CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, March 20, 2017



FRENCH, GERMANS, BRITISH BEHIND THE LINES IN WWI

Some 1.3million French soldiers were killed in the war from 1914 to 1918, while 4.2million more were wounded.
One in 20 people in France lost their lives, with more than half of those mobilised either killed or wounded.
The photographs also reveal the blue-grey uniforms worn by French soldiers, a colour known as 'horizon blue'.
This colour replaced the infamous red trousers once worn and was said to have blended in with the horizon.
The first year of the war was the bloodiest for the French Army with an average of 2,200 deaths per day.
Some 27,000 died in 1914 at the Battle of Charleroi while the 1915 Artois Offensive had 300,000 casualties.
Men from the French 204th Infantry Regiment, 55th Infantry eat soup at Bois des Buttes in September 17, 1917. The area was famous for the Battle of Bois des Buttes in May 1918 which saw the Devonshire Regiment's heroic actions against the Germans
Men from the French 204th Infantry Regiment, 55th Infantry eat soup at Bois des Buttes in September 17, 1917. The area was famous for the Battle of Bois des Buttes in May 1918 which saw the Devonshire Regiment's heroic actions against the Germans
A regiment returns to Clermont en Argonne from the trenches in July 17, 1915, after fighting in the Battle of the ArgonnDuring the German attack, the French losses are huge. For example, the 4th Infantry Regiment lost 26 officers and 1,341 men during this period
A regiment returns to Clermont en Argonne from the trenches in July 17, 1915, after fighting in the Battle of the Argonne. The French losses were huge during the German attack, with 26 officers and 1,341 men being lost from the 4th Infantry Regiment
The phrase 'Cooperative des Portes de Fer' means 'Cooperative canteen of the Iron Gates', which is a reference to the 161th Infantry Regiment surname  of 'Regiment des Portes de Fer'. This regiment surname was given during the last phase of the Battle of the Somme in October to November 1916. It was the name of a German trench, called Iron Gates trench, in a very strong position in the sector of Rancourt and Sailly-Saillisel - captured by the men of the French 161th Infantry Regiment
The phrase 'Cooperative des Portes de Fer' means 'Cooperative canteen of the Iron Gates', which is a reference to the 161th Infantry Regiment surname  of 'Regiment des Portes de Fer'. This regiment surname was given during the last phase of the Battle of the Somme in October to November 1916. It was the name of a German trench, called Iron Gates trench, in a very strong position in the sector of Rancourt and Sailly-Saillisel - captured by the men of the French 161th Infantry Regiment
French soldiers look out from the Mingasson trench on February 12, 1917, near Bimont Farm, south of the Bois Saint-Mard. One in 20 people in France lost their lives during the war, with more than half of those mobilised either killed or wounded
French soldiers look out from the Mingasson trench on February 12, 1917, near Bimont Farm, south of the Bois Saint-Mard. One in 20 people in France lost their lives during the war, with more than half of those mobilised either killed or wounded
Canadian officers inspect in a large French gun mounted on a railroad in October 1917, in one of a series of startling images from the First World War which have been brought to life after being colourised by graphic artist Frédéric Duriez
Canadian officers inspect in a large French gun mounted on a railroad in October 1917, in one of a series of startling images from the First World War which have been brought to life after being colourised by graphic artist Frédéric Duriez
French soldiers remove the body of fallen soldier on a stretcher from conquered ground at Cote 304 - which was the location of the Battle of Cote 304 during the Battle of Verdun - on August 25, 1917
French soldiers remove the body of fallen soldier on a stretcher from conquered ground at Cote 304 - which was the location of the Battle of Cote 304 during the Battle of Verdun - on August 25, 1917
French soldiers eat soup at a police station in Neuvilly on December 7, 1915. Their blue-grey uniforms - in a colour known as 'horizon blue' - are dirty after a period of six days of incessant rains which had overwhelmed their trenches
French soldiers eat soup at a police station in Neuvilly on December 7, 1915. Their blue-grey uniforms - in a colour known as 'horizon blue' - are dirty after a period of six days of incessant rains which had overwhelmed their trenches
French troops returning from Fort de Vaux in Vaux-Devant-Damloup, Meuse, to the area of Nixèville on April 8, 1916, in one of a stunning series of colourised photographs that capture life as a soldier during the First World War of 1914 to 1918
French troops returning from Fort de Vaux in Vaux-Devant-Damloup, Meuse, to the area of Nixèville on April 8, 1916, in one of a stunning series of colourised photographs that capture life as a soldier during the First World War of 1914 to 1918
After fighting during the Battle of Verdun in 1916, soldiers surrounded the bodies of their comrades. Verdun was the longest battle of the First World War, lasting 300 days and leaving an estimated 800,000 soldiers dead, wounded or missing
After fighting during the Battle of Verdun in 1916, soldiers surrounded the bodies of their comrades. Verdun was the longest battle of the First World War, lasting 300 days and leaving an estimated 800,000 soldiers dead, wounded or missing
Stretcher bearers take dead soldiers for burial on the battlefield near a farm in La Bourdonnerie, south of Chavenay in Marne on July 14, 1918. Some 1.3million French soldiers were killed during the First World War from 1914 to 1918
Stretcher bearers take dead soldiers for burial on the battlefield near a farm in La Bourdonnerie, south of Chavenay in Marne on July 14, 1918. Some 1.3million French soldiers were killed during the First World War from 1914 to 1918

A wounded French soldier arrives at first aid station Shelter MF3 on a stretcher, covered in blood. The first year of the First World War was the bloodiest for the French Army with an average of 2,200 deaths per day
A wounded French soldier arrives at first aid station Shelter MF3 on a stretcher, covered in blood. The first year of the First World War was the bloodiest for the French Army with an average of 2,200 deaths per day
A French soldier tries on a German gas mask found on the ground at 'Wood of the Caillette' in 1916. The photographs reveal the blue-grey uniforms worn by French soldiers, a colour known as 'horizon blue'. This replaced the infamous red trousers
A French soldier tries on a German gas mask found on the ground at 'Wood of the Caillette' in 1916. The photographs reveal the blue-grey uniforms worn by French soldiers, a colour known as 'horizon blue'. This replaced the infamous red trousers
French and British soldiers stand around a German A7V tank captured at Villers-Brettoneux in May 1918. The French artillery fired more than 330,000,000 shells during the First World War, which is more than 210,000 rounds each day
French and British soldiers stand around a German A7V tank captured at Villers-Brettoneux in May 1918. The French artillery fired more than 330,000,000 shells during the First World War, which is more than 210,000 rounds each day
A French soldier lies dead after being killed while he ate at Bois de Spandau in north-east Bois Sabot on October 27, 1915. In the same year between May 9 and June 18, the Artois Offensive cost 300,000 French lives and wounded men
A French soldier lies dead after being killed while he ate at Bois de Spandau in north-east Bois Sabot on October 27, 1915. In the same year between May 9 and June 18, the Artois Offensive cost 300,000 French lives and wounded men
A French trench at Bois St Eloi in the Somme on October 28, 1916. In the background, German accessory defences are seen. More than a third of French soldiers (36 per cent) aged between 19 and 22 were killed during the First World War
A French trench at Bois St Eloi in the Somme on October 28, 1916. In the background, German accessory defences are seen. More than a third of French soldiers (36 per cent) aged between 19 and 22 were killed during the First World War
French Senegalese troops get acquainted with their new gas masks. Gas masks were made and used during the First World War because of poison gas attacks that surprised the Allies in the trenches on the Western Front 
French Senegalese troops get acquainted with their new gas masks. Gas masks were made and used during the First World War because of poison gas attacks that surprised the Allies in the trenches on the Western Front 
French men who distinguished themselves in combat at Saint Folquin in northern France, including Fusilier Limbi
Maney, Moe and Jacques posing for the camera in their Turco uniforms. They later opened an automotive supply store with great success
French men who distinguished themselves in combat at Saint Folquin in northern France, including Fusilier Limbi and Fusilier Marin (left). Maney, Moe and Jacques (right) also pose, in their Turco uniforms. They later opened a car supply store
Soldiers from 28th Regiment stand in a trench at the Somme. The Battle between July and November 1916 symbolised the horrors of First World War warfare. The French lost 200,000 men while the British suffered 420,000 casualties
Soldiers from 28th Regiment stand in a trench at the Somme. The Battle between July and November 1916 symbolised the horrors of First World War warfare. The French lost 200,000 men while the British suffered 420,000 casualties
Soldiers do their laundry at the road of Vitry at Sainte Menehould on January 12, 1916
A sentry is posted inside Fort Vaux on November 22, 1916
Soldiers do their laundry at the road of Vitry at Sainte Menehould on January 12, 1916 (left) and a sentry is posted inside Fort Vaux - built after the Franco-Prussian War to help defend the area against future attacks - on November 22, 1916 (right)
The village of Souilly is crossed by La Voie Sacrée ('Sacred Way') which is a road that connects Bar-le-Duc to Verdun in France. The road was called 'La Route' at the time of the war, and was the main road supply artery used by the French Army
The village of Souilly is crossed by La Voie Sacrée ('Sacred Way') which is a road that connects Bar-le-Duc to Verdun in France. The road was called 'La Route' at the time of the war, and was the main road supply artery used by the French Army
French and American officers who took part in the reconquest of Cantigny stand in front of a Schneider French tank in May 1918. The armoured fighting vehicle is still viewed today as the first French tank, even though it was not turreted
French and American officers who took part in the reconquest of Cantigny stand in front of a Schneider French tank in May 1918. The armoured fighting vehicle is still viewed today as the first French tank, even though it was not turreted
French lines on the right bank of the Seille being held by the 150th Infantry Regiment, 5th Battalion in Port-sur-Seille, Meurthe-et-Moselle, in March 1918, in one of many First World War images colourised by graphic artist Frédéric Duriez
French lines on the right bank of the Seille being held by the 150th Infantry Regiment, 5th Battalion in Port-sur-Seille, Meurthe-et-Moselle, in March 1918, in one of many First World War images colourised by graphic artist Frédéric Duriez

