The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives

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Henry Hatt
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The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives

Post by Henry Hatt » 26 Aug 2006 07:22

The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives at the Keele University in Staffordshire, United Kingdom has a web site online since about 5 years now only promising a new software. Again they are posting that a new software would be launched in September. After 5 years of constantly lying about it, no one will ever believe anything that comes from TARA.

My question is: "Why does the University put up with that?"

So far, I do not know of anyone who got an aerial photography by the help of TARA
nor did anyone ever get a response.

What is behind the "Collection of Email Addresses" that goes on again?
People can register, open an account but they will never hear back.

The internet community is upset for good reasons.

One could guess that TARA is collecting certain information on order of ----- ?

Anyone has an idea what is behind all that?

thanks
Henry

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Matzos
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Post by Matzos » 26 Aug 2006 08:27

The problem is that TARA does not have the staff to handle the imagery that was sent to them by the military back in early 2000, I should know, I was one of the team that took over 10,000+ tins of WW2 imagery to them.

I had a staff of over 25 at one time and when we turned up at Keele they had a staff of 3, I think that has now gone down to 1, maybe 2 and these members of staff trying to run an image archive and a business.

Also I did not like the way in which they told the world in one go they were going on line with all this imagery. It’s my view they should had worked out their problems, got the site running with some good imagery and then sold the idea that here was a site where you could obtain good WW2 imagery.

Also another problem, TARA was after the database on which we used as our search engine. However, there was no way In which this information could have been removed from the computer and passed to TARA in a usable form. I do know that at one time all imagery was copied onto microfilm, and there is a task being undertaken to give TARA the microfilms that cover the imagery they received. But this is on going and will not be completed over night!

I have since moved onto to another task and have lost contact with the people at TARA, but with my contacts tell me that Keele could be handing over control of the imagery to the UK National Archives, how true this is I cannot not tell but I’m willing to try and find out..

Henry Hatt
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Post by Henry Hatt » 26 Aug 2006 09:00

Hi Matzos

I am sure that not only me but the entire globe would be very thankful for finding out THE TRUTH !

Too many people I know took a lot of valuable time to write to TARA and never got a response.
This situation can not longer be accepted. The web site has to be shut down until someone is able to respond
or it has to clearly state that NO RESPONSE WILL BE GIVEN !
Plus the collection of email addresses and information has to stop.

I always thought that a University is something serious and can be trusted.
However, Keele University seems like a Kindergarden to me.

If TARA is a ONE MAN BAND and I have no doubt it is, it can be considered a SCAM !

Dont get me wrong guys!
Everyone can understand that it is difficult to handle such a large number of images,
but at least one can expect that the people behind it are honest and decent and not make the whole world believe it would be a huge enterprise.

Some questions one has to ask:
Why did the National Archives give such a responsability to Keele in the first place knowing that there are not enough staff members to handle it?
Why do they not take care of the images themselves?
Why is only one person in charge of handling an impossible task?
Why does NA put up with the situation?

It gives an awful impression of the entire UK.

Sincerely
Henry

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Matzos
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Post by Matzos » 26 Aug 2006 09:47

Some questions one has to ask:

I will try and answer them, please note these are my personal views and not those of the military in any way or form

Why did the National Archives give such a responsability to Keele in the first place knowing that there are not enough staff members to handle it?

Back in early 2000 it was stated that the military and for that I mine the RAF, could no longer hold any imagery that was over 30 years old, I think it was called the Public Records Act 1964. Which stated that this 'imagery' was a public record and as such could not be controlled by the military.
Since Keele aready had an archive of imagery that covered areas outside of the UK, they would then receive the imagery from the military of non-UK areas, this did not just cover WW2, they were sent dates ranging from the 50's to very early 70's.
So to answer your question, the archive had already been set up a number of years before, it's just that only a few people were in the know about it

Why do they not take care of the images themselves?

I have two points on this question and these again are my personal views.
1, I feel that military should had kept control of the imagery, there was a way in which non-military personnel could had contacted the archive and for a fee obtained imagery in various formats.
2. Keele has a big problem - funds, the archive is only a small part of the whole University and they are all fighting to obtain monies for one thing or another. and the archive was hoping and still is, to obtain a good return from 'Joe Public' when they buy the imagery.

Why is only one person in charge of handling an impossible task?

I think this can be down to my last answer - money.

Why does NA put up with the situation?

I do not think it is a case of 'putting up with the situation' I do not think that the NA could store or even control the amount of imagery at their location. I feel that Keele only took this task on so that in the future they would receive a nice return from the sales of imagery and this could have been put back into the University.

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 29 Aug 2006 23:35

The problems at TARA are frustrating to say the least but there gross lack of communication is inexcusable. Somebody needs to get something on there website explaining the situation. At least this will stop the snowball of frustration gathering size and speed.

One wonders if they have applied for lottery funding or asked any wealthy donors for help.

Regards

Andy H

Henry Hatt
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Post by Henry Hatt » 30 Aug 2006 13:12

@Matzos
thanks for your effort, but this does not excuse anything at all.

Why would the NA not be able to handle the photographs themselves?
National Archives in countries around the globe handle photographs themselves and they also handle millions of them

I see it like that:
The public has the RIGHT to see these images and to obtain copies. It is a matter of the FOI.

