The other day I was asked by a local farmer to survey one of his fields with my trusty drone. I was hoping to find any evidence of land drains that might show up in this drought. I overflew the field for over 40 minutes and began to feel a failure when I could see no evidence on the monitor. Back in my office I started to stare at the high-definition pictures praying for some sort of success in order to save face! I then remembered a story that an elderly friend told me back in the mid-eighties about his war-time experience with an aerial photograph…
In 1944, just before ‘D Day’, Andrew, a young inexperienced officer in the Engineers, was asked to deliver a package to the Photo Reconnaissance department. He was shown into a room and told to wait. On a large table there was a massive black and white aerial photo of a main-line railway track leading to a large junction. As a teenager, Andrew had spent his summer holidays in the West Country, as a bored only child he had been befriended by the local stationmaster who had taught him about railways, not just in the UK, but also on the continent. Out of interest he began to look at the photo. Suddenly he noticed something odd, various bridges had been removed and one of the tracks had recently been moved to allow a greater distance between the up line and the down line. What he’d noticed was the alteration of the rail network in northern France in order to accommodate Rommel’s Tiger tanks on their way to where the Germans thought the Allies would invade – the Pas Du Calais. This also proved that the propaganda had been successful and accepted by the Germans as fact. He was immediately posted to intelligence, where he spent the rest of the war, in his words: “Looking at photographs!”
Andrew taught me that in photographs the evidence is always there to see, you just have to see it! I remembered Andrew as I sat starring at pictures from 400ft of a field and very slowly lines began to emerge and they weren’t tractor wheel marks!
Thank You Andrew.
Normal service will be resumed tomorrow!
© Baldock Bard 2018
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