Life in the GERMAN trenches of World War One: Fascinating images taken by medical officer from 1914 to 1918 reveal what it was like behind enemy lines 



  • Amazing set of photographs belonged to a medical officer called Robert Lichte who served in The Great War
  • He filled nine albums with snaps from the German trenches and the operating tables from behind enemy lines
  • They fell into the lap of PhD student Marius Moneth, 33, who considers the pictures a 'real historical treasure'
  • The pictures show the aftermath of various bombings, soldiers grooming in the trenches and medical care


Fascinating photographs taken by a German officer through the First World War have lifted the lid on what life was like behind enemy lines. 
The collection belonged to medical officer Robert Lichte, who filled nine albums with snaps from the German trenches and the operating table. 
They fell into the lap of PhD student Marius Moneth, 33, from Düsseldorf, who considers the pictures a 'real historical treasure' capturing a unique insight to the war from a German soldier's point of view.
A group of soldiers in front of a well-fortified light bunker. One soldier is getting his face groomed by a comrade in what became known as the morning shave as an officer sits barefoot in the foreground in the image titled 'Life in the Trench'
A group of soldiers in front of a well-fortified light bunker. One soldier is getting his face groomed by a comrade in what became known as the morning shave as an officer sits barefoot in the foreground in the image titled 'Life in the Trench'
A medical team work on a patient who appears to have a wound on his chest in a rare photograph taken in a restricted area. Marius Moneth, who inherited the photographs, believe this picture was staged as access to the operating theatre is usually prohibited for photographers and there are no gloves being worn nor any blood as you would expect to see during an operation
A medical team work on a patient who appears to have a wound on his chest in a rare photograph taken in a restricted area. Marius Moneth, who inherited the photographs, believe this picture was staged as access to the operating theatre is usually prohibited for photographers and there are no gloves being worn nor any blood as you would expect to see during an operation
A soldier sits in the debris of destroyed buildings at the edge of a huge crater. The walls of the buildings have crumbled and roofs fallen down in a scene synonymous with The Great War which ravaged Europe between July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918
A soldier sits in the debris of destroyed buildings at the edge of a huge crater. The walls of the buildings have crumbled and roofs fallen down in a scene synonymous with The Great War which ravaged Europe between July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918
Topless German soldiers hunt through their belonging for fleas in the infested trenches during the First World War. Fleas were a huge pest during the war and left troops with red and blotchy bite marks all over their bodies. The most effective way to get rid of them was burning the pests with a candle, but this usually resulted in soldiers burning their clothes, which is why many resorted to picking them out like this by hand
Topless German soldiers hunt through their belonging for fleas in the infested trenches during the First World War. Fleas were a huge pest during the war and left troops with red and blotchy bite marks all over their bodies. The most effective way to get rid of them was burning the pests with a candle, but this usually resulted in soldiers burning their clothes, which is why many resorted to picking them out like this by hand
A dog faces the camera and sits on top of bags of clothes as soldiers toil away in the laundry room which is overflowing. The First World War was the first major conflict where sanitation and hygiene was taken seriously amid fears of disease and illness spreading away from the battlefield. It was the first time an effort was made on both sides to provide soldiers with clean clothes
A dog faces the camera and sits on top of bags of clothes as soldiers toil away in the laundry room which is overflowing. The First World War was the first major conflict where sanitation and hygiene was taken seriously amid fears of disease and illness spreading away from the battlefield. It was the first time an effort was made on both sides to provide soldiers with clean clothes
'The convolute of Robert Lichte is special because he left behind eight photo albums and a postcard album,' said Mr Moneth, who studies at Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf.
'Normally a soldier leaves behind one or two of those albums, but he created nine of them. 
'I guess he created several of them to share with each family member. 
'You can discover tanks from the later course of the war, aircraft, guns and you can get an impression of the area behind enemy lines in his photos.'
A soldier poses stern-faced with a walking stick in the trenches (foreground) while a comrade smiles behind him, both standing next to a Char d'Assault Schneider (Schneider CA) Assault Tank which has been knocked onto its side
A soldier poses stern-faced with a walking stick in the trenches (foreground) while a comrade smiles behind him, both standing next to a Char d'Assault Schneider (Schneider CA) Assault Tank which has been knocked onto its side
An eerie photograph of soldiers and officers nursing their wounds in a crowded sick bay as medics stand over them. As well as treating injuries from shrapnel, falling debris and physical combat, sick bay would also have to keep an eye out for spreading disease. The flu was widespread among the troops fighting in Europe during The Great War
An eerie photograph of soldiers and officers nursing their wounds in a crowded sick bay as medics stand over them. As well as treating injuries from shrapnel, falling debris and physical combat, sick bay would also have to keep an eye out for spreading disease. The flu was widespread among the troops fighting in Europe during The Great War
Soldiers in the trenches in Keyem, Belgium, during the First World War as two gunmen point their weapons over their comrades' heads towards their enemies over the barren no man's land which has been ravaged by the battle. There is now a military cemetery at Keyem, where 590 soldiers have been laid to rest - 364 of them were never identified
Soldiers in the trenches in Keyem, Belgium, during the First World War as two gunmen point their weapons over their comrades' heads towards their enemies over the barren no man's land which has been ravaged by the battle. There is now a military cemetery at Keyem, where 590 soldiers have been laid to rest - 364 of them were never identified
