Great War Viewed Through Aerial Photography

A great deal of images were taken during the First World War through the use of aerial photography. Many of those same images are now under review due to their ability to provide an overhead view of the war while also allowing scholars to assess various information on the sites within the images. In this way, thousands of pictures taken through aerial photography are able to help increase modern understanding of the Great War.

There are well over ninety thousand images currently being analyzed by internet users all around the globe. When the project began, it was uncertain how much precise information would be revealed by users posting on the included images. Now, it has become apparent that there is a wealth of available information on the First World War. Those viewing the aerial photography taken by a company called Aerofilms during the Great War have been able to provide information on buildings, landscapes, lakes, and other sites that were affected by the war.

Although only ninety thousand images are being used, Aerofilms actually possesses over one million negatives, meaning there may be additional projects in the future. While some of the sites photographed were affected by the war, others only came into being due to the war’s strain on global economy. Aerial photography subjects include temporary air bases, houses built for munitions workers, and other temporary structures. Since many of these structures were subsequently taken down at war’s end, pictures of such sites are hoped to gain a great deal of interest from anyone who might be able to reveal further information about them to the public.

Not all of the sites were technically important to the war itself, but that does not make them irrelevant. For instance, while it did not affect wartime strategy or other needs, there is some fascination to be gained from the aerial photography depicting the construction of a war memorial in Nottingham, built while the war was still raging on. Even sites where people merely enlisted are considered to have some historical value to the project, as they help to show the sheer number of locations affected by the onset of war, the BBC News reports.

The current aerial photography project is planned to run for at least four years. The Heritage Lottery Fund has ensured that they will have enough money to catalogue all digital information when it is time for the project to come to a close. The run of four years is to ensure that the project will last as long as the war’s centenary, at the end of which a great deal of the aerial photography will receive formal publication.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE