Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Photographic, Reconnaissance, Meteorological, Survey and Film Units


[Film | Photographic | Reconnaissance | Meteorological | Survey]

This section covers a range of units involving photographic work, meteorological reconnaissance, survey work and film making.

Film units

Bomber Command Film Flight Unit

This was formed on 10 March 1945 at Bardney, moving to Fulbeck on 8 April, to Syerston on 22 April and finally to Upwood on 17 October, where it disbanded on 18 December 1945.

No 1 Film Production Unit

This was formed as the Film Production Unit on 30 August 1941 under the control of No 26 Group at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath.  It was transferred to No 27 Group on1 January 1942, becoming No 1 FPU on 12 November 1943.  On 1 January 1946 it moved to Bentley Priory, where it was transferred to Fighter Command on 23 January.  It was redesignated Film Production Unit Library on 1 March 1949 and disbanded as such on 19 August 1957.

No 1 Film Production Unit

This was formed between December 1941 and June 1942 under the control of RAF Middle East at Cairo and disbanded before January 1943.

No 2 Film Production Unit

This was formed from the RAF FPU (NWAAF) on 18 November 1943 under the control of NWAAF at Tunis.  It was later transferred to MAC and by January 1944 was under No 214 Group, moving to Naples by 21 January, then to rome by 15 July.  On 25 September it was transferred to MACAF, mocving to Athens on 28 November and back to Rome on 1 January 1945.  It was transferred again, this time to, Balkan Air Force in February, moving to Villorba on 21 May and then to Mestre by 16 May, where it disbanded into No 1 FPU on 8 June 1945.

No 3 Film Production Unit

This was formed on 12 November 1943 at Calcutta, moving to Alipore by 31 July 1945 and disbanded on 30 November 1945.

No 4 Film Production Unit

This was formed from  on 12 April 1944 under the control of AEAF/No 28 Group at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath to work with 2 TAF.  It moved to B56 Brussels/Evere by 5 December 1944, to 235 Rue de la Loi, Brussels on 13 December, then to Suchteln on 27 April 1945, where it disbanded on 1 June 1945.

No 5 Film Processing Unit

This was formed on 9 August 1944 under the control of No 85 Group at Bentley Priory, Stanmore and disbanded on 25 August 1944.

No 6 Film Processing Unit

This was formed on 7 October 1944 under the control of ADGB at Bentley Priory, Stanmore for service on the continent.  The adavance party arrived at The Airport Barracks, Keerbergen on 21 November 1944, being joined by the main party by 5 December.  On 18 June 1945 it moved to Forsthaus Halt, Buckeberg Forst and disbanded on 25 October 1945.

RAF Film Production Unit (NWAAF)

This was formed on 1 July 1943 under the control of NWAAF at Tunis and was redesignated No 2 FPU on 18 November 1943.

No 5 Group Film Unit

No formation or disbandment dates have been locted for this unit but may have been at Waddington at some point.

Polish Air Force Film Unit

This was formed on 4 March 1942 under the control of No 27 Group at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, moving to Cammeringham on 14 November 1945 and disbanded on 7 December 1946.

RAF Film Unit

This had been formed by October 1944 at Catterick but its fate is unknown.

Photographic units

No 2 Camouflage Unit

This was formed on 3 November 1939 at Heston for photographic reconnaissance duties.  It was detached to Seclin under the title Special Survey Flight on 5 November and was redesignated the Photographic Development Unit on 19 January 1940.

Central Interpretation Unit

This was formed between August 1940 and January 1941 administered by HQ Coastal Command at Wembley, moving to Danesfield Court, Medmenham in April 1941.  It was transferred to the administrative control of No 26 Group by June 1942, then to No 91 Group by July 1942, to No 28 Group in May/June 1943, to No 16 Group by January 1944 then back to No 28 Group in January/February and to No 106 Group by June and disbanded post January 1945.

Central Photographic Unit

This was formed on 1 August 1942 under the control of No 1 School of Photography at Farnborough but its fate is unknown.

Heston Flight

This was formed from Special Intelligence Service Flight on 24 September 1939 under the control of No 11 Group at Heston and was redesignated No 2 Camouflage Unit on 1 November 1939.

India Interpretation Unit

This was formed by July 1942 under the control of India Command at an unknown location but its fate is unknown.

Intelligence Photographic Flight

This was formed in June 1940 under the control of the Secret Intelligence Service Office/Officer at Heliopolis and was absorbed into No 2 PRU on an unknown date.

