View Full Version : Photographic Officer RAF HQ Hinaidi, Iraq 1925

25th July 2010, 15:29

I am researching a pilot who after a flying tour with 39 Sqn at RAF Spitalgate (DH-9A) was posted to several photographic organisations as Flt. Lt. I am stuck on the meaning of 'Photographic Officer'

1) 19 Oct 1922--- Posted to RAF School of Photography, Farnborough as supernumerary.
2) 9 Apr 1923-----Posted to RAF School of Photography, Farnborough as staff
3) 27 Feb 1925--- Posted to RAF HQ Hinaidi, Iraq as 'Photographic Officer'
4) 17 Oct 1926--- Posted to 14 Sqn RAF Amman, Jordan as Flight Commander (DH-9A)

Tall order - but could someone kindly suggest what his duties in Hinaidi, Iraq would have most likely to have been? I have been thinking pilot on photographic officer posting was a ground tour in interpretation but now think it may have been a flying duty in PR? Any clues gratefully received

Thank you

25th July 2010, 19:14
Hi Norman

As you are aware all pilots were in the General Duties branch which they were capable of doing 'everything' except Stores, Medical and Legal matters.

One of the requirements for those holding Permanent Commissions was to specialist and the areas they could specialise in were Armament, Engineering, Signals, Navigation, Photography, PT and probably after 1927, Parachuting.

Once qualified the officer could find themselves applying their new skills as an instructor, staff officer or practitioner. On a squadron the specialist officers (Eng, Sigs, Nav and Photo) would have acted much like the various 'Leaders' on a WW2 bomber squadron. They would have ensured that all pilots were up to date in their relevant fields and acted as the officer i/c that discipline on the unit.

All the best


25th July 2010, 21:26

Not sure if this fits in with your question, but Feb 1918 saw the formation of the RFC (later RAF) Meteorological Flight which made twice daily ascents over Berck in northeast France. The ascents were to measure temperatures to 14000 ft, vertical and horizontal visibility at three levels and details about cloud cover and type. Very early in the MF's existence one of the pilots, having no meteorological training, had difficulty in describing the clouds and because of this cameras were provided to obtain photographs rather than relying on a pilot's verbal description (hang on - I'll get there).

As a result a OR Photographer was attached to the flight - not to take the photographs, but to process the plates. It seemed to me that 'photographer' was a trade to process images rather than the actual taking thereof. I appreciate that pilots took photographs, but that was just one of the many tasks they undertook, I don't think they ever had to qualify as a photographer to perform the task.

It may well be that within a short period the 'photographer' trade came to embrace all aspects of photography but, notwihstanding Malcolm's advice, I wonder if your man was actually simply in charge of the photographic section with an NCO being responsible for the day to day work.


25th July 2010, 23:00
As Brian points out the Photographic officer was indeed in charge of a photographic section on a squadron but he received full training in all aspects of photography at the School of Photography at Farnborough as it was part of his 'advanced' training and required for his career progression up the ranks.