The incredible set of photographs belonged to Robert Lichte (centre), pictured here with two other soldiers and their dogs. Lichte was a medical officer in The Great War. He and his comrades treated around 27million injured and sick soldiers during the battle. Of the 27million, only 5.7million were treated for wounds, the other 21.5million were treated for illnesses
The incredible set of photographs belonged to Robert Lichte (centre), pictured here with two other soldiers and their dogs. Lichte was a medical officer in The Great War. He and his comrades treated around 27million injured and sick soldiers during the battle. Of the 27million, only 5.7million were treated for wounds, the other 21.5million were treated for illnesses
Lichte's photos not only show life in the trenches and the destructive nature of the war, they also share his personal experiences.
One of the photos Mr Moneth uncovered from the collection was taken during an operation, which is rare as photographers were not permitted in medical areas.
This has led him to believe that the photograph could have been staged.
Mr Moneth said: 'While my family has a huge archive of private photographs from the War, I never encountered a picture showing an actual medical procedure.
'I was astonished, but then it deemed to me that the scene was staged to bring relatives closer to his everyday life as medical staff. 
'Photographers were usually not allowed in the medical area.'
The albums also has photo showing an area in Lille after an explosion destroyed a German ammunition camp on January 11, 1916, at 3.30am.
The incident killed 134 people, 104 of which were civilians and 30 were German soldiers, with about 290 being left injured.
Lichte's identity was uncovered from postcards in one of the albums, which included ones he both sent and received.
A picture of the aftermath of a bombing in an area of Lille on January 11, 1916, which hit at 3.30am. The huge explosion destroyed the German ammunition camp in Lille as well as 21 factories and 738 houses. The blast killed 134 people, of which 104 were civilians and 30 were German soldiers
A picture of the aftermath of a bombing in an area of Lille on January 11, 1916, which hit at 3.30am. The huge explosion destroyed the German ammunition camp in Lille as well as 21 factories and 738 houses. The blast killed 134 people, of which 104 were civilians and 30 were German soldiers
A huge procession of German soldiers walk into a town battered by bombings. The location of the town is unknown. In Britain, more than 5,000 bombs were dropped on towns, destroying homes and businesses and causing £1.5million in damage - around £156million in today's money
A huge procession of German soldiers walk into a town battered by bombings. The location of the town is unknown. In Britain, more than 5,000 bombs were dropped on towns, destroying homes and businesses and causing £1.5million in damage - around £156million in today's money
German plane with a pilot (left) who is believed to be with a prisoner of war. The aircraft number has since revealed the pilot was Hellmuth Riensberg. He flew a Pfalz D.III in Jasta 10 (Jagdstaffel). He died on January 18, 1918, at 10.30am in a crash right after a dogfight
German plane with a pilot (left) who is believed to be with a prisoner of war. The aircraft number has since revealed the pilot was Hellmuth Riensberg. He flew a Pfalz D.III in Jasta 10 (Jagdstaffel). He died on January 18, 1918, at 10.30am in a crash right after a dogfight
The medical team pose with their patient following a seemingly successful operation as one soldier (left) holds up a copy of a newspaper from Düsseldorf
The medical team pose with their patient following a seemingly successful operation as one soldier (left) holds up a copy of a newspaper from Düsseldorf
British prisoners of war marching with German guards after being captured in battle during the First World War. During the fierce battle, 10million people, servicemen or civilians, were captured and sent to detention camps
British prisoners of war marching with German guards after being captured in battle during the First World War. During the fierce battle, 10million people, servicemen or civilians, were captured and sent to detention camps
Seven soldiers stand in front of a downed plane as huge swathes of troops gather around the aircraft on in Lechin on August 24, 1915
Seven soldiers stand in front of a downed plane as huge swathes of troops gather around the aircraft on in Lechin on August 24, 1915
A solider is seen to by medical staff as he lies on a stretcher (bottom right) while two of his comrades are already loaded into the back of a cart
A solider is seen to by medical staff as he lies on a stretcher (bottom right) while two of his comrades are already loaded into the back of a cart
Mr Moneth said: 'Out of his photos and postcards, you can deduct that Robert Lichte survived the war. During the war he climbed the ranks from a corporal to non-commissioned medical officer.
'The information revealed Lichte held the rank of a non-commissioned medical officer in the 1st Company of the Infantry Regiment of Sparr No. 16, deployed on the 3rd West Front.
'His division was stationed at the major Battlezones like Reuve Chapelle and Verdun. In these battles, he got the Iron Cross II, which he embedded on one of his albums.'
Mr Moneth is now planning to turn Lichte's nine albums into a scientifically annotated photo book in both German and in English. 
Aerial view taken from a reconnaissance aircraft where a castle and its grounds can be seen at an unknown location 
Aerial view taken from a reconnaissance aircraft where a castle and its grounds can be seen at an unknown location 
Robert Lichte, who amassed the incredible set of photographs from the First World War, sits with the Iron Cross II
Robert Lichte, who amassed the incredible set of photographs from the First World War, sits with the Iron Cross II
Air reconnaissance photo of a train station taken during the First World War which claimed 17million deaths over four years
Air reconnaissance photo of a train station taken during the First World War which claimed 17million deaths over four years
A postcard featuring the owner of the set of images Robert Lichte. It reads 'With god for Emperor and Empire'
A postcard featuring the owner of the set of images Robert Lichte. It reads 'With god for Emperor and Empire'

Rare propaganda images show British WWI prisoners of war being treated well in German camps – so long as they liked herring! 



  • Hitherto-unseen or forgotten images were taken by German authorities who published an account of PoW life
  • Germany published a book showing it didn't mistreated prisoners and any harm was their own responsibility
  • Many of the images staged to give a false impression to the enemy of how well the POWs were being treated
  • Images of War: Allied POWs in German Hands 1914-1918, Rare Photographs

