I have compiled a list of useful resources that will help any budding military historian or amateur archaeologist. One great first step to take is download and install Google Earth Pro (for free) to access some fantastic aerial imagery of the UK and Ireland, and then download and import the Defence of Britain overlay from the Pillbox Study Group. This incredible database will overlay all known (primarily) WW2 sites across the UK, and their last known condition. Other than that, you’re on your own to research and explore. Good luck, and stay safe.
The Defence of East Sussex Project
Primarily focussed on the second world war anti-invasion defences in East Sussex, this website by Peter Hibbs is an enthusiast run website primarily undertaking original research into wartime pillboxes and defences.
Royal Observer Corps Association
The web page of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) association with some useful historic articles and information.
RAF Museum - Archive of airfield plans
The Museum has over 2000 site plans of airfields and non-flying stations in the United Kingdom and abroad. However, it is not possible to supply lists of the complete collection or list plans by geographical region. If you can let us know the site in which you are interested we will check our holdings, but we are unable to undertake lengthy research for enquirers.
PRONI Historical Maps
A surprisingly useful resource from PRONI, their historical maps site gives us access to digitised and historic Ordnance Survey maps and current aerial photographs of Northern Ireland.
The online catalogue of the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, based in the Titanic Quarter. Belfast.
Pillbox Study Group
The PSG is the largest amateur organisation promoting the research and preservation of second world war pillboxes and defensive structures. They host the Defence of Britain database from their website.
National Archives Discovery Catalogue
National Archives Discovery Catalogue, with thousands of digitised archive items online to view instantly (account required) or to order for viewing at the NA at Kew.
Military Library Research Service
MLRS is a website that specialises in primary source material and accounts which are assembled from such sources. They also publish new titles of specific interest in the field of military history and military genealogy. All documents are downloaded from their website and paid by PayPal.
Military Archives Ireland - Images
Military Archives hold approximately 40,000 digital image’s. This photograph gallery is designed to exhibit these images while also allowing the viewer to create an online user account to submit his/her electronic images to Military Archives for hosting in this gallery.
Irish Military Archives – Maps, Plans and Drawings
Irish Military Archives – Maps, Plans and Drawings
Irish Independent Photo Archive
The Independent Archives consists of glass plates, plastic negatives and a small number of prints dating from the 1900s to the present day which offer the public a front-row seat to Ireland’s past.
Historic England - Image search
Historic England hold a large digital archive of historic photographs available to view online, from the archive in Swindow or to download.
Extended Defence of Britain Project
A browser based map displaying second world war structures that have been recoded in the last 20 years as part of the Defence of Britain (DOB) project and the extension. The database is maintained by Steve Thompson from the Pillbox Study Group and this website is hosted by Matt Aldred.
Defence of Britain Archive
The original Defence of Britain Archive from 2002, sponsored by the Council for British Archaeology.
Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN)
The CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) Web site contains information and source material on ‘the Troubles’ and politics in Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present. There is also some material on society in the region.
Chris is an experienced archaeologist who specialises in second world war heritage. His page aims to promote the field of Second World War defences on the Home Front; allowing others to research, record and interpret surviving Second World War remains in the UK.
BT Digital Archives
A great resource of images and documents from British Telecom from the early 20th Century until the early 1980s.
British Resistance Archive
The British Resistance Archive website at www.staybehinds.com is maintained by the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) to share their research about the Auxiliary Units of the Second World War, sometimes known as Churchill’s Secret Army.
Britain from Above
Britain from Above is an online resource of thousands of low level historic aerial photographs covering large parts of the UK and Ireland. Images are free to download and use, with an account, for educational and research purposes.
American Air Museum in Britain
The American Air Museum website records the stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) who served their country from the UK in the Second World War. It also records the memories of the British people who befriended them.
Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust
The UK’s charitable trust dedicated to the preservation and education about our airfields. There are sections containing some great educational resources.