607 County of Durham Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Plaque
607 Squadron was formed on 17 March 1930 at RAF Usworth, County Durham, as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force flying Westland Wapitis. In September 1936 the role of 607 was changed into that of a fighter squadron.
Equipped with Gladiators, 607 was deployed to France as the Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force in November 1939 and fought in the Battle of France. In March 1940, the squadron was re-equipped with the Hawker Hurricane and following the British 'withdrawal', the squadron returned to it's home base of Usworth but was subsequently relocated to RAF Tangmere in September 1940. The squadron took an active role in the Battle of Britain, but at a cost, losing 26 of its pilots. In October 1941, they transferred to RAF Manston and remained there until 1942 when it transferred to India with Mk VIII Spitfires replacing Hurricane's in 1944. The Squadron was disbanded in Burma in August 1945 but reformed in May 1946, at RAF Ouston in Northumberland as a day fighter squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. After flying Spitfires for five years, it converted to Vampire Jets in October 1950 and was disbanded again on 10 March 1957.
Sadly we know nothing of the origins or age of this plaque other than it is a hand painted one of item and not commercially made. The board on which the plaque is painted has clearly been wall mounted at some stage in its life. The crest shows a Kings Crown and below a winged lion salient; surrounding the lion is the script 607 (County of Durham) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force ; 607 chose not to have a motto. The varnished board measures 20.25" x 17.25" (51 cm x 44 cm). 607 served with distinction in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain and also had Battle honours for Rakhine, Manipur and the Burma campaign 1944–45 before disbanding. Both the plaque and board show age related wear but still makes an impressive statement, aided by the Squadrons significant part in the Battle of Britain.