which ‘J - Johnnie’ had become curving round on its final course and I wondered how many had managed to escape, Buck especially in view of the way he had captained us and ensured our safety for so long. Suddenly the aircraft exploded into a fireball hurtling through the sky and towards earth. I looked downwards and saw I was falling towards water near the coast. It is so difficult to estimate height yet to fall when above water, and all of a sudden I felt my feet and legs fall into the water. I realised it was just a film of water over mud, thick, foul smelling mud which came up the length of my thighs. It was so thick it was impossible to wade through it, and the only way I could get to firm land was to stiffen my body, fall forwards and literally crawl out of it. An important prerequisite of successful evasion was to hide the parachute and harness, but I was unable to pull them along behind me, so I prayed they would sink into the mud and not be found.
I expected to see signs of block-houses, barbed wire entanglements - even patrolling sentries. But there was no sign of anything, which I could hardly believe. To get over the dyke I crawled on hands and knees, all the while watching out and listening for any sign of defence. On the other side I saw a number of drainage ditches with access paths alongside them, stretching inland at right angles to the dyke. Again I could not see any defences, but still could not believe it. I continued to crawl alongside one of the ditches and heard a sound ahead of me. I dropped into the ditch alongside the path, stopping every now and then and hardly daring to breathe, until I was abreast of a sound of careful movement. Suddenly a voice, in a hoarse whisper said ‘Is that you, Bill?’ It was a huge shock, but it turned out to be John Travis and Mac who had come looking for me in the hope my study of the maps could help to establish just where we were.
Unfortunately we had come off course with first, evasion tactics, then the attempt to get onto a course for home. These, together with the curve we had taken had destroyed my awareness of the final position, and it was too dark to consult the map. What knowledge I did have was enough for me to indicate in which direction we should walk. We stuck to the ditch side paths until we saw a large black motor car on a road ahead. We all dropped swiftly into the ditch until the car was out of sight. That it was large and black made us think it must have been an official car, probably the hated Gestapo, the secret police.
Morning was now with us, and it was becoming very light and indicating a beautiful summers’ day. For the time being we kept to those paths until we came to a house. In Holland at that time the house and barn was under one roof, and livestock was brought in during the winter, which became very cold with most of the waterways being frozen. Our continued hammering on the outside door eventually brought the farmer and his wife out. They were not able to speak English while we did not know their language either, but we were able, by sign language, to let them know we were RAF men who had been shot down. They were obviously unable to help us, but gave us bread and cheese and a drink before we left.
Now we were committed to using roads and we were surprised to see a man in uniform coming towards us. We judged him to be a postal worker, even on a Sunday, so we smartened ourselves up and fell into step. As we passed we gave him the typical salute of the Nazi Party and marched on, not looking back. We came round a curve to the right and saw a small square on our right, leading to a church. It was a fair assumption that the vicar’s education included English. There were about a dozen houses in the square, but the largest and nearest to the church must have been his. He answered the door and, yes, he had some knowledge of English. We explained our predicament and asked for his assistance. He asked whether we were Catholics, but none of us were. He said he was unable to help us, but advised us to give ourselves up for our own safety.
We continued into what we came to realise was a small town. Here my judgement of our position brought home to me that this was one of the stations of a railway, and we should wait for a slow goods train, preferably during the night, and ride the rods like American hoboes to bring us towards Amsterdam. The curving road next revealed a large building; obviously the Town Hall or similar. I led our little group along one side of the building where we came across a gap in the railings, with steps going down into the basement. A youth of my own age was leaning on the railings and we marched past, giving the Nazi salute and ‘Guten morgen’. He nodded ‘Good morning.’ That road led to the railway, but on the way passed a school with what looked like the head teacher’s house (it was too fine to be the caretaker’s). We must find an English speaker here. The head answered the door, followed by his wife and two daughters, all of whom spoke good English. They discussed our position, but had no knowledge where we might find help. I was reminded of a hint we had been given by the evader. He suggested getting in with a young lady as a couple were much less likely to be stopped by German police than a single person. My mind swung to this when I saw the elder daughter who, together with her mother and younger sister were in tears that they could not help.