Rare German propaganda images showing Allied WW1 prisoners being treated well in prison camps have been unveiled in a new book.
One seemingly heart-warming and previously unpublished photograph shows a wounded British flyer being helped off the field by two German men, while another shows British prisoners locked behind tall metal gates somewhere in France.
Other images, which the Germans hoped would encourage Allied soldiers to surrender and help them win the Great War of 1914, show men at the Parchim Camp unveiling a memorial to those who wouldn't be returning home and one picture even shows young Russian child soldiers posing for the camera with hands placed proudly on their chests. 
In one of the images - many of which were staged - a British Flyer can be seen being aided by two German soldiers
In one of the images - many of which were staged - a British Flyer can be seen being aided by two German soldiers
This photograph shows a week's food and drink menu at the Giessen camp for Allied Prisoners of War, near Frankfurt
This photograph shows a week's food and drink menu at the Giessen camp for Allied Prisoners of War, near Frankfurt
British prisoners at Doberitz appear to be treated well - sitting together at a table as they enjoy their lunch 
British prisoners at Doberitz appear to be treated well - sitting together at a table as they enjoy their lunch 
The collection of images documenting the capture, travel to the camps and life and death in the camps have been revealed in the book, Images of War: Allied POWs in German Hands 1914-1918, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives by David Bilton.
'Treatment was often random but certain camps were noted for being more harsh than others,' said David.
'Officers had a much easier life and could not be punished in the same way as the ranks for fear of reprisals.
'Other ranks were beaten, murdered, starved, bayoneted, made to exist in appalling conditions as punishment.
'They were under-fed and sent to work in mines where conditions were brutal.'
Mr Bilton says that while conditions were harsh for many, the treatment of prisoners of war varied between camps.
'The book looks at the feelings a prisoner of war has initially and then looks at the journey to the camp and what could happen during that time,' he said.
'Life in camp is fully explored and the effects it had on the individual are also explored.
'The differing lives of other ranks and officers are contrasted and the treatment meted out by the Germans is explored. The book finishes with the differing ways in which men were repatriated.'
Scottish prisoners at Doberitz, pictured in 1914: Germany published a book showing that it had not mistreated the prisoners and that any harm that befell them was their own responsibility
Scottish prisoners at Doberitz, pictured in 1914: Germany published a book showing that it had not mistreated the prisoners and that any harm that befell them was their own responsibility
British soldiers taken during the March Offensive, 1918: The collection of images document the capture, travel to the camps and life and death in the camps
British soldiers taken during the March Offensive, 1918: The collection of images document the capture, travel to the camps and life and death in the camps
This photograph shows a funeral for a British Prisoner of War: During the war, the German authorities published a photographic account of PoW life 
This photograph shows a funeral for a British Prisoner of War: During the war, the German authorities published a photographic account of PoW life 
Men arriving home in December 1918: Many of the incredible images have been taken from hitherto-unseen or forgotten archives 
Men arriving home in December 1918: Many of the incredible images have been taken from hitherto-unseen or forgotten archives 
Graveside ceremony for British officer is attended by a German band, who march and play instruments throughout 
Graveside ceremony for British officer is attended by a German band, who march and play instruments throughout 
A propaganda coup showing vast numbers of prisoners being marched through Lille on their way to the station
A propaganda coup showing vast numbers of prisoners being marched through Lille on their way to the station
Around 2.4million soldiers were held by Germany during the war. In 1914, Germany captured more prisoners than Britain had and by 1915, Germany had more than a million prisoners of war. 
From 1917, Germany sent British soldiers to carry out forced labour on the Western front in perilous conditions.
'The Germans published at least two books about Allied prisoners of war, both of which were a complete whitewash,' said Mr Bilton.
'The Germans censored mail so only what they wanted to be known could be read.
'All the photos that were sent were similarly censored so a very rosy picture of Prisoner of War life was seen by the recipient.
'After the war, when each prisoner was debriefed the truth came out but little was done to punish those responsible.
'To pretend that prisoners were treated well was good propaganda for the neutral countries to show that the Germans were not the barbarians the Allies painted them as.
'They also hoped that if the reports were good, Allied soldiers would be prepared to surrender, ultimately leading to a German victory.'
  • Published by Pen & Sword, Images of War: Allied POWs in German Hands 1914-1918, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives by David Bilton is now available to buy here from the Mail Bookshop
From right to left: E. Monkman, 2/5th London; Dr David Goldenberg (Russian Colonel); Self (unknown RFC pilot); Dr I. Rubetski (Russian Captain) and I.P. Ivens, 14th Warwicks from Small Heath
From right to left: E. Monkman, 2/5th London; Dr David Goldenberg (Russian Colonel); Self (unknown RFC pilot); Dr I. Rubetski (Russian Captain) and I.P. Ivens, 14th Warwicks from Small Heath




SNIPERS OF WWI

While the Allies and Central Powers were locked in deadly conflict, fighting tooth-and-nail to inch ahead on the Western Front, a new silent menace crept onto the battlefields, as unsuspecting soldiers were picked off as they lined the trenches – the First World War had entered the dawn of the sniper.
Incredible photographs reveal the primitive equipment deadly Allied snipers were forced to work with during the harsh and unrelenting conditions of the Great War.
Sniping came of age during the First World War, having been an unrecognised skill since the Napoleonic Wars – and modern British sniper training is still based on the curriculum that was devised during the Great War.
Despite the primitive rifles employed, some even without optic sights, there are many great tales of supreme sharpshooting by Allied snipers.
Some of the best snipers were in the Commonwealth forces, and native Indian Canadians and Americans provided many of the highest scoring snipers.
Canadian Francis Pegahmaghbow, an Ojibwa, was credited with 358 Germans while Australian Billy Sing, who was part Chinese, accounted for as many as 200 Turkish soldiers on Gallipoli - and capable of hitting a man's head at 400 yards, he seldom missed a shot.
Sniping was also responsible for the belief that it was bad luck to light three cigarettes from the same match, as the flare can be seen from over a mile and a half away.
On average, it took a good sniper about the same length of time to draw a sight on the target and steady his aim, as it took to light two cigarettes - making the third man a potential target.
These incredible photographs follow the development of sniping from the early battles of 1914, through the trench fighting, renewed open warfare of 1918 and offensives at Gallipoli and Salonika and on the Eastern Front. 
 SLIDE ME 
A��British sniper poses for the camera, wearing full camouflage clothing. The only clue to his presence is the muzzle of his rifle, just visible above and slightly to the centre right of the photo (circled)
American snipers undergoing training with a British officer of the King's Royal rifles. They have made their own sniper hoods and one wears a partial Ghillie suit
American snipers undergoing training with a British officer of the King's Royal rifles. They have made their own sniper hoods and one wears a partial Ghillie suit
A typical British observation post with camouflaged box periscope. Snipers would sit and observe the enemy lines for hours, frequently not firing a shot. Unusual levels of activity would be noted and times and locations relating to map references carefully recorded
A typical British observation post with camouflaged box periscope. Snipers would sit and observe the enemy lines for hours, frequently not firing a shot. Unusual levels of activity would be noted and times and locations relating to map references carefully recorded
Captain K.W. Brewster of the Royal Fusiliers in early 1915 with a commercial Ross rifle. He has fitted what appears to be a German- manufactured telescopic sight
Captain K.W. Brewster of the Royal Fusiliers in early 1915 with a commercial Ross rifle. He has fitted what appears to be a German- manufactured telescopic sight

THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE DEAD: HOW THE THIRD MAN TO LIGHT HIS CIGARETTE WOULD BE KILLED 

The spectacular photographs are showcased in the book Sniping in the Great War by Martin Pegler, were he reveals that in WW1, three was the tragic number.
'Sniping was responsible for the belief that it was bad luck to light three cigarettes from the same match,' he said.
'This was based on fact, as the flare of a lighted match can be seen from over a mile and a half away.
'On average, it took a good sniper about the same length of time to draw a sight on the target and steady his aim, as it took to light two cigarettes. 
'Thus the third man would be a potential target.
'It was not until the end of WW1 that most Allied powers began to appreciate how important a sniper could be on the battlefield. They were vital for gathering information, and could act as forward observers for artillery units or even aircraft.' 
This German sniper caused much disruption at the crossroads near Bray in August 1918 but was subsequently shot through the neck by an Australian marksman
This German sniper caused much disruption at the crossroads near Bray in August 1918 but was subsequently shot through the neck by an Australian marksman
During the retreat of 1918, a German machine-gunner with light Maxim 08/15 works in conjunction with a sniper, who is using his scope to observe. The soldier at left is wearing the heavy body armour issued from spring 1917
During the retreat of 1918, a German machine-gunner with light Maxim 08/15 works in conjunction with a sniper, who is using his scope to observe. The soldier at left is wearing the heavy body armour issued from spring 1917
Snipers of the 20th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. The man on the left has a cut-down Ross, the others have SMLEs with PP or Aldis scopes
Snipers of the 20th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. The man on the left has a cut-down Ross, the others have SMLEs with PP or Aldis scopes
One of a series of photos taken by sniping officer, Capt. C.W.R. Knight of the Honourable Artillery Company, in Ypres, late 1915. It shows two of his sniper team in their barn. The rifle at centre is an SMLE with a PP scope. The sniper (left) holds binoculars and watches as his partner cleans his rifle
One of a series of photos taken by sniping officer, Capt. C.W.R. Knight of the Honourable Artillery Company, in Ypres, late 1915. It shows two of his sniper team in their barn. The rifle at centre is an SMLE with a PP scope. The sniper (left) holds binoculars and watches as his partner cleans his rifle
If there was one thing the German Army was not short of in 1914, it was sniper plates. This photo was taken on the Flanders front late in that year
If there was one thing the German Army was not short of in 1914, it was sniper plates. This photo was taken on the Flanders front late in that year
A neophyte British sniper wearing the simplest of camouflage, a sniper's hood. It would be ideal for sniping from a trench, when the rest of the body was protected from view
A neophyte British sniper wearing the simplest of camouflage, a sniper's hood. It would be ideal for sniping from a trench, when the rest of the body was protected from view
US Army snipers in full Ghillie suits advance across typical chalk Somme terrain. Their Springfield M1903 rifles are wrapped in Hessian and camouflage painted, but the scopes have been dismounted, probably to prevent damage while training
US Army snipers in full Ghillie suits advance across typical chalk Somme terrain. Their Springfield M1903 rifles are wrapped in Hessian and camouflage painted, but the scopes have been dismounted, probably to prevent damage while training
Austrian snipers using a commercial variant of the Mannlicher carbine. Although not a military pattern, it would nevertheless have been quite practical for sniping at moderate ranges
Austrian snipers using a commercial variant of the Mannlicher carbine. Although not a military pattern, it would nevertheless have been quite practical for sniping at moderate ranges
A French sniper with Lebel rifle and A.PX Mle. 1916 scope, with its long leather eye-cup, pictured in Tracy-le-Val, Oise, France in February 1917
A French sniper with Lebel rifle and A.PX Mle. 1916 scope, with its long leather eye-cup, pictured in Tracy-le-Val, Oise, France in February 1917
The Queen of the battlefield: A German Maxim 08 machine gun, in a bunker. These were prime targets for snipers, as evidenced by the armoured jacket
The Queen of the battlefield: A German Maxim 08 machine gun, in a bunker. These were prime targets for snipers, as evidenced by the armoured jacket
The first true snipers emerged during the American Civil War. Here, California Joeí (real name Truman Head) of the 1st US Regiment of Sharpshooters stands behind Colonel Hiram Berdan. Joe holds an M1859 Sharps rifle with double set triggers
The first true snipers emerged during the American Civil War. Here, California Joeí (real name Truman Head) of the 1st US Regiment of Sharpshooters stands behind Colonel Hiram Berdan. Joe holds an M1859 Sharps rifle with double set triggers
A captured and well camouflaged Turkish sniper. He was a lucky man, as most snipers were killed on the spot
A captured and well camouflaged Turkish sniper. He was a lucky man, as most snipers were killed on the spot
Sniper's lair: A British front-line sniper post with the sniper observing, albeit rather casually, indicating that there may not perhaps be much enemy sniper activity
Sniper's lair: A British front-line sniper post with the sniper observing, albeit rather casually, indicating that there may not perhaps be much enemy sniper activity
A sniper of the King's Own Regiment on Salonika, June 1916 holds his PP Co. equipped SMLE. Of greater interest however, are the rifles lying on the wall. The first and third have Galilean sights fitted, possibly of Lattey and Barnett types. These are the only evidence so far found of the combat use of these magnifying sight
A sniper of the King's Own Regiment on Salonika, June 1916 holds his PP Co. equipped SMLE. Of greater interest however, are the rifles lying on the wall. The first and third have Galilean sights fitted, possibly of Lattey and Barnett types. These are the only evidence so far found of the combat use of these magnifying sight
An observation section of the Lovat Scouts, with a couple of men of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry also in the ranks. Two big scout regiment observation telescopes on their tripod mounts are visible in the foreground
An observation section of the Lovat Scouts, with a couple of men of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry also in the ranks. Two big scout regiment observation telescopes on their tripod mounts are visible in the foreground
November 1918, the first US Marines snipers to graduate from the training school at Quantico, alas just too late for combat. The officer at extreme left is Captain M.M. Marsden, a Canadian instructor seconded from the 1st Canadian Army
November 1918, the first US Marines snipers to graduate from the training school at Quantico, alas just too late for combat. The officer at extreme left is Captain M.M. Marsden, a Canadian instructor seconded from the 1st Canadian Army





Published by Pen & Sword, Images of War: Allied POWs in German Hands 1914-1918, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives by David Bilton is now available to buy here from the Mail Bookshop
 Allied POWs in German Hands 1914-1918, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives by David Bilton is now available to buy here from the Mail Bookshop

