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PUBLISHED: 10:16 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:00 10 October 2012

Photos from one of the first aerial surveys of London have been released

Aerial survey specialist Bluesky has released what is thought to be one of the very first aerial surveys of London. A series of vertical photographs, flown during 1917 following the path of River Thames, are now available online at This historically significant collection also includes images of WWI trenches and war defences and images taken while the pilot, an Army Fusilier, was stationed in Russia.Visitors to can already search through more than a million aerial photos dating back as far as the 1940s by simply entering a postcode, address or grid reference. Detailed search results, including the age and ground coverage, of every image that matches the search criteria are displayed and the visitor can choose to purchase either a hard copy print or digital image file. “This is a significant acquisition for both and the wider aerial survey industry,” commented David Drabble, Archive Manager at Bluesky. “Despite extensive research we can find no evidence to dispute the fact that this is in fact the earliest ever aerial survey of London and as such it offers a valuable record of the capital towards the end of the First World War. We would be interested to hear if anyone knows of an earlier survey.”The original photographs were contained in a family album owned by a retired RAF helicopter pilot, whose Grandfather took them during WWI whilst attached to the Royal Flying Core and while stationed in Russia with the 45th Royal Fusiliers. The photographs include iconic images from the time including other soldiers, buildings, plans and Russian peasants. In addition to the ‘formal’ survey of the River Thames, the collection also includes other aerial shots of trenches and other war defence infrastructure. Photos that are available to purchase from include some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images, military photography from World War II and many national archives, including oblique aerial photographs. Offering a record of most major UK cities and towns, transport and utility infrastructure and commercial property developments, is an invaluable resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in local studies, genealogy, boundary disputes, environmental land use research or town

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