Mitchell

The North American B-25 Mitchell is an American twin-engine, medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation (NAA). It was named in honour of Major General William “Billy” Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Used by many Allied air forces, the B-25 served in every theatre of World War II and after the war ended many remained in service, operating across four decades. Produced in numerous variants, nearly 10,000 Mitchells rolled from NAA factories.

At Dunsfold three RAF squadrons operated Mitchells – 98, 180 and 320 Squadrons. They were initially equipped with Mitchell II’s ( equivalent to the variant that the Americans used, the Mitchell B25 C ) and in 1944 were upgraded with Mitchell III’s (B25 J).

The evolution in the European theatre showed that the ventral positioned remote turret was not popular and later removed. The majority of Dunsfold based operations were utilising the Mitchell II. Later, repositioning of the top turret and the addition of waist gun positions was the primary change seen in the later Mitchell III.

ROYAL AIR FORCE: 2ND TACTICAL AIR FORCE, 1943-1945. (CH 20598) North American Mitchell Mark IIs of No. 320 (Dutch) Squadron RAF lined up at Dunsfold, Surrey, during an inspection of No. 139 Wing by the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Expeditionary Force, General Dwight D Eisenhower. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210861
ROYAL AIR FORCE: 2ND TACTICAL AIR FORCE, 1943-1945. (CH 12862) North American Mitchell Mark IIs of No. 98 Squadron RAF taxying along the perimeter track at Dunsfold, Surrey, for a morning raid on targets in northern France. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210539
ROYAL AIR FORCE: 2ND TACTICAL AIR FORCE, 1943-1945. (CH 11991) North American Mitchell Mark II, FV929 ‘VO-D’, of No. 98 Squadron RAF landing at Dunsfold, Surrey, after a daylight raid over northern France. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210480
AMERICAN AIRCRAFT IN RAF SERVICE 1939-1945: NORTH AMERICAN NA-82 MITCHELL. (CH 20592) Mitchell Mark II, FV985 ?VO-S?, of No. 98 Squadron RAF based at Dunsfold, Surrey, approaches the English Channel south of Etaples while returning from a ‘Noball’ operation over northern France. Note the deployed ventral turret. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210536
North American Mitchell II of No.180 Squadron,   Rickard, J (2 October 2008), http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_mitchell_II_180_sqn.html
North American Mitchell II of No.98 Squadron, Rickard, J (18 July 2008), http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_mitchell_II_98_sqn.html
The Mitchell II (B25 C) was not radially different to its successor. Around the time of D-Day the first of the new Mitchell III’s (B25 J) were introduced to 98 Squadron and later to 180 and 320 Squadrons Note: the MkIII (B25J) has a revised turret position, aerial clusters and waist gunner positions requiring squadron code markings to be moved on the fuselage.
B25 at Dunsfold in 2009 © Jonny White
B25 at Dunsfold in 2009 ©Jonny White
B25 at Dunsfold in 2009 ©Jonny White

8 Replies to “Mitchell”

  1. Work in Progress!

    This is just the beginning of our new DAHS website, and time restricts how much information we can add initially. We hope to widen the scope of this website and we actively encourage visitors to contribute information, photographs, anecdotes and data that can add to the wealth of information about these important subjects. Please do post a comment on what you see here, or if we have made errors in our published material… we will be most happy to correct. If you have first hand knowledge of the the Mitchells operating from Dunsfold or were one of the 100’s that worked at Dunsfold during the second world war, then we’d like to hear from you.

    DAHS webmaster

  2. interesting my dad was a air gunner in 98 th raf mainly kiwis and aussies told me many stories about air raids over france he did over 21 raids and survived lucky man still have his log book and many bits of flack he bought home after the war cheers glenn Jarvis new zealand

    1. Hi Glenn Can you scan a few pages from his log book? These sort of artefacts do help others in tracing their own family’s history – especially when it links them to other crew members.

  3. Very interested to find this website. My father was an A/G on 98 and then 180 sqdns. I have his logbook and I’ll be be going through it to see if any names/photos/dates tie-in with the ones on this site.

  4. I absolutely ‘should’ have made the time long before now to look into my Grandfather’s RAF WWII experiences – who he was, where he was, who he knew, what they did… and sadly I never asked when I had the chance. But trying to make up for that now
    having found a photo and two aviation maps in a box, I soon discovered his New Zealand (RNZAF) details – at 180 Squadron.

    I would love to know more about life on the airfield at that time, and even more so which aircraft and its crew he flew with.

    Terence Stanley Kelly (415766); F/Sgt T. S. Kelly, NZ415766, navigator/bomb aimer 180 Sqdn.

    Thank you so much in advance, Jamie Kelly

    1. Some of the Squadron diaries are available at the moment on our National Archives site at Kew. I have been looking at them today. They are free for viewing on a fair usage policy whilst we are all at home.
      Very informative and many names mentioned.

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