Our aeroplanes making a flight over the German lines to take observation of the enemy's movements
British plane on a reconnaissance flight, in France, during World War I. This exciting and innovative photograph shows another British biplane on a reconnaissance flight high over German territory. Such is the altitude of these two planes that the fields on the ground resemble squares in a patchwork quilt. However, roads can clearly be identified cutting across these fields. RAF markings can be spotted on the fuselage, wings and tail of the biplane (which looks like a Bristol F-2), while the blurry revolutions of the planes propeller can also be seen.
The main danger posed to these planes as they carried out their duties would have come from German fighters and anti-aircraft fire. While British anti-aircraft units belonged to the navy or an army artillery section, the Germans had formed the Army Air Service with the specific aim of shooting down enemy planes. As the speed and firepower of planes increased, however, both sides quickly realised that the most effective way of guarding against air raids was by using your own fighter planes.
[Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Our aeroplanes making a flight over the German lines to take observation of the enemy's movements.']