This paper applies particle image velocimetry (PIV) to a simplified, canonical, pitch-hold-return problem of a pitching plate in order to gain some understanding of how three dimensionality develops in such flows. Data from a progression of PIV studies, from stereoscopic PIV yielding three-component, two-dimensional (3C-2D) data to tomographic PIV yielding three-component, three-dimensional (3C-3D) data are presented thus providing progressively more detailed information. A comparison of results is made between the two techniques. The PIV study is performed in a water tunnel facility with cross-sectional area 500 × 500 mm, and involves a full-span (nominally two-dimensional) plate, suspended between a wall end boundary condition and a free surface, pitching at a dimensionless pitch rate of K c = 0.93 in flow at Re = 7,500. Results demonstrate the existence of spanwise flows in both the leading edge and trailing edge vortices, but with strong directionality in the leading edge vortex towards the wall end boundary condition. Observations of instantaneous flow patterns suggest also the existence of three-dimensional coherent vortex filament structures in the outer regions of the leading edge vortex.