Our next priority was to find a place to hide. The land was flat and there were no coppices in which we could hide. We already knew it was no use trying to hide in a barn, so we lay down in a hollow that was hidden from the road. After a little while we noticed a woman at a bedroom window. She was too interested for our liking. We were not far from the railway, but that would not have been a good place to be. It was now full daylight and people could be seen. We were quite desperate by now, when it occurred the youth at the Town Hall had actually said ‘Good morning’!
We almost ran back and he was still there, grinning, as he nodded us to follow him into the basement. He was the Mayor’s son and his father was just about the last still in post who was an Allies sympathiser, the others having been deposed by the Nazis and imprisoned. His father, Mr Esselink and the Chief of Police had gone to view our crashed aircraft, but should soon be back. The son brewed up [some tea] for us when we saw a large black car pull up outside the Town Hall. We thought it was the car seen earlier and the two men who alighted from it were Gestapo. The son introduced us and we were welcomed most warmly. Chief Smidt soon set about making known contacts, and the intention was to pass us on to another sympathiser. He made several sorties into town, coming back with suitable clothes and rations. We began to kit ourselves out for the journey, always bearing in mind the need to keep some of our uniforms so we should not be classed as spies if caught, and executed.
Chief Smidt arrived back from one of his sorties with a white face and terribly worried. He had been tipped off that one of the pro-Nazi persons in the town had told the Germans we were in the Town Hall and they were on the way to arrest us. The situation was fraught with danger for the good people of Ferwerd, where we were, so he had no option but to detain us. I suggested we assault him, take his revolver and run away. He said he could not allow that, as there might be reprisals against his town. We agreed that was likely, but the war would not go on much longer, thinking of the Thousand Bomber raids, so hurried up to conceal any help Smidt had tried to give us, and leaving them with all the currency from our escape kits. The German Army lorry pulled up outside the Town Hall and were led down into the basement by a huge officer holding what I have described as the largest hand held howitzer ever seen. Smidt, who had pulled out his revolver when he saw the Germans arrive put it back and ‘handed over his prisoners.’ He was able to say he had interrogated us and supplied him with our names, ranks and numbers. I think he was a good policeman to have rounded up the ‘arrest’ as he had done at no risk to the local populace.
Years later I learnt that he had remained as Chief throughout the war and was a respected man who tipped off the Resistance and stopped the Germans from finding out too much. Mr. Esselink was imprisoned during the war as a sympathiser, and resumed as Mayor after the war. His son was executed by the Germans after he had been arrested actually taking evaders ‘down the line’ and home to fly another day.
Thus ended our few hours of freedom before we ended up as Prisoners of War."
My father returned to the area in the late 1990s and contacted the family of the people who helped them... they also returned his flying helmet which they'd kept for all those years - which was amazing.
Sgt. Leslie Ernest James Davenport nav. 7 Squadron
I have done alot of research on my Grandad, Leslie Ernest James Davenport. He volunteered for the RAF and was posted with 7 Squadron. At the start of the war he was in training and flew with a Wellington Squadron in Lincolnshire but I have been unable to find any information on this.
I am aware he was with 7 squadron at Oakington in Cambridge. I am aware of 13 of his missions, then on the Sept 7th 1941 he was shot down over Recklinghausen Germany, after a bombing raid to Berlin.
His regular crew wee:
- F/O D.T Witt - passed away in 1963
- Sgt. L D A Bolton
- P/O D.K Deyell
- Sgt. A.E Burrows - KIA
- P/O J.L.A Mills - KIA
- Sgt J.T Prentice - Living in NZ
Other people I am aware he would have known were: A.H Piper (who passed away three years ago),D.H Williams, F.C Williams, K.O Blunden, E.S Baker, R. Blacklaw, Sgt. Hale, K. Huntley, J.T Copley,
The crew he was shot down with on the 7th September 1941, were all POWs.
