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No. 140 Squadron RAF
Active 1918-1918
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  Royal Air Force
Role Photo Reconnaissance
Motto(s) Foresight

No. 140 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was a Second World War photo-reconnaissance squadron that operated between 1941 and 1945.[1]


Briefly formed during the First World War on 1 May 1918 at RAF Biggin Hill as a home defense squadron with Bristol F.2B Fighters, although by then German air-raids on south-east England had stopped and the squadron never went operational. It was disbanded on 4 July 1918.[1]

The squadron formed again on 17 September 1941 at RAF Benson from 1416 Flight and was equipped with Supermarine Spitfire Is and Bristol Blenheims both equipped with cameras.[1] The squadron flew photo reconnaissance sorties over northern France, using the Spitfire during the day and the Blenheim at night.[1] It was later equipped with specialized photo-reconnaissance versions of the Spitfire.[1] In 1942 the squadron operated a detachment at RAF St. Eval in Cornwall to photograph the French ports on the Atlantic coast.[1] The Blenheims were not very successful in the night role and were replaced in 1943 with Lockheed Venturas, although these were not used much in operations.[1]

To support the forthcoming invasion of France the squadron was involved in detailed photography of coastal installations as well as photographing other targets and general mapping.[1] With the introduction in 1943 of the de Havilland Mosquito the squadron was able to cover more ground and fly deeper into France. Later with the radar equipped Mosquito PR.XVIs they were able to carry out blind night photography.[1]

Armourer loading photoflash bombs into a De Havilland PR Mark XVI of No. 140 Squadron at B58/Melsbroek, Belgium, prior to a night photographic-reconnaissance sortie

The squadron moved into France following the invasion to support the action and then into Belgium operating throughout the winter of 1944-45.[1] The squadron's final operational tasks were to carry out shipping reconnaissance along the Dutch and German coasts and with the war in Europe finished the Squadron returned to England and was disbanded at RAF Fersfield on 10 November 1945.[1][2]

Aircraft operated

Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
1918 Bristol F.2B Fighter
1941-1943 Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk.IG and PR Mk. IV [2][3]
1941-1943 Bristol Blenheim IV [2]
1943-1944 Lockheed Ventura I [2]
1943-1944 Supermarine Spitfire PR.VII and XI [2]
1943-1944 de Havilland Mosquito IX [2]
1943-1945 de Havilland Mosquito XVI [2]

See also



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Orbis 1985, pp. 3917-3918
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Jefford 1988, p. 60
  3. Laird and Matusiak 2009, p. 32.


  • Jefford, C.G. (1988). RAF Squadrons. Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-053-6. 
  • Laird, Malcolm, Wotjtek Matusiak (2009). Classic warbirds No.11:Merlin PR Spitfires in Detail. Ventura Publications. ISBN 0-9582296-5-1. 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing. 

External links

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