The unseen photographs that throw new light on the First World War

The place, according to a jokingly chalked board, is "somewhere in France". The time is the winter of 1915 and the spring and summer of 1916. Hundreds of thousands of British and Empire soldiers, are preparing for The Big Push, the biggest British offensive of the 1914-18 war to date. A local French photographer, almost certainly an amateur, possibly a farmer, has offered to take pictures for a few francs. Soldiers have queued to have a photograph taken to send back to their anxious but proud families in Britain or Australia or New Zealand.

Sometimes, the Tommies are snapped individually in front of the same battered door or in a pear and apple orchard. Sometimes they are photographed on horseback or in groups of comrades. A pretty six-year-old girl ? the photographer’s daughter? ? occasionally stands with the soldiers or sits on their knees: a reminder of their families, of human tenderness and of a time when there was no war.


This is a 1912 Zenith Gradua 770cc. Zenith’s were made in Finsbury Park in London from 1904 until the 1950s

?If you had an ancestor in the First World War and can identify any of these people, or are just interested in history–please check out this site.

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