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History of The Medmenham Association

The Association was established as the Medmenham Club in 1946 to maintain the camaraderie enjoyed by the photographic interpreters (PIs) of all services who served in the Allied Central Interpretation Unit (ACIU) at RAF Medmenham during the Second World War. The Club's first President was the late Dr Hamshaw Thomas who pioneered aerial photographic interpretation in Palestine in 1916 and later served at Medmenham. World War Two experience is now limited to a few senior members. However, many other members have practised PI in operational theatres throughout the world and been involved in most world crises from the 1950s through to the 1990s..

Now, in the new century, some of the younger members have already gained experience serving in support of current operations in Europe and the Middle East. Thus the Medmenham Association has become a unique association of former and serving PIs (Or as they are known today - imagery analysts (IAs)) spanning every world event of significance from the Second World War to the present. It is also a Joint Service Association with members from all 3 UK Services and the Civil Service, as well as members from the US IA community and from the Commonwealth and Europe.

Association members have also contributed material, experience and money to the ever-growing Medmenham Collection (PI Museum), which has been developed largely by Association volunteers and is now primarily located at the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC), Chicksands.

The Association sponsors the Medmenham Trophy, which may be awarded annually to a practising imagery analyst, either Service or civilian, who is adjudged by the Ministry of Defence to have made the most significant contribution to imagery intelligence during the previous year.

In 2015 The Medmenham Club became The Medmenham Association.

Air Commodore Steve Thornber CBE, RAF became our current President in 2017 succeeding Air Marshal P O Sturley, CB, MBE, RAF.


Air Commodore Thornber