British photographic intelligence during the Second World War: a study of Operation Crossbow.
Williams, Allan Robert
In 2013 the candidate published Operation Crossbow: The Untold Story of Photographic Intelligence and the Search for Hitler’s V Weapons. Through a detailed examination of the relevant primary sources – including aerial photography recently released to the National Collection of Aerial Photography in Edinburgh - this book investigates the role of British photographic interpretation in the hunt for German V-weapons during Operation Crossbow. In so doing, it provides a wealth of information on such matters as the wartime development of photographic interpretation, the techniques used by the interpreters, the personalities involved, the significance of photographic intelligence to the operation, and the wider politics of wartime intelligence. In particular, it contests some of the claims made by R. V. Jones in his memoir, Most Secret War (1978), about the role of photographic interpretation in the Crossbow investigation. It also demonstrates the wider importance of photographic intelligence in the British military history of the war and offers some explanation as to why this has become a ‘missing dimension’ of wartime intelligence studies. The critical review seeks to provide an academic superstructure for the book, which was intended for a general readership, and demonstrates that the research included therein is commensurate with that required for a PhD.