- F/sgt Alick Yardley - Serv.No 748748 - taken to Stalag Luft 6
- F/O C.M Hall (RAAF) 402002 - still alive
- Sgt. J.H Boulton 742790
- Sgt J. Sutton 746720
- Sgt A. Speakman 551472
- Sgt D. Owens 528924
I have been to the records office at Kew and found all about the raids he was on I know he was based at Oakington with 7 Squadron. He saw active service with 13 missions that I am aware off between June 1941 - September 1941. I am aware of the POW camps he was in as well from Hyderkrug, Sagan, Lamsdorf, Thorn, Fallingbostel.
I am interested whether anyone has photo's of squadron 7 (Aircrew and planes) or knows if any of the above airmen are still alive and how I could trace them or their families if they have passed?
My grandad was a navigator and mainly a front gunner. He went on raids such as Cologne, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Bethune (France), La Pallice (France), Borkum Seaplane base, Hannover, Keil, Duisburg, Huls to name some.
I am aware of the many books which some are in my posession but I would love to know whether any of these veterans are still about. Any information will be greatly recieved. I would love to meet or speak with people that may know my grandad or served in the same squadron. My grandad has sadly passed away in 1988. I was unable to speak to him about the war. I do have photos in my family of some of my grandad and colleagues that maybe of interest to others. Look forward to any info that comes up.
Sgt William Richard John Craze 7 Squadron
My grandfather, William Craze, was in 7 Squadron and their Lancaster bomber JA685 was shot down on a mission to Leipzig on 4th Dec 1943. He was captured and sent to Stalag IVb and eventually released. His POW was No.267155. I Would love to hear of anyone else who might have known him.
Flt.Sgt. Henry Raymond Glover 7 Squadron (d.25th June 1943)
My brother, Henry Glover is mentioned in the "Memoirs of Group Captain T.G. Mahaddie: The story of a Pathfinder." The plane he was in was shot down over Holland and he is buried in Castricum Protestant Churchyard Noord, Netherlands. Plot J Coll.grave 6. His squadron flew Stirlings, from Oakington, Cambridgeshire.
Sqd.Ldr. Leonard James Saltmarsh DFC and bar. 7 Squadron
Leonard Saltmarsh served before and after the war in the Surrey Constabulary and I am working on the history of that force. In December 1942 he trained in a Tiger Moth and went on to fly Wellingtons and Lancasters with 7 Squadron, Pathfinders. He was awarded the DFC for actions on the 26th of August 1944 in a raid over Kiel. He flew 99 Operational sorties.
D.F.C. London Gazette 3 October 1944. The original recommendation states:
‘Flying Officer L. J. Saltmarsh has so far completed 17 successful sorties as Pilot and Captain of Lancaster aircraft, and has been most conspicuous at all times for his extremely high standard of courage and resoluteness. On two difficult occasions during daylight attacks on Vaires on 12 July 1944 and on Emieville on 18 August 1944, he observed a crippled bomber proceeding at a very reduced speed away from the target. On both occasions he dropped behind the main bomber stream in order to escort the damaged bomber safely back to England. On 15 August, during a daylight attack on the airfield at St. Trond, one of his engines became unserviceable on the way to the target and the propellor had to be feathered. But inspite of the fact that he was getting behind the main stream, owing to his reduced speed, he pressed on and bombed the target, and secured an aiming point photograph. On the way back from the target another engine became unserviceable but did not deter Flying Officer Saltmarsh from proceeding to and bombing an alternative airfield target with a bomb that had failed to be released over the primary target, and once more he secured an aiming point photograph. He eventually arrived safely over base and made a perfect two-engined landing. It was not until after he had landed that he reported the fact that two engines had become unserviceable during the sortie. This very gallant pilot is strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.’
