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25th Bomb Group


The 25th Bombardment Group (Reconnaissance) was constituted in the days after D-Day and activated in England in August 1944 to carry out photographic and mapping missions over mainland Europe as the Allied armies pushed east. The Group were designated a Bombardment Group but they did not drop bombs. Instead they flew bombers to drop 'chaff' screenings for other Bomb Groups. 'Chaff', strips of metallic paper, would interfere with the enemy's ability to detect aircraft using radar.

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 25th Bombardment Group (Reconnaissance) on 17 Jul 1944. Activated in England on 9 Aug 1944. Served with Eighth AF until V-E Day. Used various aircraft, including B-17’s B-24’s, B-25's, B-26‘s, P-38’s, and L-5’s. Operations included reconnaissance over the waters adjacent to the British Isles and occasionally to the Azores to obtain meteorological data; flights over the Continent for weather information needed in planning operations; night photographic missions to detect enemy activity; and daylight photographic and mapping missions over the Continent. Occasionally engaged in scout missions to target areas for last minute weather information that was furnished to approaching bomber formations, on-the-scene visual evaluation of bombardment strikes, and electronic-countermeasure missions in which chaff was spread to confuse enemy defenses during Allied attacks. Moved to the US, Jul-Aug 1945. Inactivated on 8 Sep 1945.

Commanding officers
  • Ernest Patterson

    Military | Major | Pilot; Commanding Officer | 25th Bomb Group
    On return to base B17 #42-37869 crashed at Oakhampion returning from Atlantic weather reconnaissance mission. 5 KNO +2 RTD +1 RAF

  • John Hoover

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 25th Bomb Group

  • Joseph Stenglein

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot / Commanding Officer | 25th Bomb Group
    Shortly after the birth of the 8th AAF at Savannah, one of our own, Joseph A. `Joe' Stenglein, 1st Lieutenant and pilot, in the 8th Bomber Command was on the way to the United Kingdom and in charge of 1,000 officers and men making the transition from...

  • Leon Gray

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 25th Bomb Group
    Gray was a highly decorated WW II veteran who flew photo reconnaissance missions (unarmed) in enemy airspace with the P-38 Lightning and British Mosquito in the European theater. He was co-commander with Elliott Roosevelt in North Africa. Commander of...


Part of
  • 325th Photographic Wing

    325th Photographic Wing

    8 Reconnaissance Wing (P) established by 8th Air Force order No. 69 on 19 February 1944 and headquarters established at AAF Station 113 Cheddington on 23 February 1944. ...

Previously was
Not yet known


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Station Location Date
Based Watton 22 April 1944 – 23 July 1945



  • Otto Ahlers

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 25th Bomb Group
    December 9, 1943 take off crash from Bovington, UK on a weather recon flight in B17#42-37744. 10 KNO. 2 RAF Meteorological Officers aboard.

  • Raymond Aldrich

    Military | 25th Bomb Group

  • Jonas Allen

    Military | 25th Bomb Group

  • Robert Allison

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 25th Bomb Group
    Assigned 652BS, 25BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Atlantic weather mission 17-Mar-45 in B-17 44-8601; Allah weather flight disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. Believed to have ditched west of St. Eval due to mechanical failure. Killed in Action ...

  • Calhoun Ancrum

    Military | Lieutenant | J/E Communications Operator | 25th Bomb Group

  • Clarence Anderson

    Military | 25th Bomb Group

  • Edward Anderson

    Military | 25th Bomb Group

  • Raymond Armstrong

    Military | Master Sergeant | Radar Technician | 25th Bomb Group
    KIFA aircraft de Havilland DH98 Mosquito NS538 exploded mid-air near Newmarket/Kennet during test flight.

  • Alfred Arnold

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 25th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) crashed into mountain during search mission, Iceland. Flew with 50th Fighter Squadron in P-38s.

  • Harold Aronson

    Military | Major | Pilot | 25th Bomb Group
    January 1944 -- September 1944: 42 missions AM w/ 5 Oak Leaf Cluster

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  • 42-102521

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 10/3/44; Hunter 16/4/44; Dow Fd 29/4/44; Assigned 652BS/25BG Watton 30/4/44; Returned to the USA 4100 BU Patterson 4/2/45; 1103 BU Morrison 27/2/45; Recl Comp 2/5/46.

