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Help Plot First World War Sites on Aerial Photos of Places You Know

Historic England is asking the public to turn detective and help 'tag' a vast on-line archive of aerial photographs known as Britain from Above (BfA) with sites, buildings and remains that show the impact of the First World War on British soil.

Our collection of aerial photos

Britain from Above was a four-year Heritage Lottery-funded project to conserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online a unique collection of photographs taken by the pioneering Aerofilms company over the course of the 20th century.

These high resolution aerial photos, especially of the 1920s and 1930s, are often the only record left of the First World War's impact on Britain's towns, cities and countryside. You can zoom right into the details of the photos and tag the sites you know that relate to the war's Home Front.

National Filling Factory (Chemical), Chittening, Bristol.
National Filling Factory (Chemical), Chittening, Bristol. Adjacent to the Bristol Channel, this factory's role was to fill shells with mustard gas.

Tag photos with First World War connections

The First World War left a huge footprint on Britain's built environment: military structures were erected on the coast, along with secret listening stations that intercepted German communications; ships were built; factories constructed or adapted to produce ammunition, tanks and aircraft; hospitals were created to treat wounded soldiers and country houses requisitioned as convalescent homes; training camps were built to prepare soldiers for the front; prisoner-of-war camps were erected.

People's homes were bombed by German Zeppelins and aircraft, and coastal towns and historic properties were shelled by the German Navy. Across the country civilian volunteers supported the war effort through charities temporarily housed in buildings grand and modest, packing parcels for troops and refugees.

With your help in pinpointing and tagging these sites, the BfA project will create a historically important website gallery featuring hundreds of images that portray Britain's First Home Front from the air. These images can also be downloaded for free.

To get started, join the Britain from Above Home Front Legacy Group.

Put your site on record

Once you have tagged a site, why not go out and record it in more detail on the spot?

Historic England together with the Council for British Archaeology has developed a website and toolkit including a free downloadable app so that anyone can be a history detective. To find out how to research and upload your findings to the Historic Environment Record online database, visit the WW1 Home Front Legacy website.

Details go automatically into the UK's national and local archaeological records, where they will be used to inform planning decisions and help safeguard First World War remains for future generations.

For further information about Historic England's First World War projects go to our First World War web pages.

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