Below is the crews report taken from RAF No. 540 Squadron (PR) Operation Record Book for the sortie run-in at Wizernes V-2 rocket bunker installation on 10 July 1944.

Source: Mick Gladwin |  (Mick passed away suddenly in 2017 during work on this project)

Date: 10 July 1944, Sortie No.106G/1347, 10 July 44, Camera; f/8”, A/C (MM.355)
Pilot: F/Lt. King, Navigator: F/Sgt. Bowden
Target: Low level recce of rocket site at Wizernes
Unit: No. 540 Photoreconnaissance Squadron, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire
Aircraft: de Havilland Mosquito Mark XVI

Report: 11:40 take off, then set course for Bradwell flying at 2,000 ft., below cloud cover 10/10 (stratocumulus cloud). At Bradwell altered course for D.R. (dead reckoning) position in the Channel, and then onto D.R. position for Hardelot (France), reducing height to fly on the deck with navigation by map and stopwatch (all on the clock). Visibility was poor but we sighted Boulogne and turned in at Hardelot, flying at 20 to 50 ft. Just before estimated time of arrival at Wizernes we plotted position over little village of Lunbres, we circled, and then proceeded to Wizernes, nipping over the railway line with the camera nose oblique, we then continued on to the rocket site. We were at 2,850 revolutions, at +12 (loud), which really made the froggy workmen duck and run. One guy took a header into a hedge. After covering the target we set course for Bradwell, staying on the deck until we were over the Channel, and then up to 1,500 ft. Landed at base 13:30. It was a "wizzo trip" (great flight) with some good pictures.—F/Sgt. W. Bowden

   V2ROCKET.COM presents these rare and fascinating images courtesy of the late Mick Gladwin. The details related on the photos are impressive. They show the low-level Mosquito flight by 540 Photoreconnaissance Squadron and the diminutive features that were revealed over the French countryside, along with the construction workings of the massive V-2 bunker project. These RAF images were obtained years ago and only now have been restored.
   For decades these images had been located in the holdings of the
JARIC RAF Reconnaissance archive. During that period the images were accessed hundreds of times. The wear and tear of mishandling had caused thousands of blemishes and scratches all over the image surfaces. It has taken several years of work to restore the images you see here. There are still some images remaining that haven't been restored, but these will be added over time as they are completed, as Mick would have wanted.  |  Crown Copyright OGL (Open Government License)

   Originally on nitrate based film, these images were transferred to safety film as either positives or negatives in the 1960's. The images shown here were scanned from a positive image. One of the photos (0034) is contained in the Air Ministry files at the National Archives in London. It has been seen many times in books and documentaries. However, all of the other images have been lost during the past quarter-century. These fast-action images were taken using the Mosquito f/8 camera. Designed to use 9" wide film, but to have a 7" X 7" image format, the older f/8 camera is often misidentified as being the more popular f/52 camera.

Comparison Photos from Wizernes 2014
(Photos by Ed Straten)

Near the rail station stood a
concrete pill box. It can easily be
seen in aerial frame 0028 above.

In 2014 the one-man safe room
was still standing, but was heavily obscured by brush.

In 2000 the pill box could be
clearly seen and approached.

Column Helfaut

   As the Mosquito rose over the dome at Wizernes, the last few photos captured by the crew show a battered monument standing forlorn at the edge of the quarry. The column or obelisk "Helfaut" is a memorial built in memory of the death of the Duke and Prince of Orleans, near Saint-Omer, on the plateau of Helfaut.

   The obelisk was built between August 11 and August 20, 1842, in memory of Prince and Duke Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orleans—one of the 10 sons of King Louis-Philippe. The column almost disappeared during WWII due to the heavy bombardment of the Wizernes site. It wasn't until 1990 that efforts were made to renovate the monument.'Helfaut

   The Mosquito PR Mk XVI had a pressurized cockpit and was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin 72/73 or 76/77 piston engines. This version was equipped with three overload fuel tanks, totaling 760 imperial gallons (3,500 L) in the bomb bay, and could also carry two 50 imperial gallons (230 L) or 100 imperial gallons (450 L) drop tanks.

   A total of 435 of the PR Mk XVI were built. The PR Mk XVI had a maximum speed of 415 mph (668 km/h), a cruise speed of 250 mph (400 km/h), ceiling of 38,500 ft (11,700 m), a range of 2,450 nmi (4,540 km), and a climb rate of 2,900 feet per minute (884 m).
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