Mediterranean Allied Photo Reconnaissance Wing (MAPRW)

  • Conditions Governing Access:  Catalogued imagery is accessible on the NCAP website. Uncatalogued imagery is only accessible with knowledge of exact sortie references.



The Mediterranean Allied Photo Reconnaissance Wing (MAPRW) was the reconnaissance and intelligence arm of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces during the latter stages of the Second World War. It evolved from earlier Allied organisations, such as No.2 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit and the North Africa Photo Reconnaissance Wing, as Allied forces advanced northwards, across the Mediterannean Sea, into Italy.


Operating from bases in North Africa and Italy, photographic reconnaissance squadrons from the United States Army Air Force, Royal Air Force and South African Air Force took aerial photography of targets throughout the Mediterranean theatre, southern and eastern Europe, for subsequent analysis by photographic interpreters at MAPRW. Imagery was also collected to provide a basis for cartography of enemy-occupied territory.



After the Second World War much of the print library was transferred to the British School at Rome. Some years later, it was held by the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University before the eventual transfer of all 150,000 prints to Keele University in the early 1980s. 


The MAPRW Collection is presently uncatalogued and it is not possible to conduct searches within it for aerial photography of specific geographical areas. If a researcher already has photograph references, however, it is possible for us to provide copies of specific images. 


To date, the NCAP digitisation programme has copied and catalogued over 400 images from the MAPRW Collection. View online MAPRW images