Aerial reconnaissance played a crucial role during WWII, providing valuable intelligence to military commanders on the movements, positions, and intentions of enemy forces. Both Allied and Axis powers heavily utilized aerial reconnaissance throughout the conflict. The information gathered through aerial reconnaissance was instrumental in shaping military strategies and tactics during the Second World War, highlighting its importance in the overall conduct of the conflict.
The IWM Duxford’s Spies in the Skies: Second World War Aerial Reconnaissance shines a spotlight on the squadrons tasked with flying behind enemy lines to gather intelligence from the air. This new exhibition opened to the public on December 27th, when the Museum opened after its short Christmas break, and will run until February 25, 2024.
The Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) would operate far behind enemy lines in specialized aircraft. They would often fly unarmed, with their weapons swapped for high-performance cameras. IWM Duxford will offer visitors the opportunity to discover the incredible stories of the crew and aircraft who gathered crucial information from the war-torn skies of Europe. Learn the history of RAF aerial reconnaissance and get up close to the PRU’s aircraft, gathered together under one roof.
On selected dates in January and February, the museum offers the opportunity to join one of IWM’s expert guides for a tour exploring the Spies in the Skies: Second World War Aerial Reconnaissance spotlight exhibition. Visitors will be allowed behind the ropes and learn more about aircraft chosen by the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) during the Second World War as well as the unique story of the Lockheed Electra, modified and flown on clandestine aerial reconnaissance missions over Germany. This special tour will allow visitors to get closer to the secretive world of the Westland Lysander and identify Spitfires specifically designed for reconnaissance, including the recovered airframe of Flight Lieutenant ‘Sandy’ Gunn’s Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk IV AA810.