No. 7 Squadron RAAF

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No. 7 Squadron RAAF
7 Sqn (AWM NEA0032).jpg
A No. 7 Squadron Beaufort being serviced at Ross River
Active 1917–19
1940–45
Country Australia
Branch Australian Flying Corps
Royal Australian Air Force
Engagements World War I
World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
John Balmer (1942)

No. 7 Squadron was an Australian flying training squadron of World War I and medium bomber squadron of World War II. The squadron was formed in England in October 1917 as part of the Australian Flying Corps, and disbanded in early 1919. It was re-formed by the Royal Australian Air Force on paper in June 1940, and operationally in January 1942. After seeing action during the Pacific War flying Lockheed Hudson and, later, DAF Beaufort bombers, the squadron was disbanded a second time in December 1945.

History[edit]

No. 7 Squadron was established 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 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.[1][2]

During World War II, No. 7 Squadron was re-formed at RAAF Station Laverton, Victoria, on 27 June 1940.[3] It was originally intended to equip the squadron with Lockheed Hudson aircraft, but the unit was reduced to cadre status. The squadron was re-formed in January 1942 as a Hudson operational training unit responsible for preparing aircrew for posting to other squadrons.[2] Commanded by John Balmer,[4] the squadron undertook several convoy escort flights and anti-submarine patrols along the Australian eastern seaboard.[2] In early June, one of the squadron's aircraft located and attacked a Japanese submarine, possibly damaging it.[3]

Shortly afterwards, the majority of the squadron was absorbed into No. 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, Queensland, where it undertook convoy escort patrols over Australia's northern waters.[3] During these operations, the squadron's aircraft damaged another Japanese submarine, shot down two Japanese Aichi E13A "Jake" seaplanes and damaged several others.[5]

The squadron was based at Horn Island, Queensland, from April to October 1944, when it moved to Tadji, Papua New Guinea.[5] 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.[2] No. 7 Squadron was disbanded at Tadji on 19 December 1945.[5] During the war, 33 personnel from the squadron were killed in action or died on active service.[6]

Aircraft operated[edit]

The squadron operated the following aircraft:[1][5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Eather 1995, p. 15.
  2. ^ a b c d "No 7 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force". RAAF Museum. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Eather 1995, p. 35.
  4. ^ RAAF Historical Section 1995, pp. 22–26.
  5. ^ a b c d Eather 1995, p. 36.
  6. ^ "7 Squadron RAAF". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 

References[edit]

  • 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. 

Further reading[edit]