New footage shows WW1 battlefields from above

Extraordinary aerial pictures of First World War battlefields have been discovered, after being hidden for nearly a century.

The dramatic aerial shots show the huge damage wreaked on towns such as Ypres and Passchendaele. The programme, on BBC One this Sunday evening, also includes aerial footage taken by British pilots. These new images give historians of the First World War a new insight into the impact of the fighting on the western front.

‘The First World War from Above’ is on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm.

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2 Comments

Filed under Army, On TV, Royal Air Force, western front, World War One

2 responses to “New footage shows WW1 battlefields from above

  1. The most impressive part of that photo montage are the brief glimpses of the zig-zag line of trenches. In this day and age of huge earth-moving machinery, we have become inured to sites of large excavations. These miles of trenches were dug BY HAND! Most of them were dug with military-equipment “E tools”, small, one-handed shovels only a bit bigger than garden trowels. Having done a fair bit of digging during my re-enacting times, I know how difficult it is to move any decent amount of earth with E-tools. A friend and I tore into soft earth at an airshow one weekend. Over 8 hours, he and I managed to cut an L-shaped trench about 5 feet long on the long side, 2 feet long on the short, about 2 1/2 wide, and less than 5 feet deep. 16 man-hours, in loose soil, without being shot at, and we couldn’t get our heads below ground level! Imagine the months of work, by thousands upon thousands of men, to cover that small area in the photo – and then remember these trenches stretched from Switzerland to the Channel! What a phenomenal tribute to the work these men did, and what a sorrow that it was done in so horrific a cause.

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