  • Menu includes dreaded Maconochie stew, a watery stew of turnips and vegetables with minimal meat
  • This was a standard part of rations since Boer War but it was mostly eaten cold and caused flatulence
  • Hannah Holman's book The Trench Cookbook 1917 reveals how millions of troops were fed and watered
  • She has included recipes for gruel, 'sea pie', apple pudding and pea soup from original WWI cookbooks
The meals that fuelled the British soldiers to victory in the trenches during the First World War have been revealed in a new book.
Unlike the belief that it was all bully beef and tea, it shows a surprisingly varied - if largely unappetising - menu with classics such as egg and chips and toad-in-the-hole, plus gruel, calves foot jelly, beef tea and onion porridge.
It includes the dreaded Maconochie stew, a watery stew of turnips and vegetables with minimal meat, which had been a standard part of rations since the Boer War.
Having a meal: Tommies eat their Army rations in a trench somewhere near Ancre in October 1916 during the war
Having a meal: Tommies eat their Army rations in a trench somewhere near Ancre in October 1916 during the war
A French officer has tea at a table with English Tommies behind the lines on the Western Front during the First World War
A French officer has tea at a table with English Tommies behind the lines on the Western Front during the First World War
British soldiers cook in France in February 1915: The meals that fuelled the soldiers to victory have been revealed in a book
British soldiers cook in France in February 1915: The meals that fuelled the soldiers to victory have been revealed in a book
Although it was recommended that the stew was warmed prior to eating, it was mostly eaten cold and an unfortunate side-effect was flatulence.
The huge logistical challenge faced when attempting to keep millions of troops fed and watered is revealed in Hannah Holman's book The Trench Cookbook 1917.
The book includes recipes compiled from books supplied by the War Office and the Red Cross, but it is unlikely anyone will want to recreate these meals at home.
The Army Catering Corp was not established until 1941 and cooking during the First World War was organised separately by each battalion.
Guidance would come from cooks or from manuals which would start with the absolute basics.
In 1914 cooking was very much women's work and few men had even basic cooking skills.
Lancashire Fusiliers are served hot stew into their mess tins in the trenches near Ploegsteert Wood in Flanders in March 1917
Lancashire Fusiliers are served hot stew into their mess tins in the trenches near Ploegsteert Wood in Flanders in March 1917
Who will buy? A young French woman offering chocolate and cigarettes for sale to British soldiers in June 1917
Who will buy? A young French woman offering chocolate and cigarettes for sale to British soldiers in June 1917
Festive treat: Tommies eat their Christmas dinner in a shell hole in 1916, midway through the First World War
Festive treat: Tommies eat their Christmas dinner in a shell hole in 1916, midway through the First World War
By 1917 the Women's Auxiliary Army Corp was beginning to provide labour for non-combatant roles in the Army, which had the twofold effect of increasing the quality of food and freeing up more men for the frontline.
At the start of the war army rations at the front were reasonably generous, but by 1916 the situation had steadily deteriorated as the German submarine fleet tested cross channel supply lines.
By 1916 many Tommies were happy to receive stale bread and the meat ration would often be 'bully beef', tinned corned beef.
When no fresh meat was available army cooks turned to recipes such as stew with preserved meat or preserved meat fritters.
Iron rations were the emergency rations kept in a tin by all soldiers and designed to last for a day or so in the event of being cut off from supplies..
Typically, these rations consisted of a tin of meat, some cheese, tea, sugar, salt and a biscuit.
A trench cook house in November 1917: The meals are revealed in Hannah Holman's book The Trench Cookbook 1917
A trench cook house in November 1917: The meals are revealed in Hannah Holman's book The Trench Cookbook 1917
Drink: Royal Field Artillery soldiers are served their rum ration in April 1918, about half a year before the end of the war
Drink: Royal Field Artillery soldiers are served their rum ration in April 1918, about half a year before the end of the war
Trying to keep warm: 6th Queens Regiment soldiers eat dinner in a front line trench near Arras, in the snowy March of 1917
Trying to keep warm: 6th Queens Regiment soldiers eat dinner in a front line trench near Arras, in the snowy March of 1917
Most food was prepared in field kitchens significantly behind lines and transported to the front and each soldier received a standard issue mess-tin out of which they would eat all their rations.
A parcel from home containing chocolates and sweets always did wonders for morale, providing a welcome break from the monotony of their standard diet.
Ms Holman said: 'I am interested in the history of the ordinary person and how war is experienced day to day.
'In extreme situations we appreciate simple pleasures and we have all heard the Napoleon quote that 'an army marches on its stomach'.
'It wasn't all dreary monotony. The arrival of a parcel from home perhaps containing treats such as chocolate and sweets would always be welcome, and celebrations such as Christmas provided an opportunity to break from the norm.
'There are photographs of soldiers huddled around a makeshift table enjoying a Christmas dinner of sorts and during the famous albeit brief truce of Christmas 1914 eyewitnesses report the Germans rolling over a barrel of beer in exchange for a Christmas pudding.
Instructions: Guidance was given on how to boil rice and cook soup, stew or brown stew with preserved meat
Instructions on toad-in-the-hole
Instructions: Guidance was given on how to boil rice and cook soup, stew or brown stew with preserved meat
Instructions were given on making gruel, oatmeal porridge, arrowroot, sugar water, date pudding and apple pudding
Guidance on baking apple pudding
Instructions were given on making gruel, oatmeal porridge, arrowroot, sugar water, date pudding and apple pudding
Instructions on how to cook the food for 100 men
Specimen menu
Instructions on how to cook the likes of fried liver, baked meat and potatoes and pea soup for 100 men
The War Office's Manual of Military Cooking & Dietary 1917
The Trench Cookboook
The War Office's Manual of Military Cooking & Dietary 1917 (left) and The Trench Cookbook published this year (right)
'The pudding of the average Tommy would be recognised by anyone used to British school dinners with treacle and jam as well as tapioca, semolina and rice puddings.
'In terms of the least popular meals, it is impossible to say with certainty but we can say that familiarity breeds contempt and two of the most common things consumed in the trenches were tinned Maconochie stew and the Army issue biscuit.
'If a Tommy was at the front line the stew might be eaten cold out of the can accompanied by the very hard and dry Huntley and Palmers biscuit which were said to be able to chip teeth.
'In terms of national differences what I can say is that in the Salvation army field kitchen behind the front lines the British Tommy was partial to egg and chips, whilst the Germans always liked sausages, the Australians preferred meat pies and the Americans doughnuts.
'Towards the end of the war the rations for the Germans were wholly inadequate as described in the famous novel, All Quiet on the Western Front.' 
  • The weeks leading up to the bloodiest battle in British history were gentle, compared with the horror that followed
  • Rolling countryside north of River Somme was home to more than a million British servicemen, mainly volunteers
  • Haunting photographs from 100 years ago show the men relaxing, released to mark the centenary of the WWI battle
  • But the lush, green, springtime lands would shortly be turned into a muddy moonscape by the horrifying conflict 
Compared with what was to follow, the weeks leading up to the bloodiest battle in British history were a gentle calm before the storm, as these astonishing 100-year-old photographs show.
The rolling countryside north of the River Somme became home to more than a million British servicemen, mainly volunteers.
They look relaxed or sometimes bored in these haunting images, held in a private collection and specially coloured-up in astonishing detail for the Daily Mail by Icoloreditforyou to mark the centenary of the first day of the Somme tomorrow.
But the lush, green, springtime land would shortly be turned into a muddy moonscape by the horrific conflict that was to follow.
A welcome rest: Exhausted soldiers of the 9th Rifle Brigade take a break — and a chance to have a smoke — in a field away from the front line. From left, Second Lieutenant Walter Elliott, who was killed on November 20, 1916, Second Lieutenant Roger Kirkpatrick, wounded (date unknown), Captain Herbert Garton, who was killed on September 15, 1916, Lieutenant Evelyn Southwell, killed on September 15, 1916, and Second Lieutenant Herman Kiek, wounded on April 27, 1918. Southwell told his mother in a letter he was so tired he fell asleep while marching
A chance to wash: Officers of the 9th Rifle Brigade bathing in a stream behind the lines are (from left, excluding obscured faces): Captain Arthur Mckinstry — wounded, Second Lieutenant William Hesseltine, killed August 21, 1916, Captain William Purvis, wounded September 15, 1916, Second Lieutenant Joseph Buckley, killed December 23, 1917, Lieutenant Morris Heycock, wounded August 22, 1916, Captain Eric Parsons, killed September 15, 1916, Second Lieutenant Sidney Smith (in background) killed August 25, 1916, and Second Lieutenant Walter Elliott, killed November 20, 1916
