United States (US) 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

Cheviot Flats


630 Sturt Street, Townsville 4810

The United States (US) 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron used these flats as a photographic development laboratory from early May, 1942.


The 8th Squadron were equipped with F4 P-38 Lighting aircraft. These were essentially fighter aircraft that had their guns removed and replaced with cameras for taking images of enemy positions. Information gained from these dangerous flyover missions was processed by Intelligence Officers with air attacks subsequently ordered on enemy positions. This Squadron was credited with heavy contributions in photographic intelligence regarding the Japanese fleet before the resulting battle of the Coral Sea.

Although the Squadron was based near Port Moresby, they regularly visited Townsville for photographic missions and aircraft servicing at nearby Garbutt airfield.


John Stanaway & Bob Rocker. The Eight Ballers: Eyes of the Fifth Air Force: The 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron in World War II, Shiffer Military History, Atglen PA 1999.

The North Queensland Line: The Defence of Townsville in 1942. Ray Holyoak unpublished Honours Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville 1998.

Ray Holyoak (contributing author).