  • 42-30380 B-17F-100-BO

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/5/43; Gore 25/5/43; Kearney 9/6/43; Dow 27/6/43; Assigned 350BS/100BG [LN-P/W] Thorpe Abbotts 1/7/43; transferred 25BG Watton 21/3/44; Returned to the USA 8STA Homestead 21/6/44; 4136 BU Tinker 30/6/44; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-3095 'Peggy Ann'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26-Jan-43; Pueblo 1-Feb-43; Dow Field, Bangor, Maine 10-Jun-43; Assigned 412BS/95BG [QW-Z] Horham 2-Jul-43; 14m, (force landed Eye AF 22/2/44), transferred SAD 1-Mar-44; 94BG Rougham 25-Jul-43; 25BG Watton 1-Apr-44; 2 BAD 19-Jun-44;...

  • 42-31130

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 23/9/43; Gr Island 11/10/43; Wilmington 13/10/43; Assigned 652BS/25BG Watton 16/10/43; Returned to the USA 4000 BU Patterson 16/4/46; 4185 BU Independence 29/10/46; 4000 BU Patterson 30/10/46; re-ass USN (CB-17) 31/3/47; 4141 BU Pyote...

  • 42-31674

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 6/12/43; Kearney 8/1/44; Detroit 26/1/44; Grenier 30/1/44; Assigned 652BS/25BG Watton 31/1/44; Salvaged n/battle damaged 29/5/45.

  • 42-31736

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/12/43; Gr Island 24/12/43; Detroit 25/1/44; Presque Is 30/1/44; Assigned 652BS/25BG Watton 325Photo Wing 5/2/44; crashed on take off for weather recon to Azores 6/6/44 with Clarry Stephenson, Co-pilot: Joe Ward, Navigator: Gene...

  • 42-3279

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 21/4/43; Dow Fd 21/5/43; Assigned 350BA/100BG Podington 2/6/43; Thorpe Abbotts 9/6/43; transferred 625BS/25BG Watton; detailed RAF St Eval, Cornwall 29/5/44 with Mike Lorens, Co-pilot: Larry Ketterer, Navigator: Nathan Swerdelowe,...

  • 42-3292 Mary Pat

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 29/4/43; Bangor 19/6/43; Assigned 551BS/385BG [HR-O] Gt Ashfield 20/6/43; 25BG Watton, Nfk 1/3/44; Returned to the USA San Bernardino 25/11/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 9/10/45. MARY PAT.

  • 42-39777 'Stumble Butt'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 28/8/43; Scott 29/9/43; Assigned 802 Recon Group (P), 7/10/43; re-assigned 625BS/25BG(R) Watton, as a weather ship from 1 SAD Lt Staughton, Sfk. sal after overshut runway at Watton, with ? no crew named; Salvaged 3SAD 17/9/44....

  • 42-39959

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 19/10/43; Gr Island10/11/43; Assigned 385BG Gt Ashfield 9/12/43; transferred 652BS/25BG (Recon) Watton 8/44; Salvaged 22/6/45.

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Date Contributor Update
05 February 2020 09:40:22 phil marchese Changes to type

Changed mission type to (R) in accordance with designation.

Date Contributor Update
22 August 2019 09:35:54 Emily Changes to motto, insignia, us air force combat units of world war ii description and commanding officers associations

Air Force Combat Units of WWII

Date Contributor Update
21 November 2018 15:12:24 Wattonman Changes to nicknames, motto and insignia

Page 95, The 25th Bomb Group ( Rcn) in World War II

Date Contributor Update
01 January 2017 03:28:36 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft types, unit previously was association and aircraft associations

"The 25th Bomb Group in World War II" - Norman Malayney
page 280

Date Contributor Update
27 April 2015 10:43:45 Emily Changes to mission associations and stations

Associated Watton

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 15:12:02 rossingtonj Changes to type and mission associations

Type added.

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2015 12:52:07 Al_Skiff Changes to aircraft associations and mission associations

USAAF Photo.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:44 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983).