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proditto
01-04-2010, 03:24 PM
Has anyone any information of the just prewar project to have civilian pilots take photographs of airfields in Europe (probably other points of interest)? The pilots were made to sign the Act and hand over the film on landing.

Uyraell
01-19-2010, 06:42 AM
Has anyone any information of the just prewar project to have civilian pilots take photographs of airfields in Europe (probably other points of interest)? The pilots were made to sign the Act and hand over the film on landing.

I suggest you research one Mr. Sidney Cotton, for whom the "Sidcot" pilot survival suit is named. Cotton led and performed several photo-recon flights of the type you refer between approximately June of 1938 and late August of 1939.
Cotton was also the "Leader" of an extremely 'hush-hush" group of some 18 or 20 pilots who were similarly tasked, each of whom, was obliged to Sign the Official Secrets Act. The aircraft were equipped with the best air-to-ground cameras then in existence, and the routes they used were the foundation of the routes employed by PRU of the RAF during most of WW2.

Sidney Cotton died in the late 1970's, if my memory is correct. Also, I have yet to see any definitive book written on the 1936 to 1940 period of his life.

I hope this little bit of info is of assistance to you.

Regards, Uyraell.

proditto
01-21-2010, 06:55 AM
Thank you for the information. This sounds correct as my father was too old for operations but was a pilot with some experience.
I understood from the little he said that non service pilots were used as they were deniable. I found a few photographs hidden after his death. They are of an airfield and I presume they were taken at that time. I will try and find out more about Mr Cotton. I will also check my father log books but suspect the flights may not have been logged.

Uyraell
01-22-2010, 04:13 AM
You are indeed most welcome, proditto. :)
Odd curiosity: much of the available info on Cotton and his activities was freely researchable in the late 1960's/early 1970's. Around 1975, a lot of the same info-sources suddenly "dry up".
If I recall more, I shall post to this thread, or PM you.

Kind Regards, Uyraell.