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Aerial photographic intelligence during World War II: contributions by some distinguished British geologists

By
Edward P. F. Rose
Edward P. F. Rose
Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UKted.rose@earth.oxon.org
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Published:
January 01, 2019

Abstract

During the war of 1939–45, intelligence was gleaned from aerial photographs by a newly founded organization that developed into the Allied Central Interpretation Unit. This was based primarily at Danesfield House (known as Royal Air Force Medmenham) some 50 km west of London, in Buckinghamshire. At least six British geoscientists (and at least one American, L. J. Simon) were amongst its pioneering photographic interpreters, all recruited from civilian life: palaeobotanist H. Hamshaw Thomas; geologists L. R. Wager, N. L. Falcon, P. E. Kent and P. Allen; and a geologist who became distinguished as a geographer, D. L. Linton. Of these six, all except Linton were to become Fellows of the Royal Society (FRS): the highest British academic accolade for a scientist. Work at Medmenham, although important for the war effort, required interpreters familiar with aerial photographs rather than geology as such – but geology did assist the search for storage sites for ‘V’ weapons, terrain interpretation for the 1944 Allied landings in Normandy, and in guiding plans to bomb German industrial complexes hidden underground.

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Contents

Military Aspects of Geology: Fortification, Excavation and Terrain Evaluation
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS

E.P.F. Rose
E.P.F. Rose
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
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J. Ehlen
J. Ehlen
formerly US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, USA
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U. L. Lawrence
U. L. Lawrence
Capita Property & Infrastructure Ltd, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
473
ISBN electronic:
9781786204189
Publication date:
January 01, 2019

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