Bar to D.F.C. London Gazette 16 November 1945. The original recommendation states:
‘This officer has completed 53 operational sorties, of which 28 have been carried out in the squadron, in the Path Finder Force, 18 of them as Captain of a Marker Crew. Flight Lieutenant Saltmarsh is an efficient and skilful pilot who has always shown a strong devotion to duty and a cheerful confidence which has always inspired a high standard of morale in his crew. He has always displayed exceptional fearlessness in the face of danger, complete disregard for personal safety and has pressed home his attacks against the enemy with the utmost determination.’
Leonard James Saltmarsh commenced pilot training at No. 31 E.F.T.S. at De Winton, Alberta in December 1942, and graduated from No. 34 E.F.S. at Medicine Hat in June 1943. Back in the U.K., he attended No. 11 A.F.U. at Shawbury, prior to joining No. 26 O.T.U. at Little Harwood in early January 1944, where he gained experience on Wellingtons, and then attended a conversion unit for Lancasters at Waterbeach, at which place he joined No. 514 Squadron that June.
Thus ensued his first tour of operations, commencing with a strike against L’Hey on the 23 June and ending with another against Emmerich on 7 October, the intervening period witnessing him attack numerous French targets in support of the Allied invasion, but also a number of heavily defended German targets, including Bremen, Dortmund, Saarbrucken, Stettin and Stuttgart. And as confirmed by the recommendation for his D.F.C. after 17 sorties, several of these trips were not without incident, his flying log book further stating that his Lancaster received flak damage during strikes against enemy panzers and transport at Villiers Bocage on 30 June and against a supply depot at Beauvoir on 2 July. Similarly, too, during a visit to Bremen on the night of 18-19 August.
In October 1944, Saltmarsh attended the Path Finder Force’s training centre at Warboys, as a result of which he was transferred to No. 7 (P.F.F.) Squadron at Oakington in the following month, flying his first such sortie on the night of the 11th-12th, against Dortmund. A daylight strike against enemy communications at Julich, in support of General Patton’s troops, followed on the 14th and a night operation to Sterkrade on the 21st, Saltmarsh’s flying log book again noting flak damage. Then on the 29th he flew as support aircraft to the Master Bomber on a raid to Dortmund, a role that he would fulfil with growing regularity over the coming months. Such heavily defended targets as Duisburg, Essen (twice) and Karlsruhe formed the backbone of his operational agenda in December, while January 1945 saw him attacking, among other locations, Hanover, Magdeburg, Munich and Stuttgart, his flying log book noting an encounter with a Ju. 88 on the Munich run. February witnessed his Lancaster carrying out strikes against Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Ludwigshaven and Pforzheim, in addition to participating in the famous “firestorm” raid on Dresden on the 13th, an action that Saltmarsh would robustly defend in years to come.
March saw him completing five more sorties to German targets, three of them in daylight, and April another four, two of these in daylight, including Bremen on the 21st, which latter operation marked the end of his operational tour. He did, however, fly three “Cook’s Tours” to the Rhur in May, and ended his career with an appointment in Transport Command in December 1945. Over and above all of this, however, it would appear that he flew 56 “unspecific” sorties of a secret nature, evidence for which is to be found in the following endorsement from “Bomber” Harris. He also flew: Diversions, experimentation of special equipment, including radar, photographic reconnaissance, these top secret sorties and others. In May 1945 he was selected and volunteered to form a new squadron for the continuation of hostilities against Japan.’
Any information on Mr Saltmarsh DFC and Bar would be appreciated
Thomas Reginald Nixon 7 Sqdn (d.20th Feb 1944)
Thomas Reginald Nixon, was killed on 20th February 1944. We wonder if he is our cousin, Reg who was from Smallthorne in Stoke on Trent? Can anyone help?
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