Second World War aerial photos of Greater Manchester show Man Utd's bomb-damaged Old Trafford
The photos are part of a 20,000 piece archive collection held by Historic England
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A photo collection of aerial photos taken of the UK during the Second World War have been opened to the public for the first time. The collection, numbering 20,000, includes several photos of Greater Manchester.
Amongst the collection are photos of a bomb-damaged Old Trafford football ground and glimpses of the Manchester ship canals. The photos were taken by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) reconnaissance aircraft that flew hundreds of sorties over England during the war.
There are three photos showing the Greater Manchester area during the war. One of these shows the Manchester ship canals, Salford docks and Old Trafford in one shot. Manchester was targeted by German bombers for its industrial strength and as a result, bombing raids were carried out by the Luftwaffe on the city.
Another photo within the archive shows the Stockport area of Greater Manchester in 1944. In the bottom right of the shot is the area where, on Christmas Eve 1944, a V-1 flying bomb which was aimed at Manchester landed and exploded in the Addswood area of Stockport. One person was sadly killed.
The third and final of the photos showing the region is a slightly more zoomed in shot which captures both Old Trafford football and cricket grounds as well as The White City Stadium. The football ground was damaged by a bomb during the war and was not used again until 1949, in this photo showing the three grounds it’s possible to see damage to one of the stands.
The USAAF in England
The USAAF and RAF worked in joint bombing missions to destroy key locations in Nazi Germany, and thousands of missions were launched from airfields across the country.
The USAAF’s first heavy bombing raid launched from England in August 1942. Over a dozen B-17 bombers took off from an RAF base in Northamptonshire to attack a target in Nazi-occupied France.
Few photos of northern England were taken by the USAAF. The few photos of Greater Manchester give an indication of how the landscape looked and how it was affected by the conflict.
The vast collection of photos taken by the USAAF during the Second World War can be viewed online. To check it out, visit the Historic England website.