Flying Officer Constance Babington Smith MBE

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by The Aviator, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. The Aviator

    The Aviator Discharged

    This post is dedicated to Flight Officer Constance Babington-Smith,WAAF, the British photo interpreter who. first discovered the V rockets at Peenemunde on imagery. ...

    In most World War II operations photographic reconnaissance played a greater or lesser part, but in no other major operation was that part so complete or all embracing as in the battle against the flying bomb. To Photographic Reconnaissance and Intelligence fell the task, first of identifying the weapons with which the Allies had to contend and then of directing the necessary counter measures.
    Very early in 1943, ground intelligence indicated that secret experimental work was in hand at Peenemunde. Photographic reconnaissance proved this to be true.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    An essential part of the battle for photographic reconnaissance and intelligence was the location of manufacture, supply and storage depots for the flying bombs. As all dumps were situated underground in an effort to escape bombing, ground information generally led to the discovery of such sites. Photographic cover was ceaselessly being searched to prove and disprove such reports. A typical storage site was that at St. Leu D’esserent where old mushroom caves were taken over, enlarged and entrances fortified by steel and concrete doors. Invaluable information was gathered by low flying pilots who took remarkable obliques showing the amount of overhang over tunnels and other technical data necessary for the best bombing results.

    As depicted in the very fine British movie production in 1965. Operation Crossbow.

    Babington Smith was a pioneer in the craft of
    aircraft and photographic interpretation,
    greatly expanding the usefulness of analytic
    interpretation. One of Babington Smith’s most
    celebrated discoveries during World War II
    was her identification of an unidentified,
    pilotless aircraft at Peenemunde, a major
    German army rocket research center on the Baltic coast. Her discovery led to the air campaigns that disrupted
    German plans for the mass launch of V1 and V2 rockets against the Allies. In the summer of 1945, after Germany surrendered, she came to the United States and assisted in the war against Japan.
    The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA),
    Washington, D.C., Navy Yard facility, honored Flight Officer
    Constance Babington Smith MBE by naming the facility's
    Analysis Fusion Cell after her. Standing in front of a World War
    II photo of Constance Babington Smith is: (left to right) Air
    Commodore Martin R. Hallam RAF, Chief Executive, Defence
    Geographic and Imagery Intelligence Agency; Mr. James
    Babington Smith, nephew; and Lieutenant General James R.
    Clapper,Jr., USAF (Ret.), Director, NGA.
    After the end of World War II, Babington Smith never lost her interest or enthusiasm for imagery intelligence.
    She worked as a researcher for Life magazine and also wrote Evidence in Camera, originally published as Air
    Spy: The Story of Photo Intelligence in World War II.
    Constance Babington Smith died July 31, 2000 at 87.
















    © Keele University 2004
     

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  2. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I remember reading about her. Just goes to show that war is not fought just on the battle field.
     
  3. The Aviator

    The Aviator Discharged

    I say! Damned fine observation old chap.
     
  4. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Excellent post sir and a remarkable lady indeed!
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  6. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Forgot to say, great work and info.
     
  7. The Aviator

    The Aviator Discharged

    Cheers old bean.
    In fact I searched the net for a whole hour for a photo of her to add to the post before giving up.
    If anyone could find one I'd gratefully add it.
    Tally Ho!
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I don't read Polish but this may well be her:
    [​IMG]

    Wonder if she's the same person that appears to have written a biography of John masefield? Odd that he'd crop up twice in a week here.

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  9. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Here you go.
     

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  10. The Aviator

    The Aviator Discharged

    Nice one VP, I say well done. Also many thanks old bean.
    I have added it into the post. Pretty lady what?
    Cherio chaps!
     
  11. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    On topic of photo interpretation the comedic poet Pam Ayres was in RAF and given that job
     

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