London Photographic Centre

This was formed on 21 May 1918 at Goschen Buildings, 12/13 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2.  It moved to Farnborough, where it was redesignated HQ RAF Photographic Centre on 29 April 1919.

Middle East Interpretation Unit

This was formed on 1 June 1941 under the control of AHQ Egypt at Heliopolis and disbanded on 31 August 1946.

2nd TAF Negative Library and Reproduction Unit

This was formed in December 1944/January 1945 under the control of 2nd TAF at an unknown location and disbanded post January 1945.

Photographic Park

This was formed from the School of Photography on 16 June 1919 under the control of South Western Area at South Farnborough and reverted to the title School of Photography on 23 December 1919.

Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

This was formed from the Photographic Development Unit on 18 June 1940 at Heston.  It operated a 'A' - 'D'  Flights which were detached to other stations for operations, whilst 'E' Flight remained at Heston for experimental work and was redesignated No 1 PRU on 16 November 1940.

No 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

This was formed from the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit on 16 November 1940 under the control of No 16 Group at Heston, moving to Benson on 27 December 1940. 

See table below for detachment details: - and disbanded on 19 October 1942.

Flight

Location/Dates

A

St Eval: 7 Jan - Apr 1941, Jul - Oct 1941

B

Wick: 9 Jan - 16 Apr 1941, St Eval: Oct 1941 - 19 Oct 1942

C

Wick: 16 Nov 1940 - 7 Jan 1941, St Eval: Apr - Jul 1941, Leuchars: Oct 1941 - 19 Oct 1942

D

St Eval: 6 Nov 1940 - xxx xxxx, Wick: 15 Apr - Jul 1941

E

Wick: 15 Jul - Oct 1941

G

Gibraltar: 24 Jun 1941 - 19 Oct 1942

K

Detling: 23 Jan - 1 Aug 1942

Mosquito

Wick: May - Dec 1941, Leuchars: Dec 1941 - 19 Oct 1942

Vaenga Det

Vaenga, near Murmansk: 13 Aug - 23 Oct 1942

 

It reformed from No 39 Squadron on 2 June 1982 under the control of No 18 Group at Wyton, being transferred to No 1 Group in 1985.  I t was redesignated No 30 (1 PRU) Squadron on 1 July 1992, moving to Marham on 1 December 1993, where it disbanded on 31 July 2006.

No 2 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

This was formed on 17 October 1940 at Heliopolis, from where it operated detachments at various locations and at some point appears to have moved to Beirut.  On 9 December 1942 it moved from Beirut to Kilo 8/LG219 and disbanded at Agadabia to form Nos 680 and 683 Squadrons on 1 February 1943.

No 3 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

This was on 16 November 1940 under the control of No 3 Group at Oakington, moving to Benson on 21 July 1941 and was absorbed into No 1 PRU on 15 August 1941.

It reformed on by December 1941 under the control of  at Malaya and was lost during the Japanese invasion in February 1942.

It reformed from a detachment of No 5 PRU on 13 May 1942 in Pandaveswar, moving to Dum Dum on 28 June.  It was transferred to No 224 Group on 29 September, then to No 293 Wing on 27 November but was redesignated No 681 Squadron.

No 4 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

This was formed in 1941 at Malaya, operating from Kallang at some point but by December was at Seletar and was lost during the Japanese invasion in February 1942.

It reformed on in October 1942 at in the UK for Operation Torch.  It began operations on 6 November from Gibraltar, moving to Maison Blanche on 13 November as part of No 323 Wing and was redesignated No 684 Squadron on 1 February 1943.

No 5 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

This was formed from the remnants of Nos 3 and 4 PRUs the survived the Japanese invasion of Malaya on 10 April 1942 under the control of No 221 Group at Asansol.  It moved to Pandaveswaron 29 April, to Dum Dum on 4 May and then back to Pandaveswar, where it was redesignated No 3 PRU on 13 May 1942.

Photographic Unit (Austria)

This was formed from elements of No 336 (PR) Wing on 30 September 1945 at Velden and disbanded in January 1946.

RAF Photographic Centre

This was formed from the London Photographic Centre on 29 April 1919 at South Farnborough and disbanded on 16 June 1919, its tasks being taken over by the Photographic Park.

Reconnaissance units

Aden Protectorate Reconnaissance Flight

This was formed from 'C' Flight, No 8 Squadron on 1 August 1959 at Khormaksar and was redesignated Arabian Peninsula Reconnaissance Flight on 1 October 1959.

Arabian Peninsula Reconnaissance Flight

This was formed from Aden Protectorate Reconnaissance Flight on 1 October 1959 at Khormaksar and disbanded in 1960.

