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WW2 Admiralty | Merchant Ship Recognition (1943)

WW2 RAF Pilot's Naval Recognition Manual (1943)

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A Handbook For Observers

NAVAL STAFF,  Admiralty, London, 1943

An original WW2 Merchant Ship recognition handbook, published by the Admiralty in June 1943. It includes detailed information on how to recognise the various different types of Merchant ship that would be encountered during WW2. The book is very well illustrated throughout, with drawings, diagrams and silhouettes. It is signed on the front cover by ‘F/Lt. F. Dodman, Naval Section, R.A.F. Medmenham’. This handbook would have been very useful for the R.A.F. reconnaissance pilots carrying out specialist missions for the Medmenham photographic inteeligence unit.

RAF Medmanham: was a Royal Air Force station based at Danesfield House near Medmenham, in Buckinghamshire. It specialized in photographic intelligence, and it was the home of the RAF Intelligence Branch. During the Second World War, RAF Medmenham was the main interpretation centre for photographic reconnaissance operations in the European and Mediterranean theatres. Specially adapted unarmed Spitfires, with a maximum speed of 396 mph at 30,000 feet, were used for these photo-reconnaissance missions. The aircraft were fitted with five cameras which were heated to ensure good results. Of particular significance in the success of the work of Medmenham was the use of stereoscopic images. Major operations made possible by the work at Medmanham included the attack on the V-2 rocket development plant at Peenemünde in August 1943. Later raids were also carried out against potential launch sites at Wizernes and 96 other launch sites in Northern France. Medmanham's greatest operational success came in December 1943, when "Operation Crossbow” destroyed the V-1 infrastructure in Northern France.


In good condition. The card cover has minor signs of wear, and a few marks. The stapled binding is good and secure, although the original staples are rusty. The text and illustrations are in very good condition. There are Imperial War Museum ‘Withdrawn’ stamps and a booklplate to the front endpapers. The book is signed on the front cover by ‘Fl/Lt. F Dodman, Naval Section, R.A.F. Medmenham’.

Published: 1943
Iillustrated card cover
Dimensions : 155mm x 245mm
Pages: 60