Can you guess the history behind this picture?


05 September 2023
It’s a bit of a grainy picture, isn’t it? Not so special… That’s what I thought too when I first glimpsed it on, writes Family Tree editor Helen Tovey...

I came across it while researching imagery to accompany a fascinating article about the lighthouse and the people of Flamborough Head (in the October 2023 issue of Family Tree), and I nearly just scooted on by in search of better pictures. But the caption ‘Neuer Leichtturm a’ – caught my eye. Why the German?

It turns out that this was ‘View 9’ of Flamborough Head, taken by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) – aka the Nazi German Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

This rather blurry image of the much-loved lighthouse at Flamborough was just one image of the 1,500 photographs taken by the German military in preparation for Operation Sea Lion – the planned Nazi invasion of England and Wales early in the Second World War. Fortunately, of course, no such invasion went on to take place.

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Picture research, to help illustrate the fascinating articles in Family Tree, is definitely one of the fun bits of the job – and one that never fails to surprise too. If you’ve found a picture, in the course of doing your research, we would love to hear.