Spies in the Sky: The Secret Battle for Aerial Intelligence During World War II

Author(s): Taylor Downing

Military History

SPIES IN THE SKY is the thrilling, little-known story of the partner organisation to the famous code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park. It is the story of the daring reconnaissance pilots who took aerial photographs over Occupied Europe during the most dangerous days of the Second World War, and of the photo interpreters who invented a completely new science to analyse those pictures. They were inventive and ingenious; they pioneered the development of 3D photography and their work provided vital intelligence throughout the war. With a whole host of colourful characters at its heart, from the legendary pilot Adrian 'Warby' Warburton, who went missing while on a mission, to photo interpreters Glyn Daniel, later a famous television personality, and Winston Churchill's daughter, Sarah, SPIES IN THE SKY is compelling reading and the first full account of the story of aerial photography and the intelligence gleaned from it in nearly fifty years.


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Available now in paperback, this is the thrilling story of the brains behind those who helped Britain win WW2. A sister story to Bletchley Park and Enigma.

Shortlisted for Duke of Westminster's Medal for Military Literature 2012.

Spies in the Sky fills in a huge gap in Second World War historiography in both an exciting and intellectually stimulating way. No-one will be able to write a history of the conflict again without giving Medmenham its central role in Allied Intelligence-gathering. -- Andrew Roberts, Author Of The Storm Of War A fascinating read and a significant contribution to the history of World War Two. The code-breakers of Bletchley have become internationally renowned. Now Taylor Downing tells the unsung story of the photo-analysts of Medmenham and the heroic pilots in the skyplanes, putting them back where they belong - at the heart of Britain's secret war. Professor David Reynolds, author of In Command of History Taylor Downing's brilliant research has created a ripping yarn. Kevin Wilson, Sunday Express Spies in the Sky combines the breathless courage of pilots ... with the mild eccentricity of RAF Medmenham. There's a diverting cast of characters, from Winston Churchill's daughter Sarah to the young matinee idol-to-be Dirk Bogarde, and there's a beguiling account of the way in which the maverick pilot Sidney Cotton ... fought the brass-hats in Whitehall. Sinclair McKay, Daily Telegraph Spies in the Sky gives a new perspective to some of the most famous moments of the conflict. Robert McCrum, Observer

Taylor Downing was educated at Cambridge and went on to become Managing Director and Head of History at Flashback Television.

General Fields

  • : 9780349123400
  • : Little, Brown Book Group
  • : Abacus
  • : 0.346
  • : June 2012
  • : 224mm X 125mm X 27mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : October 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Taylor Downing
  • : Paperback
  • : 940.5485
  • : 416
  • : Section: 16, b/w photos