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Heston Flight/No 2 Camouflage Unit/Photographic Development Unit/Photographic Reconnaissance Unit - Personnel and locations


[Heston Flt | No 2 Camouflage Unit | PDU | PRU]

This was formed at Heston to test and develop a new method of carrying out photographic reconnaissances using high speed and 'invisibility' and was initially known as the Special or Heston Flight.  The first aircraft received were a couple of Blenheims but these were found to be too slow and were replaced with Spitfires.

Heston Flight

Personnel Movements

Rank Name Date Notes
Act Wg Cdr F S Cotton 23 Sep 1939 Appointed as Officer Commanding
Sqn Ldr Alfred Earle  3 Oct 1939 Reported for duty as Photographic Officer
Flt Lt R H Niven  3 Oct 1939 Reported for duty for flying duties
Flt Lt M V Longbottom  3 Oct 1939 Reported for duty for flying duties
Fg Off J H Blyth  3 Oct 1939 Reported for duty as Liaison Officer
Plt Off H G Belcher  3 Oct 1939 Reported for duty as Equipment Officer
Flt Lt R H Niven  5 Nov 1939 Detached to France to work with No 1 Mission

Source - PDU ORB

On 3 November 1939 the Flight was redesignated No 2 Camouflage Unit.

No 2 Camouflage Unit

Personnel Movements

Rank Name Date Notes
Flt Lt R H Niven  5 Nov 1939 Detached to France to work with No 1 Mission
Flt Lt M V Longbottom  5 Nov 1939 Detached to France to work with No 1 Mission
Fg Off S D Slocum  5 Nov 1939 Detached to France to work with No 1 Mission
Fg Off White  5 Nov 1939 Detached to France to work with No 1 Mission

Unfortunately not all pages of the ORB are currently available so some movements may be missing.

Unit Movements

Unit Date Notes
Detached Flight  5 Nov 1939 Formed and despatched to France to work with No 1 Mission with a Spitfire, a Hudson and a Lockheed 12 A

Source - PDU ORB

On 19 January 1940 No 2 Camouflage Unit was redesignated the Photographic Development Unit.

Photographic Development Unit

Personnel Movements: Jan - Mar 1940

Rank Name Date Notes
Fg Off A J Blackwell 21 Feb 1940 Posted in from No 12 Sqn for General Duties
Fg Off A L Taylor 21 Feb 1940 Posted in from No 226 Sqn
Fg Off S D Slocum  3 Mar 1940 Killed in action
LAC R A Mutton  3 Mar 1940 Killed in action
LAC J A Butcher  3 Mar 1940 Killed in action
Flt Lt R E Baxter 15 Mar 1940 Posted in from RAF Detling for flying duties
Fg Off D G Ross 26 Mar 1940 Posted in from HQ Reserve Command Pool
Plt Off B H Wood 26 Mar 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties

Personnel of the Photographic Development Unit - 1 Apr 1940

Rank Name Notes
Act Wg Cdr F S Cotton Officer Commanding
Sqn Ldr Geoffrey W Tuttle Deputy Officer Commanding
Flt Lt R H Niven  
Flt Lt M V Longbottom  
Flt Lt J D Harris  
Flt Lt Le Mesurier  
Fg Off D G Ross  
Fg Off John H L Blount  
Flt Lt A W G Martin Adjutant
Sqn Ldr A M de H Bell Chief Technical Officer
Flt Lt N E D Hutchinson Accountant Officer
Sqn Ldr Lambert Photographic Officer
  E V P Miller Operational Control
Flt Lt E M H O'Farrell Intelligence
Plt Off E W Armstrong Intelligence
Plt Off J B Ewen Intelligence
Plt Off J H Weaver Intelligence
Plt Off C C Castle Intelligence
Plt Off B H Wood Intelligence
Flt Lt J H Blyth Liaison Officer

