Bob is backing the campaign to commemorate the brave pilots and navigators of the Photographic Reconnaissance Units (PRU) during the Second World War.
Photo Reconnaissance Units
The PRU was formed on the 24th of September 1939 and throughout the Second World War it operated highly dangerous, clandestine photographic reconnaissance operations over all theatres of operation, and captured more than 26 million images of enemy operations and installations during the war.
The purpose of the PRU was to provide up-to-date intelligence to strategically plan the Allied actions in the war. Flying Spitfires and Mosquitos, the intelligence it gathered was used by all the armed forces, giving same day intelligence on enemy activity.
Due to the clandestine nature of their operations – they flew solo operations, unarmed and unarmoured – the death rate was nearly fifty percent. However, despite having one of the lowest survival rates of the war – life expectancy in the PRU was around two and a half months – there is no national memorial to the PRU. The ‘Spitfire AA810 Project’ has therefore led the campaign to establish such a memorial to the PRU pilots and navigators.
Among those who served in the PRU were locals, Anthony Brown and Nigel Bottome.
Anthony Malcolm Brown DFC was from Bromley. He is known to have been serving in the PRU, flying Hurricanes, when he was taken prisoner of war on the 2nd October 1941. He is believed to have survived the war, but otherwise relatively little is known about his life and service.
Meanwhile, Nigel Leatham Bottome was also from Bromley. He too is known to have served in the PRU during the Second World War, and it is again believed that he survived the war, but little else is otherwise known about his service or his post-war life either.
Supporting the campaign Bob said;
“I am delighted to support the campaign to commemorate those who served in the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit. This includes Brown and Bottome, who served under exceptionally difficult conditions, and I would urge anyone who might have any more information on them to get in touch. I look forward to working with the Spitfire AA810 Project to establish this memorial and to being able to pay my respects there once it is completed.”
If there is anyone related to or who knew Anthony Brown, or Nigel Bottome, or if anyone know someone who served in the PRU during the war, please go the Spitfire AA810 Project website (www.spitfireaa810.co.uk), or get in touch with Tony Hoskins, Tony@spitfireaa810.co.uk.