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RAF Benson.jpg

RAF Benson was opened in February 1939, despite local opposition to the taking up of valuable farming land.  In 1941 the first of three squadrons of Spitfires arrived forming the basis of the Photographic Reconaissance Unit tasked with flying over enemy territory.  Unarmed to save weight, Spitfires could fly faster and higher to evade enemy fighters.  An RAF Benson Spitfire photographed the Mohne Dam the morning after the Dambuster Raid in May 1943.  Spitfires were joined by three Mosquito Squadrons, making RAF Benson the principal airfield for wartime Reconnaisance. 


The PRU took over Fyfield Manor as a command headquarters, and The Old Mansion in Cottesmore Lane with the adjoining orchard containing Nissen Huts to develop the photographs.  These were despatched to RAF Medmenham at Danesfield House for interpretation, and eventually to Hughenden Manor near High Wycombe to make maps of enemy territory for Bomber Command. 


The Station was also the home of the Kings/Queens Flight until 1995, the noisy 4-engined Argosy transport plane from 1961-1971, and from 1992 has evolved into the large helicopter base we see today. 

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