Personnel Movements: Apr - Jul 1940

Rank Name Date Notes
Plt Off N E Sherwell  9 Apr 1940 Posted in from civil life
Fg Off S L Ring 11 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 212 Sqn for flying duties
Plt Off Wigginton 13 Apr 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties
Plt Off J H Nicholson 15 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 2 Ferry Pilots Pool, Filton for flying duties
Fg Off R C M Walker 18 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 224 Sqn
Fg Off Ellcock 18 Apr 1940 Posted in on appointment to a commission
Fg Off H C MacPhail 19 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 212 Sqn
Fg Off R F Clarke 20 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 101 Sqn, West Raynham
Plt Off R F Lea 20 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 101 Sqn, West Raynham
Act Flt Lt L D Wilson 20 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 40 Sqn
Fg Off H P Blatchford 20 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 41 Sqn
Fg Off P E Barnes 20 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 17 Sqn
ASO P Rolls 20 Apr 1940 Posted in from RAF Calshot
Fg Off P F Illingworth 22 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 56 Sqn
Plt Off J H Coleman 22 Apr 1940 Posted in from No 19 Sqn
ASO E A G Lywood 29 Apr 1940 Posted in from HQ No 40 Group
Plt Off C Tozer  4 May 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties
Flt Lt P Corbishley  6 May 1940 Posted in for flying duties
Plt Off E M Hornby  7 May 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties
Plt Off T V Craig  7 May 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties
Plt Off D G Park 19 May 1940 Attached to RAF (PDUI) Wembley for Intelligence duties
Plt Off C C Castle 19 May 1940 Attached to RAF (PDUI) Wembley for Intelligence duties
Sqn Ldr W Heath 22 May 1940 Appointed OC, PDUI (Wembley)
Plt Off R I Jones 22 May 1940 Appointed to PDUI (Wembley)
Act Flt Lt F W Turpin 22 May 1940 Appointed to PDUI (Wembley)
Fg Off D G Forrest 22 May 1940 Appointed to PDUI (Wembley)
Plt Off D M Goodbody 22 May 1940 Appointed to PDUI (Wembley)
Plt Off M G Davidson 22 May 1940 Appointed to PDUI (Wembley)
Plt Off H M Daston 22 May 1940 Appointed to PDUI (Wembley)
Plt Off F P Low 27 May 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties
Plt Off Sir N J Waton 27 May 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties
Plt Off R W Nicholson 27 May 1940 Posted in from civil life for Intelligence duties
Plt Off R G Wilsdon 27 May 1940 Posted in for Photographic duties and attached to PDUI (Wembley)
ASO P Couper  1 Jun 1940 Reported for duty on commissioning
Plt Off J G S Butemont  1 Jun 1940 Reported for duty on commissioning
Plt Off C E Armond  1 Jun 1940 Posted to No 2 School of Technical Training
ASO 6 x WAAF Officers  3 Jun 1940 Reported for duty
Fg Off W Foulsham 11 Jun 1940 Posted to RAF Middle Wallop
Plt Off J E Archibald 12 Jun 1940 Posted to HQ No 6 Group, Abingdon
Act Wg Cdr F S Cotton 18 Jun 1940 Posted to No 1 RAF Depot as supernumerary
Wg Cdr Edward H Fielden 18 Jun 1940 Posted in (cancelled?)
Wg Cdr Geoffrey W Tuttle 21 Jun  1940 Assumed command wef 18 Jun 1940
Sqn Ldr P J A Riddell 26 Jun 1940 Reported for duty on  posting wef 17 Jun 1940
Plt Off J A M Reid  2 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 44 Sqn
Plt Off W J Renwick  2 Jul 1940 Posted in on appointment to temporary commission
Flt Lt J W S Fowler  2 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 98 Sqn
Fg Off M J B Young  2 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 98 Sqn
Plt Off D Kidger  5 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 600 Sqn
Flt Lt E M H O'Farrell  5 Jul 1940 Appointed Station Defence Officer
Plt Off P H Watts  6 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 12 OTU, Benson
Plt Off J Seabourne  6 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 12 OTU, Benson
Plt Off W B Parker  6 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 12 OTU, Benson
Fg Off Dakeyne  6 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 13 Sqn
Plt Off A B Corbett  6 Jul 1940 Posted in from RAF Linton-on-Ouse
Plt Off A E Hill  6 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 26 Sqn
Fg Off I L M Hallam  6 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 2 Sqn
Plt Off P O Brunner  7 Jul 1940 Ceased to be attached to Anti-Gas School on completion of course

 

Unit Movements: Jan - Jul 1940

Unit Date Notes
Detached Flight 11 Jan 1940 Returned to Heston
Photographic Development Unit  1 Apr 1940 Converted into an operational unit
Air Ministry AI 1(h) 22 May 1940 Redesignated PDUI (Wembley)
The Aircraft Operating Co, Wembley 22 May 1940 Incorporated into PDUI (Wembley) as Photographic Interpreters
Photographic Development Unit 18 Jun 1940 Placed under the control of No 16 Group, Coastal Command
'A' Flight  1 Jul 1940 Formed and proceeded to Wick
'B' Flight  1 Jul 1940 Formed and proceeded to St Eval

Source - PDU ORB

Personnel of the 'A' & 'B' Flights Photographic Development Unit - 1 Jul 1940

Rank Name Notes
'A' Flight
Flt Lt Wilson Flight Commander
Fg Off Hyde-Parker  
Fg Off John H L Blount  
Fg Off Illingworth  
Fg Off D G Ross  
Fg Off Burton  
'B' Flight
Flt Lt Clarke Flight Commander
Fg Off Blatchford  
Fg Off Christie  
Fg Off Craxton  

On 8 July 1940 it was redesignated the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.

