Photo-reconnaissance aircraft in the Duxford spotlight

IWM Duxford has launched its newest exhibition, showcasing World War Two aerial reconnaissance with special emphasis on camera-fitted variants of the Spitfire

Spies In The Skies, which is open until February 25 and free to all museum visitors, features four airworthy Spitfires – FR.XIV MV293, PR.XIs PL983 and PL965, and Mk.I N3200, the latter to illustrate the differences between photo-recce ‘Spits’ and ‘standard’ models.

The exhibition, the third of Duxford’s winter spotlight events, also features a full-size replica representing PR.VII R7059. The latter is painted in a distinctive hue of pink, illustrating the schemes sometimes used to camouflage aircraft flying sunrise or sunset sorties. They’re set to be joined by PR.IV AA810, the subject of an exciting return to flight project. Also on show is Fighter Aviation Engineering’s Lockheed 12A Electra Junior G-AFTL and the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Westland Lysander Mk.IIIa V9312.

‘Spies In The Skies’ is open at Duxford until February 25
‘Spies In The Skies’ is open at Duxford until February 25 KEY-Jamie Ewan

“Not everyone immediately thinks of the Spitfire as an aircraft able to carry cameras,” said Visitor Experience and Project Manager Liam Shaw. “This means we can shine some light on the story and also spark conversations as to why some of them were painted blue and some pink.” Look out for more on the exhibition and on photo-reconnaissance Spitfires in general inside the April 2024 edition of FlyPast.

The eye-catching full-size replica of R7059
The eye-catching full-size replica of R7059 KEY-Jamie Ewan
The ‘pink Spitfire’ is likely to retain these colours for a while after the exhibition
The ‘pink Spitfire’ is likely to retain these colours for a while after the exhibition KEY-Steve Beebee