No.7 Bomber Squadron RAF in World War II (Kindle)
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This is the story of one of the RAF's oldest and most distinguished heavy bomber squadrons in WW2, although an outline history of the unit since it was formed in WW1 and its post-war history are included. It was the first operational Stirling Squadron, the RAF's first four engine heavy bomber, and flew the first long-distance raids into the heart of Nazi Germany. This new aircraft was a break-through in terms of range and bomb load but it was also an aircraft that suffered from many teething problems. Long-distance navigation was also a black art before the introduction of radio navigation systems and the squadron suffered many fatalities in those early wartime years. Having gained expertise in their task the unit was the first to be equipped with the H2S navigational aid and eventually became one of the original elite Pathfinder squadrons. When the Lancaster came into service the Squadron re-equipped and joined 8 Group and had the dubious reputation of suffering the third greatest loss of aircraft in Bomber Command. It did however participate in more Lancaster raids than any other 8 Group squadron.
Harley Boxall was awarded his RAF wings on 3 October 1936 and was posted to 40 Squadron flying Hawker Hinds. On 1 April1937 he was posted to Bircham Newton in Norfolk to train with 206 Squadron which was a General Reconnaissance and Training unit equipped with the Avro Anson. He then joined 62 Squadron shortly after it was formed and received its first Blenheim in February 1938. During the summer of 1939 and because of increasing political tension in Europe, a decision was taken to reinforce the Far East Air Force with two squadrons of Blenheims. The urgency of the situation required that the…By Joe Bamford, Group Captain Harley Boxall
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