Photographic Reconnaissance Unit

Personnel Movements: Jul - Dec 1940

Rank Name Date Notes
Plt Off N E Sherwell  8 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Fg Off
Flt Lt A W G Martin  8 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Sqn Ldr
Flt Lt W Mullen  8 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 10 B & GS, Warmwell
Flt Lt F V Sheard  8 Jul 1940 Posted to RAF Kinloss
Flt Lt A M Diamant  8 Jul 1940 Posted to CFS, Upavon
Sqn Ldr F H Isaac  9 Jul 1940 Posted in from HQ No 22 Group
ASO N M G Sims 10 Jul 1940 Posted in from RAF Detling
Plt Off W S Stearns 10 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 220 Sqn
Sqn Ldr W H G Heath 12 Jul 1940 Posted to HQ Coastal Command
Flt Lt J Greenhalgh 13 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 4 B& GS, West Freugh
Plt Off S D Mullen 15 Jul 1940 Posted in from No 4 Ferry Pilots Pool, Kemble
Flt Lt J A Kent 15 Jul 1940 Posted to No 7 OTU
Fg Off C H Gray 16 Jul 1940 Posted to RAF Coltishall
Plt Off R G Wilsdon 18 Jul 1940 Ceased to be attached to PDUI (Wembley)
Flt Lt W Mullen 20 Jul 1940 Posted to No 50 Sqn
Flt Lt W J Umbleby 20 Jul 1940 Posted for duty
ASO E A G Lywood 20 Jul 1940 Posted to the Special Duties List
Plt Off A E Somers 21 Jul 1940 Posted in on appointment to a commission
Fg Off G P Christie 22 Jul 1940 Posted to No 242 Sqn
Fg Off S L Ring 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Flt Lt
Plt Off T V Craig 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Flt Lt
Plt Off E W Armstrong 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Flt Lt
Plt Off R I Jones 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Flt Lt
Plt Off J H Weaver 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Fg Off
Plt Off B H Wood 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Fg Off
Plt Off D A Kendall 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Fg Off
Plt Off D G Park 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Fg Off
Plt Off R Wigginton 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Fg Off
Plt Off C C Castle 28 Jul 1940 Promoted to Act Fg Off
Lt Cdr G B Kingdon  1 Aug 1940 Killed in a flying accident
Plt Off Corbett 16 Aug 1940 Missing in action, later reported to be POW
Flt Sgt Taylor-Gill 17 Aug 1940 Missing in action, later reported to be POW
Sgt F C Sawyer 27 Aug 1940 Killed in action
Plt Off A S Pine-Coffin 14 Aug 1940 Posted in for Defence duties
Plt Off J A Bright 21 Aug 1940 Posted in for Defence duties
Plt Off J Skinner 21 Aug 1940 Posted in for Defence duties
Fg Off A E Hyde-Parker 15 Sep 1940 Killed in action
LAC R W Ammon  2 Oct 1940 Killed in action
Flt Lt J T Smalley  8 Nov 1940 Missing in action, later reported to be POW
Fg Off W B Parker  8 Nov 1940 Shot down and admitted to hospital with severe burns
Maj Bishop 12 Oct 1940 Attached from 10th Middlesex Regiment as Station Defence Commander
Plt Off M N Hesketh 17 Oct 1940 Killed in a flying accident
Plt Off L Barker 17 Oct 1940 Posted in from civil life for Defence duties
Plt Off C G Broome 26 Oct 1940 Killed in action
Flt Lt A Rumsey 26 Oct 1940 Missing in action, later reported to be POW
Sgt Williams 26 Oct 1940 Missing in action, later reported to be POW
Sgt Phillips 26 Oct 1940 Missing in action
LAC Dixon 26 Oct 1940 Missing in action, later reported to be POW
Plt Off A S Pine-Coffin 31 Oct 1940 Posted out for Administrative duties
Flt Lt J W S Fowler  9 Nov 1940 Killed in action
Plt Off S R Cooper 22 Nov 1940 Appointed Station Defence Officer
Flt Lt E M H O'Farrell 22 Nov 1940 Posted to RAF Chivenor
Fg Off S J Millen 16 Dec 1940 Killed in action

Personnel of the 'C' & 'D' Flights Photographic Reconnaissance Unit - 24-25 Jul 1940

Rank Name Notes
'C' Flight
Flt Lt Le Mesurier Flight Commander
Fg Off Taylor  
Fg Off Sheen  
Fg Off Burton  
Fg Off Leavitt  
Flt Sgt Taylor-Gill  
Sgt Morgan  
Sgt Phillips Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Sgt Williams Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
'D' Flight
Fg Off S L Ring Flight Commander
Fg Off Wise  
Plt Off Watts  
Plt Off Panton  
Plt Off Stearns  
Sgt Brister Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Sgt Rowlands Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
'E' Flight
Flt Lt Longbottom Flight Commander
  36 x non-flying personnel  

Unit Movements: Jul - Dec 1940

Unit Date Notes
'C' Flight 24 Jul 1940 Formed at Heston
'D' Flight 24 Jul 1940 Formed at Heston
'E' Flight 25 Jul 1940 Formed at Heston to hold specially modified aircraft for use by the operational flights ('A' - 'D')
'A' Flight  1 Oct 1940 Returned to Heston from Wick
'C' Flight  1 Oct 1940 Proceeded to Wick to replace 'A' Flight
PRU 27 Dec 1940 Commenced moving from Heston to RAF Benson

Source - PDU ORB

It was redesigned No 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit on 16 November 1940

[Heston Flt | No 2 Camouflage Unit | PDU | PRU]

This page was last updated on 12/05/20

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