For on July 1, 1916, following a seven-day British bombardment, some 120,000 men clambered from their trenches and went ‘over the top’ — to be met by a hail of German machine-gun fire that mowed down half of them.
With 20,000 dead and 40,000 wounded, it was the bloodiest single day in British military history.
And the men in these photographs were just a few of those who, after enlisting in response to Lord Kitchener’s call for volunteers to form a new Army — ‘Your country needs you’ — were sent to the killing fields of the Somme. Many would never return.
Some men in these images, having survived the initial onslaught, were slain later during the relentless trench warfare that continued until the winter.
Among them was Lieutenant Evelyn Southwell, pictured (right) with cigarette in his mouth among exhausted colleagues resting in a field. Shortly before his death in September 1916, he wrote to his mother to say how tired he and his comrades were after spending weeks in and out of the front-line trenches.
Facing the future: Smiling confidently in their trench beneath a clear blue springtime sky are two officers of the 11th Royal Fusiliers: Lieutenant Richard Hawkins, left, was wounded in February, 1917, during the final push on the Somme prior to German evacuation. Second Lieutenant George Cornaby, right, was killed on September 23, 1918, only weeks before the end of the war
A picnic in the sunshine: Officers of the 1/4th East Yorkshire Regiment enjoy an alfresco lunch beside their tents. Captain William Batty, right, died on October 25, 1916. A note on the rear of the photograph confirms the other unidentified men did not survive the war
Knee-deep in mud: Wading through a trench on the Somme are Major Beauchamp Magrath (left) of the 8th East Lancashire Regiment, killed on June 2, 1916, and Captain Paul Hammond, right, who died on February 25, 1916. The other two soldiers are not identified
‘We are quite exhausted. After a terrible 48 hours’ (on and off) bombardment, we came out and marched to bivouac in reserve. I went to sleep several times on the road and bumped into the man ahead! Comic, that, but it was one of the few times I’ve been so done that I had difficulty in keeping going.’
Among those who survived but were seriously injured was Captain William Purvis, pictured with fellow bathers, (bottom right).
He was 57 years old when seriously wounded in September 1916 — having demanded to be sent to France to lead the company that his own son, Captain John Purvis, had commanded before being killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915.
Among the most intriguing of these images, from among the collection of leading military historian Richard van Emden, is the photograph of three officers snacking beside their tents, below. Van Emden could confirm the identity of only the man on the right, Captain William Batty, killed in October 1916.
Meeting the locals: Second Lieutenant Eric Anderson, left, of the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders, takes time out to chat to a woman in the small hamlet of Bouzincourt. He was killed on November 13, 1916, at the storming of the village Beaumont Hamel which had been occupied by the Germans for two years
Keeping up appearances: Captain John Macdougall, of the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders, has a morning shave in a trench near the village of Autuille in late 1915 — he was wounded early the following year
Waiting for the storm: The seated man (left) is Lance Corporal Andrew Blackstock, of the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders, who was wounded three times but survived the war. Captain William Johnson (right), of the 18th Manchester Regiment, was photographed by a friend on the afternoon of July 1, 1916, walking along a captured German trench. He was killed six hours later
Keeping guard: The man leaning in the doorway is Captain Richard Vaughan Thompson, of the 11th Royal Fusiliers, who was killed in the attack on Thiepval on September 26, 1916
But he knows that the other two also died because of the contemporary handwritten note on the back of the picture.
Van Emden, author of The Somme (published by Pen & Sword Books), says: ‘These are all pictures taken by the soldiers themselves on their own hand-held cameras which they had brought to France.
‘Possession of cameras had been banned but a few men, mostly officers, secretly kept them to shoot some of the most poignant images of the war.
‘These pictures were taken to preserve the “adventure” for a time after the war when returning soldiers and their families might wish to look back on the campaign.
‘But instead the images captured a war in which adventure quickly turned to horror and snaps often included the last glimpses of friends and comrades who were to die.’
The Somme in colour: Photos capture the lives of Tommies on the frontline
Brought to life in vibrant colour, these photographs capture how British soldiers lived while on the battlefield of the Somme.
Tommies are seen tending to injured German prisoners, cooking together and watching from the lines as mines exploded. The images even show a visit to the front by King George V. 
The images were colourised by specialist Tom Marshall from PhotograFix to pay tribute to those who risked their lives in the deadly battle.
'I believe that colour adds another dimension to historic images, and helps modern eyes to connect with the subjects,' he said. 'Black and white images are too often sadly ignored, especially by younger generations. By colourising the photos I hope that more people will stop to look and learn more about the soldiers at the Somme and what they went through one hundred years ago.'
He added: 'Of the thousands of photos taken during the Somme I have chosen a handful to illustrate the living and fighting conditions of British troops from the lowest to highest ranks.'
Two British soldiers look out from a ramshackle hut that served as their home on the frontline during the Battle of the Somme in 1916
Two soldiers look out from a ramshackle hut that served as their home on the frontline during the Battle of the Somme in 1916
Three British soldiers sit around a fire on ornate dining chairs as they cook a meal in a steel helmet near Miraumont-le-Grand
Three soldiers sit around a fire on ornate dining chairs as they cook a meal in a steel helmet near Miraumont-le-Grand
A British soldier leads a horse laden with dozens of pairs of trench boots through thick mud as the British Army continues the Somme offensive
A solider leads a horse laden with dozens of pairs of trench boots through thick mud as the British Army continues the Somme offensive
A sign reading 'pack transport this way' sticks out among leafless trees stripped by artillery fire near the frontline of the Somme battle
A sign reading 'pack transport this way' sticks out among leafless trees stripped by artillery fire near the frontline of the Somme battle
A group of soldiers hang up clothes as they relax outside a shelter near the trenches of the battle of the Somme
A group of soldiers hang up clothes as they relax outside a shelter near the trenches of the battle of the Somme
A Boche prisoner, wounded and muddy is led along a railway track as British Army infantrymen return from another push on the battlefield
A Boche prisoner, wounded and muddy is led along a railway track as soldiers return from another push on the battlefield
A group of British soldiers line up behind a gun playfully etched with 'Somme gun' as they enjoy a light-hearted moment amid the carnage
A group of soldiers line up behind a gun playfully etched with 'Somme gun' as they enjoy a light-hearted moment amid the carnage
Carrying heavy packs and metal helmets, a group of British soldiers continue their journey across a landscape littered with  debris
Carrying heavy packs and metal helmets, a group of soldiers continue their journey across a landscape littered with shrapnel and debris
Commander explaining the capture of Thiepval to H.M. King George V from the top of the Thiepval Chateau
Commander explaining the capture of Thiepval to H.M. King George V from the top of the Thiepval Chateau
A soldier looks over exploding mines designed to clear the way for advancing troops during the Somme offensive
A soldier looks over exploding mines designed to clear the way for advancing troops during the Somme offensive
Soldiers' hidden cameras offer rare personal look at the bloody battle 
These black-and-white photographs were captured by soldiers on cameras smuggled on to the frontline of the Somme offensive.   
The men in these photographs were just a few of those who, after enlisting in response to Lord Kitchener’s call for volunteers to form a new Army — ‘Your country needs you’ — were sent to the killing fields of the Somme. Many would never return.
Some men in these images, having survived the initial onslaught, were slain later during the relentless trench warfare that continued until the winter.
The images, which show soldiers relaxing before the battle began and in action once the offensive started, have been put together in bestselling World War One author Richard van Emden’s book, ‘The Somme: The Epic Battle in the Soldiers’ own Words and Photographs’. 
Van Emden said: 'These are all pictures taken by the soldiers themselves on their own hand-held cameras which they had brought to France.
'Possession of cameras had been banned but a few men, mostly officers, secretly kept them to shoot some of the most poignant images of the war.
'These pictures were taken to preserve the “adventure” for a time after the war when returning soldiers and their families might wish to look back on the campaign.
'But instead the images captured a war in which adventure quickly turned to horror and snaps often included the last glimpses of friends and comrades who were to die.'
He added: 'No other book has attempted to tell the story of the Somme from the British arrival in July 1915 until the Germans withdrew from the Somme to newly-prepared positions thirty miles east, in March 1917.' 

