Dan Steele

Photographic Colourist

RAF Hawker Typhoon 1B soars over RAF Thorney Island, 1944

A Hawker Typhoon 1B of No. 123 Wing RAF soars over others being readied at RAF Thorney Island, West Sussex. ~May/June 1944.

Colourised by Dan Steele

No. 123 Wing comprised of two Squadrons of Hawker Typhoon 1Bs; No. 609 and No. 198. They formed as part of RAF’s Second Tactical Air Force to perform ground attack sorties during the forthcoming Allied invasion of Europe.

In April 1944, the wing moved to RAF Thorney Island, a few miles East of the Hampshire border in Chichester Harbour. From here they would be within easy striking distance of Normandy.

ROYAL AIR FORCE: 2ND TACTICAL AIR FORCE, 1943-1945. (CH 13346) A Hawker Typhoon half-rolls over Thorney Island, Hampshire, after taking off to attack enemy communications targets on the French coast, watched by ground crew working on Typhoons in a dispersal on the airfield.© IWM CH 13346

The photograph was taken by Flying Officer B. Bridge, an official RAF Photographer. Another photograph accredited to him taken at RAF Thorney Island can be dated to 3rd of June due to the caption mentioning that No. 198’s Squadron Leader John Niblett had died the day prior, and we know he was lost 2nd June 1944. I believe this dates our photograph to a similar date.

Interestingly, I believe the order to add “Invasion Stripes” to allied aircraft, which are also missing from our photograph, would be given the day after the other photograph was taken.

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