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First Commanding Officer of 607 Squadron Leslie Runciman.

Walter Leslie, known as Leslie, Runciman was the eldest son of  Walter, later Viscount Runciman, a member of Asquith's cabinet. His mother was also a Liberal candidate for St Ives. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Leslie was educated at Eton and became a Kings Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. On leaving university, Runciman took a position with Deloitte as a chartered accountant in London. He was later to work for the liverpool shipping company of Holt. Runciman then returned to Newcastle taking a position in the family shipping company, the Moor Line. Seeing the squadron through its formative years, Runciman relinquished command, in favour of business comitments, in January 1939 and became Honorary Air Commodore. 



Photo Runciman.
The Avro 504.

This is one of the Avro 504s that was used to carry out the training of pilots on 607 Squadron. Photograph was taken at Usworth and shows a number of other aircraft in the background. Among them are avro 504s and Hawker Harts and or Demons.



Photo Charles Sample.
A Westland Wapiti of 607 squadron

The Westland Wapiti was the first operational aircraft on the squadron beginning its service in June 1934. Wapiti in the photograph was K1150 which is seen flying over Chester-Le-Street, County Durham. The pilot was James Vick. Vick was to serve with 607 Squadron into the battle of France. In December 1939 he was posted to 609 Squadron, then serving in Scotland. Vick was not feted to reach his new squadron. En route he was involved in a serious road accident and suffered a long stint in hospital. When 607 Squadron returned from France it was under the command of John Sample. Sample was posted away from the squadron and James Vick made a return to flying as the new commanding officer of 607 Squadron, leading it throughout the Battle of Britain. When the squadron was scrambled into action August 15 1940, in defence of its home base Usworth, it was without Vick who was not flying that day. In 1942, due to failing an eyetest, Vick was seconded to the airline BOAC.

Hawker Demon K3800 flown by John Sample.

John Sample flying Demon K 3800. Aircraft is in the squadron colours and appears to be one of the earlier versions, note the tail skid. Sample was to become the commander of 'B' Flight in 1938  A first class shot he was to win at Bisley. Sample led a section of Gladiators, october 16 1940, when they claimed the squadrons first 'kill', a Do 18. During the fighting in France, Sample claimed two enemy aircraft as destroyed, both He 111s. He was later forced to take to his parachute when his Hurricane was damaged by return fire. Spraining both ankles, Sample was forced out of flying but led the squadron during its last days of the fighting in France. Sample left the squadron, on its return to England, and took command of 504 Squadron based at Castletown, Scotland.  

In December 1938, the squadron was equipped with the GlosterGladiator.

Photograph shows F/O George Dudley Craig of Hexham, and later Corbridge, with his ground crew and Gladiator 'L' during summer camp 1939 at Abbotsinch. Craig, who worked in a legal practice, had joined 607 Squadron in 1937. In October 1939, Craig was one of the pilots, along with Sample and William 'Nits' Whitty who shot down the Do 18. Craig served with the squadron in France and claimed more than one enemy aircraft as destroyed. After France fell, Craig returned with a Belgian pilot in a 'Douglas'. He flew with the squadron when the Luftwaffe attacked the North East, August 15, 1940. After leaving the squadron in 1941, Craig returned to take command leading the squadron on low-level strikes in France. He was shot down and taken prisoner after a low-level attack on LeTouquet airfield.

607 squadron summer camp RAF Warmwell 1938.

This is 607 Squadrons official group photograph of 1938 taken at the summer camp held at RAF Warmwell. L-R: P/O Dudley Craig,P/O Alan Glover, P/O R.E Pumprhrey, Flt Lt G.C. White, Flt Lt L.E. Smith, Sdn Ldr Dunant, F/O Joe Kayll, Flt Lt W.H.N. Turner, P/O H.P. Radcliffe, Sqdn Ldr Runciman, Flt Lt J.A. Vick, P/O M.H. Thompson, F/O W.E. Gore, P/O G.F. Brotchie, Flt Lt T.G. Gale, F/O J.M. Bazin, P/O A.D. Forster, P/O. J.A. Killick, F/O M.M Irving, P/O W.F. Blackadder, F/O J. Sample, P/O W.H.R. Whitty, F/O. J.W. Wardale.


Three Hawker Demons are shown practising for the Empire Air Day of 1938 in the skies over County Durham. Leading the trio is Flt Lt Tony Gale while closest aircraft is flown by Dudley Craig while furthest aircraft is flown by Will Gore - this is the same Demon as flown by Sample, now sporting a tail wheel. The Empire Days were a big attraction in the pre-war days, drawing in large crowds from the surrounding area. Aircraft and equipment were on show on the ground and mock attacks were carried out by attacking and defending aircraft. There was also a display of aerobatics and formation flying. CLICK THE DEMONS FOR MORE.

 
   
 

All photographs courtesy of N.C.D. Craig and Charles Sample unless otherwise stated.