IMAGE SOURCE,HISTORIC ENGLAND ARCHIVE/USAAF P
Image caption,This view of Salford includes landmarks like the Manchester Ship Canal and Salford Docks. Bottom-right are Old Trafford football and cricket grounds and White City stadium

A collection of photographs taken during World War Two have been opened to the public for the first time.


The aerial images were taken by the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) Photographic Reconnaissance units while stationed at bases across England in 1943 and 1944.


The 3,600 photographs offer a birds-eye view of the country as it changed during the war.


This includes bomb damage to towns and cities as well as Old Trafford football stadium in Greater Manchester.

Not improved much since


IMAGE SOURCE,HISTORIC ENGLAND ARCHIVE/USAAF P
Image caption,A photograph captures the damage to Old Trafford football ground

Damage to the main stand of the football ground can be seen in the photo, after it was hit in a bombing raid in March 1941.


The home of Manchester United was not used again for football until 1949.


They also captured ancient monuments surrounded by anti-tank defences in West Sussex, such as Cissbury Ring Iron Age hillfort in Worthing where ditches and concrete cubes can be seen laid out to impede an enemy advance.


There is also a low-level photograph showing part of a US Army camp in Wiltshire which shows firing ranges in the foreground while troops play a game of baseball in a recreation field in the top left of the image.


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Image caption,A shot of a US Army camp on the outskirts of Devizes, taken on 30 April 1944

The collection has been made available to the public for the first time in an online, searchable map on the Historic England Archive.


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Image caption,This image of Newbury Racecourse, which was was used as a marshalling yard, shows rows of containers of military equipment

IMAGE SOURCE,USAAF PHOTOGRAPHY
Image caption,One photograph captures Eighth Air Force B-17 bombers flying over The Brecks area of Norfolk

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Image caption,RAF Grafton Underwood (USAAF Station 106), Northamptonshire, 22 April 1944. The USAAF's first heavy bomber mission of the Second World War was flown from here on 17 August 1942

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Image caption,The shadows of USAAF bomber aircraft in flight dot the fields at RAF Watton (USAAF Station 376), Norfolk, 27 May 1944

IMAGE SOURCE,HISTORIC ENGLAND ARCHIVE/USAAF P
Image caption,Detail showing the extended runways and dispersal areas of RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex, on 25 January 1944. The dark lines along the runway may indicate where FIDO (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) pipelines were ignited.

IMAGE SOURCE,HISTORIC ENGLAND ARCHIVE/USAAF P
Image caption,Taken by the port side oblique camera, this photo captures the flight of RAF PR Mosquito PR Mk IX, MM247 over Brill in Buckinghamshire on 24 December 1943. The following April, MM247 was lost whilst on a PR mission over the Peenemünde Army Research Centre on the Baltic coast of Germany

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said the collection recorded "changes taking place in England" as well as "capturing fascinating incidental detail, like American troops playing baseball".


"Our collection of USAAF wartime photographs were taken in England by the pilots and aircraft of squadrons that provided intelligence for the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany," he said.


"This came at a cost, with many pilots killed in the line of duty.


"We are making these images available to the public for the first time online, giving people access to this remarkable collection of historic photographs."

World War Two aerial photos opened to public for first time - BBC News