No. 7 Squadron RAAF
|No. 7 Squadron RAAF|
A No. 7 Squadron Beaufort being serviced at Ross River
|Branch||Royal Australian Air Force|
|Engagements||World War I
World War II
|John Balmer (1942)|
No. 7 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force flying training squadron of World War I and medium bomber squadron of World War II. The squadron was first formed in October 1917 and was disbanded in December 1945 after seeing action during the Pacific War.
No. 7 Squadron was first formed during World War I, being raised as a flying training squadron of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) at Yatesbury, England, on 24 October 1917. Equipped with a wide range of aircraft, the squadron commenced flying training operations in February 1918 and was tasked to provide replacement aircrew to No. 3 Squadron until being disbanded in early 1919. Upon formation it was designated as No. 32 (Australian) (Training) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, before adopting its AFC designation in early 1918. Its first commanding officer was Captain H.D.E. Ralfe.
During World War II, No. 7 Squadron was reformed at RAAF Base Laverton on 27 June 1940. While it was intended to equip the squadron with Lockheed Hudson aircraft, the unit was reduced to cadre status. The squadron was reformed in January 1942 as a Hudson operational training unit responsible for preparing aircrew for posting to other squadrons. During this time, under the command of John Balmer, the squadron undertook a number of convoy escort flights and anti-submarine patrols along the Australian eastern seaboard. In early June, one of the squadron's aircraft located and attacked a Japanese submarine, possibly damaging it.
Shortly afterwards, the majority of the squadron was absorbed into 1 Operational Training Unit. In August 1942, what remained of the squadron moved to Nowra, New South Wales, where it was re-equipped with DAP Beaufort medium bombers and began training to operate in the bomber-reconnaissance role. The squadron completed its training in October and moved to Ross River near Townsville where it undertook convoy escort patrols over Australia's northern waters. During these operations, the squadron's aircraft damaged another Japanese submarine, shot down two Japanese Aichi E13A "Jake" seaplanes and damaged several others.
The squadron was based at Horn Island from April–October 1944, when it moved to Tadji in New Guinea. From November 1944 until the end of the war, the squadron flew strike missions against Japanese positions in New Guinea in support of the Australian 6th Division. The squadron also participated in rescue operations for aircrew that came down behind Japanese lines. No. 7 Squadron was disbanded at Tadji on 19 December 1945. During the war, 33 personnel from the squadron were killed in action or died on active service.
- Airco DH.6 (October 1917 – 1918);
- Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 (October 1917 – 1918);
- Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 (October 1917 – 1919);
- Avro 504 (February 1918 – 1919);
- Bristol Fighter (February 1918 – 1919);
- Lockheed Hudson (January 1940 – August 1942);
- DAP Beaufort (August 1942 – December 1945).
- Eather, Steve (1995). Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-15-3.
- RAAF Historical Section (1995). Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: A Concise History. Volume 3: Bomber Units. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. ISBN 0-644-42795-7.
- Gogler, Kevin (2012). We Never Disappoint: A History of 7 Squadron 1940–1945. Canberra: Air Power Development Centre. ISBN 978-1-920800-68-0.
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