Telegraph commemorates Battle of Britain with Nazi propaganda photo

Telegraph Spitfire screen shot

The Daily Telegraph’s story on the Battle of Britain commemoration (see the above screenshot) has that uncaptioned picture of what is a Spitfire, trailing smoke, like it’s been hit, as it sought to attack Luftwaffe Heinkel 111s. The type of Spitfire, markings, scenario would at a glance be timestamped 1940 – Battle of Britain, let’s say – but the Spitfire seems to lack any squadron lettering on the fuselage, which would be very unusual, and the roundel is outsize. It seems to be very similar to the one depicted in this close-up picture that is known to have been staged by the Germans using a captured Spitfire …

Known staged Spitfire combat picture

Again, below, is the Telegraph’s picture, enlarged:


Whereas typically, a Battle of Britain-era Spitfire’s fuselage markings would be as below: Spitfire

UPDATE: Andrew Renwick, the curator of photography at the RAF Museum at Hendon has confirmed that the Telegraph’s photo “was created as a Luftwaffe propaganda photograph in 1940”, using a captured Spitfire, one of two, as well as a captured Curtis fighter that had served in the French air force, in a series of staged combat pictures. One Battle of Britain enthusiast agreed that it was a “German propaganda shot utilising one of the captured Spitfires they picked up in France,” detailing that “by June 2nd the Luftwaffe already had two Spitfires. K9867 of 74 Squadron fell into their hands on May 23rd; with P9317 of 222 Squadron being taken on June 1st.”

“I’ve seen it listed as a propaganda shot for a very long time,” he added. The photography archive at the Imperial War Museum in London also corroborated the picture as depicting “a captured Spitfire used by the Germans for propaganda filming.”

When asked for comment, I was told by the Daily Telegraph picture desk that the video and images in the article were “not something that was generated by our desk”.


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