WWII Aerial Photo Archive to Go Online
LONDON - A huge British archive of World War II aerial reconnaissance photos, including pictures of the D-Day landings in Normandy, is to go on the Internet on Monday.
Under the digitalization project announced Saturday, some 5 million Royal Air Force photos of Western Europe will be available to the public on the Web site www.evidenceincamera.co.uk
., archivists said. The site did not appear to be accessible on Saturday.
"These images allow us to see the real war at first hand — as if we are RAF pilots," said Allan Williams, head of the Aerial Reconnaissance Archives project at Keele University in north-central England.
The photos, a key source of intelligence for Allied commanders during the war, include American troops landing in Normandy on D-Day, the effects of the bombing of Cologne, Germany, and the German battleship Bismarck being hunted by the Royal Navy.
The pictures were transferred to Keele University in 1962 from the Allied Central Interpretation Unit, where wartime analysts studied the material collected by reconnaissance crews. The collection is the property of the national Public Records Office on permanent loan to the university.
Before the digitalization, using the photo archive had meant a manual search through thousands of boxes.
The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives, known as TARA, expects later to release of 2.5 million Luftwaffe German air force reconnaissance photographs of Eastern Europe seized by the Allies at the end of the war.