If public records (and these photographs are just like public records) are kept away from the public for so many years, I consider it "a crime".
Sorry for my hard standpoint.

Sincerely
Henry Hatt

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Matzos
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Post by Matzos » 31 Aug 2006 11:16

Henry Hatt wrote:@Matzos
thanks for your effort, but this does not excuse anything at all.

Why would the NA not be able to handle the photographs themselves?
National Archives in countries around the globe handle photographs themselves and they also handle millions of them

I see it like that:
The public has the RIGHT to see these images and to obtain copies. It is a matter of the FOI.

If public records (and these photographs are just like public records) are kept away from the public for so many years, I consider it "a crime".
Sorry for my hard standpoint.

Sincerely
Henry Hatt


Henry

I totally agree with all you have said, if an item is public record then the public should have the right to see that record.
As I was saying before, when the military had control of the imagery, there was away in which the public could search and then obtain imagery from the archive.

I do not think that NA could house all the imagery that Keele hold at this present time. It is my understanding and I could well be wrong on this, is that NA is more a document archive. I hope that NA does take over the control of the archive, putting it's own people in there.

I have just heard that the problem with the archive obtaining the microfilm tapes has now been overcome and they are in the process of dispatching, again I unsure if this is to Keele or to NA. I will keep my ear to the ground as they say.

pey
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Post by pey » 31 Aug 2006 22:07

What about passing the images to something like Google Earth?
It would be so nice to be able to fly over the WWII-time earth, and the datas would be there for everybody...
I think it could really be a useful way to let the world use the datas in the photoarchive adding a time button to google earth... but it's my dream!

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dabbydo
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Post by dabbydo » 04 Sep 2006 00:20

I need professional help :)
I have a photo taken on 18 April, 1945 of fliegerhorst Memmingerberg, outside the city of Memmingen. It is a very detailed photo with analysis comments written on it , aircraft locations, repairs, etc. I need to know if it is legal to post it on the forum. I got it from the Luftwaffe photo section while I was stationed there in the 1980's. They have the original glass negative so they made me a copy. I lost the picture but still have the negative and I took it to a photo shop so they can scan it and make me a new picture.
You can see the airfield today on Google. Just enter "memmingerberg", and then go to "images". The airfield was built in 1935-36 and was home to pre war KG51, III .
He111 and Me110 were there as well as other aircraft. The airfield was shut down in 2004 and is being converted to civilian use now. I would love to share the photo on the forum, as I don't think anyone owns it, but I want to be sure it's O.K. to post.

Thanks in advance,

David :)

JonS
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Post by JonS » 04 Sep 2006 01:51

Matzos wrote:... if an item is public record then the public should have the right to see that record.

Not quite. If an item is public record in country x, then the people of counry x should have the right to see that record.

Foreigners have no rights whatsoever in this regard.

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Post by Andreas » 04 Sep 2006 08:29

dabbydo wrote:I need professional help :)
I have a photo taken on 18 April, 1945 of fliegerhorst Memmingerberg, outside the city of Memmingen. It is a very detailed photo with analysis comments written on it , aircraft locations, repairs, etc. I need to know if it is legal to post it on the forum. I got it from the Luftwaffe photo section while I was stationed there in the 1980's. They have the original glass negative so they made me a copy. I lost the picture but still have the negative and I took it to a photo shop so they can scan it and make me a new picture.
You can see the airfield today on Google. Just enter "memmingerberg", and then go to "images". The airfield was built in 1935-36 and was home to pre war KG51, III .
He111 and Me110 were there as well as other aircraft. The airfield was shut down in 2004 and is being converted to civilian use now. I would love to share the photo on the forum, as I don't think anyone owns it, but I want to be sure it's O.K. to post.

Thanks in advance,

David :)


That brings back (not so) fond memories. I was stationed there at JaboG 34's Sicherungsstaffel 'S' (yep, you get an interesting abbreviation out of that), the nuclear weapons security company, in 89.

I think there is no problem posting the picture here as far as we are concerned.

All the best

Andreas

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dabbydo
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Post by dabbydo » 04 Sep 2006 13:03

Thanks Andreas!

I'll be getting the picture back this week, then post it on the forum.

Thanks again, I knew someone would be able to answer!

David :D

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dabbydo
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Post by dabbydo » 08 Sep 2006 00:23

Is there a good site or book on aerial photos from WW2 in Europe? TARA and NA aren't much help, as you already know. I'm looking for post strike pictures, etc, with comments from the analysts that processed the intel?

And Andreas, I have an old S-Staffel patch I brought home as a souvenir but I'll let you have it if you want..... :roll:

Thanks,

David

JonS
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Post by JonS » 08 Sep 2006 00:35

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157145 ... NMCH4KKX6U

There is a further book reccomendation in the reader review.

Hallions books on air power in WWI include a reasonable number of aerial recce shots, but it isn't the prime focus of the book.

There is also a book, released about ?1950? specifically on the work of the RAF APIs. IIRC, it was written by a WAAF who worked as an API.

Edit: Found it:
Author: Babington-Smith, Constance
Title: Evidence in camera; the story of photographic intelligence in the second World War. With a foreword by ... Lord Tedder
Published: [Harmondsworth] Penguin Books [1961]

http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Camera-P ... F8&s=books

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dabbydo
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Post by dabbydo » 08 Sep 2006 10:07

Thank you, Jon!

David :D .

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