View Full Version : WWII Flying Maps

Agaricus bisporus
21st Nov 2012, 21:27
I've recently seen a 1/4 inch scale (equivalent to a modern 1:250,000) chart of SE England from 1943 "Second war revision Sheet 12" which is a fascinating contrast to modern VFR charts.

It is an ordinary OS map with a sparse aviation overprint in red consisting of airfields which are not differentiated in terms of size or importance, (Hendon, Kenley, N Weald and Stapleford Tawney are all shown with the same small small bullseye), also golf courses (a flag on a pole), racecources (a thin red line outlining the shape of the course), a diabolo symbol which I think indicates a tall mast as there is one over Kelvedon near Brentwood, and a star symbol over a lighthouse. There are a couple of others I can't figure out. No airspace - if there was such a thing and no nav info whatsoever.

What was it used for? Flying or ground ops? What maps were used by pilots in WWII? Can anyone post pics or further info?

I'll attach pics when I can - soon.

22nd Nov 2012, 07:26
a b
"I'll attach pics when I can - soon."

Waiting with bated breath as it has always been of interest to me to see how many airfields, ELGs there were by 1943/4.

Agaricus bisporus
22nd Nov 2012, 10:23
You'll recognise almost all of them, a few have gone but the names remain familiar as "disused" or so historical they are well known (Hawkinge, Lympne, Hendon) . The picture is remarkably similar to today.

22nd Nov 2012, 15:15
I have a code AF Foldex Europe (air) 1/500,000 Issued december 1944.

Owners name on front: S/L A.H. McKEE DFC.

the map is varnished.

Any value, and who is S/L McKEE.


22nd Nov 2012, 15:32
Thread drift.....!

Could this be him (from the London Gazette):

'Flving Officer Alexander Hamill McKEE (149669),
R.A.F.V.R., 21 Sqn.
As navigator, Flying Officer McKee has participated
in a large number of sorties, involving
attacks on shipping, airfields and numerous other
targets. He has at all times displayed the greatest
keenness and skill and has proved himself to be .
a worthy member of aircraft crew. On one occasion,
when his aircraft' was attacked by a fighter,
the air gunner was seriously wounded. Flying
Officer McKee immediately manned the turret and
his good shooting drove off the enemy aircraft.

Turns up later with a DSO as well, but still as a Fg Off. Could have been Sqn Ldr as a wartime acting Rank?

22nd Nov 2012, 15:43
Also traced a AVM with same name......

MCKEE, Air Marshal Sir Andrew, K.C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., D.F.C., A.F.C.
(1902 ).
RAF (retired).
Sir Andrew McKee was born at Oxford, Canterbury, New Zealand, on 10 January 1902 and was educated in Christchurch. He joined the RAF in 1927 and achieved a distinguished war record. He spent 194546 with the Mediterranean Allied Air Force, 194647 as Senior Air Staff Officer, MEAF, 194749 as Commandant, OATS. From 1949 to 1951 he was the first commandant of the RAF Flying College. After a period as Senior Air Staff Officer with Bomber Command he was appointed Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Transport Command, which position he held till his retirement in 1959. Since then he has lived in Belmont, near Wellington, New Zealand, where he is deputy chairman of the National Airways Corporation and a director of Air New Zealand.

Thanks for the input.


22nd Nov 2012, 18:56
"What maps were used by pilots in WWII?"

The Ordnance Survey produced an RAF edition pre-War (they also produced a civil aviation series pre-War) based on their quarter-inch maps of the UK - quarter-inch is 1:253,440, so almost quarter-million - and IIRC a half-million series. These became the RAF Edition (War).

Much of the RAF's mapping was produced by the Geographical Section of the General Staff and there were dozens of GSGS series at different scales and in some cases several editions of particular series. Some series covered the UK but most were overseas; GSGS produced map series that covered much of the world, although maps in overseas theatres were also produced by bodies such as the Survey of India.

The Foldex maps were apparently produced for use by single-seat fighter pilots, being cunningly folded to enable them to cover long distances without having to wrestle with large maps in a confined cockpit.

GSGS also produced the plotting charts used by navigators - bare outlines with little geographical detail, although ranges of mountains were marked, but with heights in metres which seems to be asking for trouble, given that altimeters read in feet!

izod tester
23rd Nov 2012, 07:58
I remember having the GSGS map showing all UK airfields on my office wall at HQ STC in 1976 - it was very thickly populated. Tried to get another copy in the 90s, but it had been discontinued.

Whilst not a map, the following site gives current aerial views of sites of UK airfields most of which were RAF (or RFC or RNAS) originally. The link has been posted before on Pprune, but not recently.

Aerial Views Of UK Airports & Airfields (http://www.content-delivery.co.uk/aviation/airfields/)

23rd Nov 2012, 09:28
The link has been posted before on PPRuNe, but not recently.

Aerial Views Of UK Airports & Airfields

Good grief. I idly followed the link, and equally idly looked up "Wimbledon", for no reason other than I used to live there.

To my immense surprise, I found it listed. The link shows an area of the Common, plus some football pitches, near the A3. But nothing at all resembling an airfield or anything large enough to have once been one.
There were a load of AA batteries on the Common during WW2 - I once found a fragment of shrapnel from a shell they fired - and there were rifle ranges there before this activity moved to Bisley. Also the TA practiced manoevres there, but both these latter two were pre-WW1. Local anecdotes never, ever, mentioned aeroplanes in connection with the area.

Giggling reveals precisely zilch. Anyone know anything?

25th Nov 2012, 11:07
Not much found.

X0WB Wimbledon -- N 51:26 W000:15 1914 WW1 use only.

UK Airfield Catalogue (http://www.homepages.mcb.net/bones/UK_Airfield_Catalogue/ukmenu.htm)

25th Nov 2012, 12:41
My father kept his varnished west european map. The intention was multiple use. For each operation they used red wax crayon for the route and then cleaned it afterwards. It's in a crate somewhere and I can't lay hands on it.