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JOY LOFTHOUSE.   It was with the deepest regret that we report that Joy passed away peacefully at home in Cirencester.  Joy was married to 7 Squadron Pathfinder Pilot S/L Charles Lofthouse OBE, DFC who was for many years Secretary of 7 Squadron Association, during which time Joy established herself as an Honorary member of the Association which continued after Charles' death.   After the end of the war Joy became a teacher and it was at teacher training colledge where she met Charles.  This followied her wartime service as a Pilot with the ATA and it was this latter role which brought Joy to National attention when she featured in many documentaries about the ATA and Spitfires.  Joy was 95 when she passed away, a full Obituary will appear shortly.

Squadron History 

Key Historic Dates:

  • 1914 - Formed at Farnborough.
  • 1915 - Capt J A Liddell awarded Victoria Cross
  • 1923 - No 7 Sqn first to operate the Twin-engined Vickers Vimy at Bircham Newton
  • 1924 - Squadron re-equipped with Vickers Virginia
  • 1927 - Wg Cdr Portal (later MRAF Lord Portal) commands Squadron
  • 1927 - Squadron wins Lawrence Minot Bombing Throphy for the first time
  • 1929 - Squadron Airman AC1 WC Baldwin "steals" Virginia Bomber from Worthy Down Base
  • 1935 - Squadron receives H.P. Heyford Bombers
  • 1936 - 7 Squadron wins Minot Trophy outright
  • 1937 - Vickers Wellesly replace Heyfords
  • 1938 - A.W. Whitley replaces Wellesley
  • 1939 - Squadron re-equips with H.P. Hampden
  • 1940 - First unit to be issued with four-engined Stirling bombers at RAF Leeming
  • 1940 - November, Squadron moves to RAF Oakington
  • 1942 - Squadron chosen to be one of new "Pathfinder" Squadrons
  • 1943 - May, Squadron receives first Avro Lancaster Bombers
  • 1945 - VE Day, Squadron reduced to 10 a/c and moves to RAF Upwood
  • 1949 - Avro Lincolns replace Lancasters
  • 1954 - Squadron moves to Malaya to carry-out bombing on "operation Firedog"
  • 1956 - Vickers Valiants make Squadron part of RAF V-Force of Nuclear Bombers
  • 1962 - 14 October Squadron disbanded
  • 1970 - 1 May, Squadron re-forms with   EE Canberra TT18 as Target Facilities Squadron at RAF St Mawgan
  • 1982 - Squadron disbands - reforms at RAF Odiham as the RAF's second Chinook HC1 Squadron
  • 1991 - Squadron serves in Gulf 1 Operations and takes over specialist S.F. operations role
  • 2000 - Operation Palliser in Sierra Leone, Chinook pilot receives Conspicuous Gallentry Cross during assault op.
  • 2014 - 100th Anniversary of formation at Farnborough, Squadron continues Discrete operations

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft: Chinook

Current Location: RAF Odiham

Battle Honours:

Western Front 1915-1918, Ypres 1915, Loos, Somme 1916, Ypres 1917, Fortress Europe 1941-1944, Biscay Ports 1941-1944, Ruhr 1942-1945, German Ports 1942-1945, Berlin 1943-1945, France and Germany 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Rhine, Kosovo, Iraq 2003.

A Brief History of 7 Squadron:

No sooner had No 7 Squadron formed at Farnborough on 1 May 1914, when it was disbanded to bring other Squadrons up to strength. After reforming in September, the Squadron moved to France in April 1915 immediately joining the Second Battle of Ypres.  

During 1916, the Squadron standardised on BE2s and then received RE8s in 1917 still in its observation role. The Squadron returned home in 1919 and disbanded at the end of the year.

After reforming with Vickers Vimys in 1923 at Bircham Newton, it was designated a heavy bomber unit. The Vimys were replaced by Virginias in 1924 and the unit transferred to Worthy Down in 1927. In the following decade the squadron gained a reputation for outstanding accuracy and won many bombing competitions.

Heyford bombers arrived in 1935, but it wasn't until 1938 that monoplanes in the form of Whitleys arrived. No 7 was the first squadron to received the first of the RAF's four-engined heavy bombers, the Stirling in 1940, but serious problems meant that operational sorties could not be carried out until February 1941 when the squadron attacked oil storage tanks at Rotterdam. In 1943, No 7 was one of the initial squadrons which formed the Pathfinder Force and converted to Lancasters.

The Squadron took part in operations in Malaya in 1949 equipped with Lincolns and in 1956 reformed with Valiants as part of the famous V-Force.  In 1970 the Squadron reformed, this time flying Canberras on target-towing tasks.

In 1982, the Squadron re-equipped with Chinook helicopters, and has kept these since then. Currently based at Odiham, the Squadron, in conjunction with other Chinook units, has seen a number of operational deployments in recent years. 

RE5 aircraft of the type operated by the Squadron
Chinook HC4 of 7 Squadron at low-level in the Welsh Hills
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