RAF Units
The Royal Air Force / Commonwealth
Photographic Reconnaissance Squadrons

1939 - 1946

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Photo Reconnaissance Wings
 
34 PR Wing
Starting life at Luton airfield under the command of Army Co-operation Command, it then moved to 2nd Tactical Air Force in June 1943. The Wing moved to the continent in 1943.
Squadrons & aircraft under its control:
16 Sqn  -  Spitfires.
69 Sqn  -  Wellington Mk.XIII
140 Sqn  -  Spitfires & Veturas.

And was based at the following airfields:
Luton
Hartford Bridge - 30th June 1943
Northolt - 8th April 1943
A.12 - Lignerolles, France - 1st September 1944
B.48 - Glisy, Amiens, France - 8th September 1944
B.58 - Brussels/Melsbroek, Belgium - 27 September 1944
B.78 - Eindhoven, Holland - 15 April 1945
 
35 PR Wing
Transferring from Army Co-operation Command on the 1st June 1943 to the 2nd Tactical Air Force under the command of 11 Group, later the Wing moved to 84 Group and absorbed 130 Wing. It carried out photographic reconnaissance duties until the end of hostilities.

Squadrons & aircraft under its control:
2 Sqn  -  Mustang II
4 Sqn  -  Spitfire PR.XI
268 Sqn  -  Mustang IA & II, Typhoon FR IB & Spitfire FR.XIV
400 Sqn  -  Spitfire PR.XI (this Squadron had aircraft with also 39 PR Wing)
414 Sqn  -  Mustang I & Spitfire FR.IX

Based at the following airfields:
Reigate
Odiham - 28th June 1943
B.4 - Beny-sur-Mer, Doures - 15th August 1944
B.27 - Boisney, France - 1st September 1944
B.31 - Fresnoy-Folny, France - 5th September 1944
B.43 - Fort Rouge, St Omer, France - 10th September 1944
B.61 - St Denis/Westrem, Belgium - 27th September 1944
B.70 - Antwerp/Deurne, Belgium - 11th October 1944
B.77 - Gilze/Rijen, Holland - 22nd November 1944
B.89 - Mill, Holland - 8th March 1945
B106 - Twente/Eschede, Holland - 18th April 1945
 
39 PR Wing Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
Transferring from Army Co-operation Command to 83 Group on the 12th June 1943. They absorbed No. 128 Wing on the 1st July 1944 and provided photographic reconnaissance for 83 Group until the end of the war.

Squadrons & aircraft under its control:
168 Sqn - Mustang I
400 Sqn - Spitfire PR.IX
414 Sqn - Mustang I, Spitfire FR.IX & FR.XIV
430 Sqn - Mustang I & Spitfire FR.XIV

Based at the following airfields:
Dunsfold
Redhill - 1st August 1943
Odiham - 1st April 1944
Old Sarum - 20th Jun 1944
B.8 - Sommervieu, France - 1st July 1944
B.21 - St Honorine, France - 12th August 1944
B.34 - Avrilly, France - 1st September 1944
B.64 - Diest/Schaffen, Belgium - 20th September 1944
B.78 - Eindhoven, Holland - 4th October 1944
B.90 - Petit/Brogel, Belgium - 6th March 1945
B.104 - Damm, Germany - 30th March 1945
B.108 - Rheine, Germany - 8th April 1945
B.116 - Wunstorf, Germany - 15th April 1945
B.154 - Rheinsehlen. Germany - 26th April 1945
B.156 - Luneburg, Germany - 6th May 1945
 
104 PR Wing
In the first months of 1945 the Air Ministry agreed to the formation of 104 PR Wing. The Wing was to be made up of 10 PR Mosquitos taken from 540 Sqn and 10 reconnaissance Spitfires from 541 Sqn, with the new formation being based at Coulommiers.
By the time the new Unit was operational on the 31st march 1945 there were very few reconnaissance missions for them to undertake.
 
106 PR Wing
Formed on the 26th June 1943, the new Wing controlled all the photographic reconnaissance Units within the UK at the time, other than the ones that were to be assigned to the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

Units under the control of the Wing were:
US 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group
540 Sqn
541 Sqn
542 Sqn
543 Sqn
544 Sqn
 
171 PR Wing
Photographic Reconnaissance Force
Formed in December 1943 with the aircraft from 681 and 684 Squadrons. Later joining in February 1944 with the 9th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron USAAF and becoming the Photographic Reconnaissance Force.
 
285 Recce Wing
Formed in the West Desert in July 1942 to control all visual and photographic reconnaissance duties in supply of British 8th Army.  The new Wing was made up of the following and used a wide range of aircraft:
No.2 PRU detachment. PR Spitfires
60 (SAAF) Survey Flight, Photo Reconnaissance using Marylands & Mosquito PR.IV & PR.IX (borrowed from the UK)
1437 Strategic Reconnaissance Flight, Strategic Reconnaissance using Baltimores I/II/IIIs
208 Squadron Tactical Reconnaissance using Hurricane IIA/Bs.
40 Squadron SAAF Tactical Reconnaissance using Hurricane IIA/Bs.
 
North African Photographic Reconnaissance Wing (NAPRW)
336 PR Wing
Mediterranean Allied Photographic Reconnaissance Wing (MAPRW)
In March 1943 the NAPRW was formed, the Unit was formed from 682 Sqn and the USAAF 3rd US Photo Group and was placed under the command of Lt Col Roosevelt. The Unit was given the task of surveying the Sicilian island in advance of forthcoming Op HUSHY, to aid them, a number of reconnaissance Mosquitos on route from Benson to Malta were used.
In the later parts of the year a new British element of the NAPRW was formed and named the 336 PR Wing, based again at La Marsa in Tunisia. Formed from 680 Sqn, 682 Sqn, 683 Sqn equipped with Mosquitos PR.IVs and Spitfire PR.IXs. Also 60 (SAAF) Sqn equipped with Mosquitos PR.VIs and PR.IXs transferred from 285 Wing. The new Wing was placed under the command of Wing Commander Adrian Warburton.
In December 1943 after the invasion of Italy the British 8th and US 5th Armies had advanced beyond Naples and as such the NAPRW moved from La Marsa to San Severo. Only three of 366 Wing Units moved to the new base, these were 60 (SAAF) Sqn, 682 Sqn and 680 Sqn. 680 Sqn remained in its present location to cover the eastern part of the Mediterranean.
Within days there was another change to the command structure, the NAPRW was placed under the command of the new Allied Air Headquarters and was renamed the Mediterranean Allied Photographic Reconnaissance Wing (MAPRW)
 
Photo Reconnaissance Group
 
106 PR Group
In May of 1943 No.106 PR Group was formed at RAF Benson to control all the RAF Photographic Reconnaissance Operations, PR training and Photographic Interpretation (PI) based in the European theatre of operations. The Unit also coordinated  all equipment requirements and the movement of PR aircraft worldwide.
 

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