RAF (RAF 100) 41 Squadron Spitfires World War II (Crown Copyright) [news licence]

100 Iconic Photographs Released for RAF Centenary

RAF Charts Hundred Year History With Photograph Collection

To celebrate the centenary of the RAF, the Ministry of Defence has released 100 iconic photographs charting the history of the world’s first air force.

Harland Quarrington, the MOD’s Chief Photographer, said of the project:

This was truly a challenging but hugely rewarding task, often it proved massively difficult to identify the history of an image. In many cases a tail number or squadron quest would be the only clues, but we stuck at it and with the help of our RAF friends managed to finalise this wonderful package — we are very proud of the results and of the Royal Air Force.

Here we see a photograph of 41 Squadron Supermarine Spitfire F.XII aircraft based at Friston in Sussex in flight over the South Downs on 12 April 1944.

The aircraft pictured are: MB882/EB-B, MB858/EB-D, MB794/EB-H, MB840/EB-J, MB862/EB-E, MB843/EB-K and one other partially hidden.

The mark XII was the first production Spitfire to be fitted with the more powerful Griffon engine and this necessitated a larger tail fin to counter the increased torque from the new engine.

A retractable tailwheel was also added. The Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing was also clipped at the outer edges to increase high-altitude performance. A total of 100 Mark XIIs were built and they served with Nos 91 and 41 Squadrons.

Image: RAF 41 Squadron Spitfires (Crown Copyright, 1944).