Baltimore Reconnaissance Flight

This was formed on 25 June 1945 under the control of  at Shandur to undertake photographic survey work in East Africa.  It moved to Eastleigh, Kenya on 18 July and disbanded on 31 October 1945.

RAF Element, Combined British and American Photographic Reconnaissance Force

This was formed on 30 September 1944 at Bally, Calcutta and disbanded in July 1945.

No 2 Group Reconnaissance Flight

Very little seems to be known about this, possibly secret, unit but it could have been located at various times (1943/44?) at Dunsfold, Lansham and/or Swanton Morley.

Radar Reconnaissance Flight

This was formed as part of the Central Signals Establishment on 1 October 1951 under the control of No 3 Group at Benson, moving to Upwood on 27 March 1952, to Wyton on 17 October 1955 and finally to Gaydon on 1 September 1961, where it disbanded on 1 November 1963.

Strategic Reconnaissance Flight/Unit

This was formed on 25 August 1941 at LG152/Gazala No 3 and was redesignated No 1437 Flight in 1942.

Meteorological units

Air Ministry Meteorological Flight

This was formed on 1 November 1924 at Eastchurch, moving to Duxford as the RAF Meteorological Flight on 9 January 1925.

Air Ministry Meteorological Flight

This was formed as part of the Station Flight on 28 September 1936 at Aldergrove,  It was renamed 'C' Flight on 27 July 1939 and was redesignated No 402 Meteorological Flight on 15 January 1941.

Meteorological Flight (Meteor Flight)

This was formed by 14 December 1918 under the control of 8th Brigade at Berck-sur-Mer, being transferred to 91st Wing on 1 April 1919.  It moved to Bickendorf on 5 June, returning to Berck-sur-Mer on 10 June, where it disbanded on 3 September 1919.

Meteorological Flight

This was formed in January 1920 at Baldonnel and disbanded on in January 1922.

Meteorological Flight

This was formed in March 1920 at Upavon, moving to Andover in April and disbanded on in July 1923.

Meteorological Flight

This was formed in February 1921 at Leuchars and disbanded on in July 1923.

No 1 Meteorological Flight

This was formed on 1 July 1943 at Alipore and was redesignated No 1300 Meteorological Flight on 31 July 1943.

No 2 Meteorological Flight

This was formed on 1 July 1943 at Delhi and was redesignated No 1301 Meteorological Flight on 31 July 1943.

No 3 Meteorological Flight

This was formed on 1 July 1943 at Yelahanka and was redesignated No 1302 Meteorological Flight on 31 July 1943.

No 4 Meteorological Flight

This was formed on 1 July 1943 at Ratmalana and was redesignated No 1303 Meteorological Flight on 31 July 1943.

RAF Meteorological Flight

This was formed from the Air Ministry Meteorological Flight on 9 January 1925 under the control of Fighting Area at Duxford, initially being attached to No 19 Squadron, it was absorbed into the Station Flight on 1 May 1926.  It was transferred to No 11 Group when it formed on 1 May 1936 but on 1 October moved to Mildenhall in No 3 Group and was redesignated No 401 Meteorological Flight on 4 February 1941.

The Temperature and Humidity (THUM) Flight

This was formed on 1 May 1951 at Hooton Park, moving to Woodvale in No 64 Group on 13 July.  It was absorbed into No 5 CAACU on 1 January 1958 and disbanded in No 12 Group on 1 May 1959.

Survey units

No 1 African Survey Party

This was formed on 25 July 1919 at Khartoum and disbanded on 25 March 1920.

No 2 African Survey Party

This was formed on 25 July 1919 at Nairobi and disbanded on 25 March 1920.

No 3 African Survey Party

This was formed on 25 July 1919 at Pretoria and disbanded on 25 March 1920.

Bombing Survey Unit

This was formed on 26 October 1943 under the control of AHQ Malta at Palermo and disbanded on 30 September 1945.

IPP Survey Flight Flight

The meaning of IPP is unclear but the Flight was part of No 541 Squadron at Benson from at least January to at least May 1946.

Radar Controlled Air Survey Unit, ACSEA

Formation and disbandment dates for this unit have not yet been located.

Special Survey Flight

This was formed from a detachment of No 2 Camouflage Unit on 5 November 1939 under the control of  at Seclin, moving to Nancy on 5 December and returned to Heston, rejoining No 2 Camouflage Unit on 11 January 1940.

This page was last updated on 26/05/17 using FrontPage 2003

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