WWII's 16th Photo Tech: A Project. By Theresa Everline.

October 28, 2009

“Blue Train” defined

Filed under: Uncategorized — Theresa Everline @ 12:26 pm

Rich Faulkner of the 34th Photo Recon Squadron site was particularly intrigued that my father’s book was called “Blue Train in Europe.” He wrote to me:

“Blue Train is a name that resonates for many in the photo recon community who served in the ETO and a bit of a mystery to many.”

So the book’s name itself is worthy of investigation. A website devoted to the 33rd Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron provides an answer:

A “Blue Train” was an automated photographic processing unit designed to help the US 9th Air Force provide “rapid photo intelligence” to the armies of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. An automated Photo Tech Unit was officially described as follows:

Each of the automatic teams were equipped with a Multi-printer trailer, a continuous processing trailer and an office trailer; these three units comprised a British Blue Train. The term Blue Train was give [sic] these trailers because they were originally painted blue; but the terminology also was used by the British to designate field operations and means “out of the blue”; this contributed much to the confusion which was to follow.

My “Blue Train” book includes a photograph captioned “The Blue Train alongside a hedgerow near Le Molay, France. The foxholes are on the other side.” Sadly, (1) the photo is (of course) in black and white, and (2) there’s no corresponding photo of those foxholes.

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