RAF Units
The Royal Air Force / Commonwealth
Photographic Reconnaissance Squadrons

1939 - 1946

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431 Flt
Formed in August of 1940 on the island of Malta, 431 Flight was equipped with the US Glenn Martin Marylands. Classed as a long range reconnaissance flight, they basically carried out general reconnaissance duties, patrolling the Central Mediterranean looking for any enemy shipping. The Unit came to the forefront when it was required to undertake photographic reconnaissance of the Italian port of Taranto for the Royal Navy attack on the Italian fleet on 10 November 1940. This started the career of one of the greatest pilots of the Second World War, Pilot Officer Adrian "Warbys" Warburton, later to become Wing Commander Warburton DSO & bar, DFO & two bars and DFC (USA). His story will be told later.
431 Flight and Malta became a strategic hub for photographic reconnaissance within the Mediterranean, however, spare reconnaissance Spitfires for the island were not forthcoming, so the Flight received a further two more Marylands and in January 1941, the Flight expanded and was reformed as No. 69 Squadron.
1416 Flt
Formed at Heston in March 1941 to watch for any form of invasion for the Joint Intelligence Committee and the General Office Commanding Home Forces. The Flight was mainly equipped with the armed Spitfire PR.1G. In September 1941 the Flight was renamed 140 Squadron and moved to RAF Benson.
1437 Flt
Based in the Western Desert in 1942 and carrying out strategic reconnaissance flying Martin Baltimores, 1437 Flt came under the control of 285 Wing and replaced 39 squadron. Later the Flight was equipped with the Mustang A-36 and were transferred from the US 12th Air Force. There aircraft to Francesco in Sicily in July 1943 however by October 1943 the Flight was disbanded and its role was taken by 225 Sqn equipped with Spitfires.