More on Spitfire 944 from England
By John Healey, Kent, England
Ref: Kilroy was here. Video of the week,
06/23/2013 'Spitfire 944'.
Royal Air Force Station Mount Farm or more simply RAF Mount Farm is a
former Royal Air Force station located 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Dorchester,
Oxfordshire, England. Map coordinates 51.669°N 1.163°W
The AAF use.
Mount Farm was originally a satellite airfield for the RAF Photographic
Reconnaissance Unit at RAF Benson. The airfield was originally a grass
field, but concrete was laid for runway, taxiways and aircraft parking
purposes. All hangars were the blister type. The airfield became associated
with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) when, in February 1943
it was used by the Eighth Air Force as a photo recon station. Mount Farm
was given USAAF designation Station 234 (MF).
7th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance). The first USAAF unit to use the
airfield was the 13th Photographic Squadron of Lockheed F-5 (P-38) Lightning
photographic aircraft which moved in for tutorage in March 1943 under
the experienced RAF establishment. This was the 13th Photographic Squadron.
The need for more photographic reconnaissance of targets by the Eighth
Air Force led to other American photo/recon squadrons being assigned to
the station and on 7 July 1943, the 7th Photographic Group was established
at Mount Farm, the group being transferred from Peterson AAF Colorado
and absorbing the assets of the 13th photo squadron.
The group consisted of the following:
" 13th Photographic Squadron (red rudder)
" 14th Photographic Squadron (green rudder)
" 22nd Photographic Squadron (white rudder)
" 27th Photographic Squadron (blue rudder)
The group flew a combination of F-5
(P-38), P-51 and Spitfire IX photo/recon aircraft to obtain information
about bombardment targets and damage inflicted by bombardment operations.
The group also provided mapping service for air and ground units,
observed and reported on enemy transportation, installations, and
obtained data on weather conditions.
Mount Farm, Oxfordshire,
Click the image for a larger
Prior to June 1944, the
group photographed airfields, cities, industrial establishments and ports
in France, the Low Countries and Germany. Following the Berlin raid in
March 1944, Major Walter L Weitner flew the first Eighth Spitfire photo
sortie to Berlin on 6 March and by 11 April the Group had chalked up its
The 7th received a Distinguished Unit Citation for operations during the
period, 31 May - 30 June 1944, when its coverage of bridges, marshaling
yards, canals, highways, rivers, and other targets contributed much to
the success of the Normandy campaign.
The group covered missile sites in France during July and in August carried
out photographic mapping missions for ground forces advancing across France.
Provided reconnaissance support for the airborne attack on Holland in
September and for the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944-January 1945.
The 7th used P-51's to escort its own reconnaissance planes during the
last months of the war as the group supported the Allied drive across
the Rhine and into Germany. Took part in the final bomb damage assessment
following V-E Day.
The 7th Recon Group took over three million photographs during the course
of its 4,251 sorties. It was transferred to RAF Chalgrove in March 1945
and was later deactivated at the 4th Strategic Air Depot (Hitcham) on
21 November 1945.
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