Traces of World War 2 
RAF - Photographic Reconnaissance Unit
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 28 January 2008

PRU - Lockheed 12a, Spitfire PR I, Hudson I, Blenheim Mk IV

History | Operations and losses | Sources | Links | Books | Questions and/or remarks

In 1940 a review of existing photographic and interpretation work in the RAF resulted in the formation of a Photographic Reconnaissance Unit for operational duties and a Central Interpretation Unit (CIU) for the detailed assessment of photographic intelligence. Although the unit was predominantly RAF, it also included several Army photographic interpreters whom the War Office had provided after the return of the British Expeditionary Force from France in June 1940.

Squadron location: Jan 1940 to Jul 1940 Heston

On 16 Nov 1940 the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit was renamed No. 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

See also: Frederick Sidney Cotton (1894-1969)

'On 10th February 1940, No.212 reformed at Heston to carry out strategic photographic reconnaissance duties in France working closely with the Photographic Development Unit.It was intended to have three detachments each of 3 Spitfires.No.212 was equipped with Blenheims.After flying some operational missions the detachment in France was forced to evacuate its baase on 14th June 1940 and the squadron was absorbed by the Photographic Development Unit on 18th June 1940, which was then redesignated the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit on the 8th July' (source:

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed; those with fatal losses are.

19/05/1940: Reconnaissance, Belgium. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA

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19/05/1940: Reconnaissance, Belgium

Spitfire PR I
Serial number: ?, -?
Operation: Reconnaissance
Lost: 19/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) John H. Coleman, RAF 43692 (NZ), Photographic Reconnaissance Unit., age 27, 19/05/1940, Templeuve Communal Cemetery, Tournai, Belgium
Served before with 19 Squadron.

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Air of Authority
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database
Bail-outs for 1940
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
National Archives UK
RAF Battle of Britain - xx Squadron
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
Royal Air Force Recce Units
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, by Major L.F. Ellis, 1954

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Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aircraft Directory
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
HMS Cavalier
Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
CWGC Cemeteries Germany
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots

Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2 aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
RAF Upwood
De Slag om de Grebbeberg
Warbird Alley
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway
North East Diary 1939-1945
Wartime Leicester and Leicestershire

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
WW1 Cemeteries

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This page is dedicated to the men of the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to