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Royal Air Force Beach Units

No. 7 RAF Beach Squadron

The personnel that would make up No. 7 R.A.F. Beach Squadron travelled to Bombay on the R.N.M.V. “Highland Brigade”. They disembarked there on 1st August 1945 and the Squadron was officially formed at B.R.D. Worli under the operational and administrative control of No. 225 Group. The Squadron formed with two Flights: “X” Flight and “Y” Flight.

The Commanding Officer of the Squadron was 79864 Acting Squadron Leader P.W. Butler (Equipment). Butler had been the officer in charge of No. 3 R.A.F. Assembly Area while with  No. 103 Beach Flight of No. 2  R.A.F. Beach Squadron in Normandy. He had joined No. 2 R.A.F. Beach Unit (as it was then named) at the end of November 1943, on posting from No. 35 M.U.

In addition to being Squadron C.O., S/Ldr Butler also commanded  “X” Flight. 152237 Acting Squadron Leader E. Parrington  (G.D.) was appointed Flight Commander, “Y” Flight and the Squadron Adjutant was 188484 Acting Flight Lieutenant J.B. Lewis (G.D.).

The Squadron moved from B.R.D. Worli on 6th August, and went to Marine Drive Camp, Bombay where the Squadron Headquarters and Orderly  Room were set up. Officers were accommodated in the Sea Green Hotel, Bombay and Senior N.C.Os. in the Sergeants Mess, Marine Drive .

Marine Drive, Bombay

Marine Drive, Bombay
(From a photograph obtained by J. H. Fenton when he was there in November 1946)

It seems amost certain that No. 7 R.A.F. Beach Squadron was intended to take part in Operation “ZIPPER” (landings in Malaya) but events were take a different turn.

On 19th August 1945, the personnel of “X” Flight were sent on detachment to No. 78 R.A.F.  Embarkation Unit, Madras under the command of 48857 Acting Flight Lieutenant F.W. Herbert (Equip.)

On 4th September 1945, the personnel of “Y” Flight were sent on detachment to No. 54 R.A.F. Embarkation Unit, Calcutta under the command of 47614 Acting Flight Lieutenant J.H. Morley (Equip.)

Due to the cessation of hostilities with Japan, it was decided that No. 7 R.A.F. Beach Squadron was no longer required. On 15th September 1945, the Headquarters of Base Air Forces, South East Asia (H.Q. BAFSEA) ordered the disbandment of No. 7 R.A.F. Beach Squadron so that the Squadron personnel could become the nuclei of five Embarkation Units to be formed in the Netherlands East Indies. The new units were to be Nos. 102, 103, 104, 105 and 106 R.A.F. Embarkation Units.

Accordingly, the next day, with the exception of the Orderly Room staff and surplus signals personnel, the Squadron Headquarters personnel moved to No. 78 E.U. Madras to join “X” Flight. Administration of the Squadron was maintained at Bombay with 53628 F/O F.H.F. Wilson (Tech/Signals) acting as adjutant “pending disposal”.

At Calcutta, the personnel of “Y” Flight ceased their attachment to No. 54 E.U. on 21st September and went to join the rest of the Squadron personnel at No. 78 E.U.  in Madras, “pending disposal”.

And so, the short life of No. 7 R.A.F. Beach Squadron (about seven weeks!) came to an end without the unit taking part in any operation.

Main source used for this page:

Operations Record Book of No. 7 RAF Beach Squadron - found in, ‘Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence: Operations Record Books, Miscellaneous Units’ AIR 29/438 at The National Archives.

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Copyright  © J.M.Fenton, 2007-2016

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