From Leicester Square to the Battle of Loos: Extraordinary images of the London buses used to take British troops to the Western Front in WWI 

  • Today marks 100 years since the start of the Battle of Loos in France - the biggest British push of the conflict
  • 1,185 London buses were used to carry troops to and from the trenches and only 250 returned to the capital
  • Forced to travel at night to avoid damage others were converted into ambulances or lorries, and even pigeon lofts 
  • 1,429 transport staff forced into France including drivers and mechanics lost their lives between 1914 and 1918
  • After the war buses that could be repaired were returned to London - although the public did not want to ride them
Their drivers were only used to battling the traffic in the capital's choked streets before being forced to cope with a barrage of German shells and the deep endless quagmire of the First World War front line.
But the celebrated London bus became one of the unsung heroes of the conflict, used to transport thousands of troops to and from the Western Front, including at the Battle of Loos in northern France, which started 100 years ago today.
This less familiar side of the Great War is revealed today in an extraordinary collection of photographs, which show the London 'battle buses' adapted for use on the front line.
More than 1,000 of the vehicles were sent from the capital and across the Channel after being adapted for use in battle.
Stuck: Civilian buses were not always suited to the harsh conditions of the battlefield, as shown by this B-type bus stranded in mud at St Eloi, France, just two weeks after leaving Willesden Garage in 1914
Stuck: Civilian buses were not always suited to the harsh conditions of the battlefield, as shown by this B-type bus stranded in mud at St Eloi, France, just two weeks after leaving Willesden Garage in 1914
Convoy: Soldiers in uniform and helmets travel in the 1,000-plus B-type buses that have been adapted for use on the front line in this un-dated photograph from the First World War
Convoy: Soldiers in uniform and helmets travel in the 1,000-plus B-type buses that have been adapted for use on the front line in this un-dated photograph from the First World War
Nearing the end: Troops travelling in converted London buses wave their helmets and smile at the camera in the French town of Arras in April 1917
Nearing the end: Troops travelling in converted London buses wave their helmets and smile at the camera in the French town of Arras in April 1917
Aim: In an image taken by a press photographer in April 1915, First World War Army Service Corps drivers stand in front of a B-type bus converted for use as a troop carrier, with the destination board reading ‘To Berlin’
Aim: In an image taken by a press photographer in April 1915, First World War Army Service Corps drivers stand in front of a B-type bus converted for use as a troop carrier, with the destination board reading ‘To Berlin’
As well as carrying troops these versatile chassis of B-type buses were also converted into ambulances, lorries and even lofts for carrier pigeons - and only 250 returned to Britain in 1918.
The infantry in the trenches were not the only ones to suffer heavy losses in the First World War, with 1,429 transport staff also losing their lives in battle.
Many of the dead were bus drivers and mechanics who were recruited alongside their vehicles.
Speaking in 1985 one driver George Gwynn, then 95, described how they worked through the night and slept briefly between troop movements.
He said: 'We came under fire every night and would think 'game over'.
'I remember when the driver of the bus in front of mine was killed. Every night we had something like that.
'I slept at the roadside on those buses, with no cover. Each night in the winter we had to get out of our beds and start the engine every two hours. We had to be ready at any time to rush out and pick troops up from their billets.
'London buses were engaged in every battle that happened, from Antwerp to the Somme.'
Different uses: London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) B-type buses were converted for different uses by the military, and were even used as lofts for carrier pigeons, as shown in this photograph taken in 1915
Different uses: London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) B-type buses were converted for different uses by the military, and were even used as lofts for carrier pigeons, as shown in this photograph taken in 1915
Important jib: Extra vehicles, such as this bus travelling through Ghent in Belgium in 1914, were needed for transporting wounded soldiers for treatment behind the front line
Important jib: Extra vehicles, such as this bus travelling through Ghent in Belgium in 1914, were needed for transporting wounded soldiers for treatment behind the front line
In tandem: As well as the 1,185 London buses used in the First World War, horses remained an important means of transportation, as shown in this photograph taken between 1914 and 1916
In tandem: As well as the 1,185 London buses used in the First World War, horses remained an important means of transportation, as shown in this photograph taken between 1914 and 1916
Hanging on: This Battle Bus carrying troops swerves to avoid other troops on the muddy road to the First World War front line  
Hanging on: This Battle Bus carrying troops swerves to avoid other troops on the muddy road to the First World War front line  
Junction: A photograph taken in August 1914 of a British transport convoy passing through Albert in France, one of the key locations in the Battle of the Somme, which was fought between July and November 1916
Junction: A photograph taken in August 1914 of a British transport convoy passing through Albert in France, one of the key locations in the Battle of the Somme, which was fought between July and November 1916
Welcoming Party: Local people line the streets as a battle bus approaches in Antwerp, Belgium in 1914
Welcoming Party: Local people line the streets as a battle bus approaches in Antwerp, Belgium in 1914
Off duty: Four buses used to carry soldiers stand idle in a square in Boulogne, France in 1914, before heading back to the front line
Off duty: Four buses used to carry soldiers stand idle in a square in Boulogne, France in 1914, before heading back to the front line
George, his colleagues and the vehicles they drove in deadly conditions played a major part in the Battle of Loos - the largest British offensive in the first year of World War One. 
The previous months of 1915 had seen a stalemate on the Western Front, a disastrous defeat for the Allies at Gallipoli, and the Germans pushing back the Russian Army in the east.
A major victory was needed to boost the morale of the Allies. Marshal Joffre, the commander-in-chief of the French forces, planned a joint French-British attack on the Germans.
On the morning of September 15, a force under Sir Douglas Haigh advanced at the same time as the French attacked the German lines at Champagne and at Vimy Ridge in Arras.
The battle featured the first use of poison gas by the British, and followed a four-day artillery bombardment along a six-and-a-half-mile front.
By the end of the offensive on October 14, the Germans had held their positions against both the British and the French, aided by a second line of trenches six miles behind the front line. The British suffered 60,000 casualties.
After the war ended on November 11 1918, 250 of the 1,000-plus buses used by the War Department were returned to London.
Although they were initially thought to be substandard for carrying passengers, a shortage of vehicles meant they were eventually taken back into service in May 1919. 
Transport from London: Soldiers in combat gear board B-type battle buses, which could each carry 24 soldiers, near Arras, France in 1915
Transport from London: Soldiers in combat gear board B-type battle buses, which could each carry 24 soldiers, near Arras, France in 1915
Protection: London buses were daubed in khaki paint to camouflage them on the battlefield, but drivers on the front line still usually travelled at night to avoid shelling - although many were still hit
Protection: London buses were daubed in khaki paint to camouflage them on the battlefield, but drivers on the front line still usually travelled at night to avoid shelling - although many were still hit
Recycled: After the end of the First World War on 11 November 1918, 250 buses were taken back to London to be repaired and used again because of a shortage of vehicles
Recycled: After the end of the First World War on 11 November 1918, 250 buses were taken back to London to be repaired and used again because of a shortage of vehicles
The vehicles were repainted in Army khaki and designated 'Traffic Emergency' buses.
The Auxiliary Omnibus Companies' Association was established in 1919 by London bus drivers who had served in the Army Service Corps during the First World War.
The first remembrance service was held in 1920 at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
Philip Sydney Bowden, a bus driver who served at the Battle of the Somme, laid a wreath on behalf of London's transport workers.
A third of LGOC buses were sent to the front, and the resulting staff shortages meant that women were employed as drivers in London for the first time. 
The London Transport Museum has restored a B-type bus, which is taking part in commemorative events in the UK, France and Belgium.
You can view the vehicle at the museum's Design Uncovered event, which takes place at the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton this weekend. 

BATTLE OF LOOS: HOW OUR LARGEST WWI OFFENSIVE  WAS DOMINATED BY BRITAIN'S BRAVEST FOOTBALLERS

The remains of Loos: This image shows ruins in the church quarter of Loos on November 24. It was taken by the 15th Scottish Division on the Western Front in France in September 1915
The remains of Loos: This image shows ruins in the church quarter of Loos on November 24. It was taken by the 15th Scottish Division on the Western Front in France in September 1915
The Battle of Loos featured the first British use of poison gas, and followed a four-day artillery bombardment along a six-and-a-half-mile front.
The attack led by Sir Douglas Haig happened simultaneously as the French attacked the German lines at Champagne and at Vimy Ridge in Arras.
But the Germans were able to successfully hold their position on both fronts, helped by a second line of trenches built six miles behind the front lines.
Although they entered the German trenches, after fierce hand-to-hand fighting the British were forced to retreat to their start positions.
During the battle there was one of the most extraordinary acts of bravery seen in warfare.
It seems to be a stunt too extraordinary to be believed but, while staring death in the face, a group of World War One soldiers hatched a plan to dribble six footballs towards the German front line in a unique display of British bravado and courage.
Their commanding officer rumbled them on the eve of the Battle of Loos in 1915, and before the attack shot five of the balls rendering them useless.
But the soccer team of the London Irish Rifles managed to keep the sixth ball hidden and, defying orders, dribbled it as they advanced across No Man's Land while under heavy machine gun and mortar fire.
The footballing soldiers' antics, even more extraordinary than the official truce called on Christmas Day 1914 when thousands of troops emerged from the trenches to have a kick-about, went down in folklore among the men of the London Irish Rifles and the ball was displayed at the regimental museum in Camberwell, south east London, until 50 years ago.
The Loos Memorial near where the soldiers went into action carries the names of more than 20,000 missing from the battle.
More than 950,000 British and Commonwealth military personnel died in the First World War, with a further 2.2 million armed forces members wounded in action.

  • Some bunkers have turned into stables, while shell craters became drinking ponds for cattle
  • Many trenches and tunnels remained untouched on the Western Front, a battle line stretching from Belgium to the Swiss border
  • The Ziegler Bunker in Boezinge, Belgium, is one of the best preserved on the Ypres Salient

A century on, the four seasons bring constant changes to the scarred landscapes and ruins of the World War I battlefields in Belgium and northern France.
Spring has its red poppies; summer its sun-kissed green foliage; autumn stuns with vibrant colours; and winter brings the bleakness of rain and mud.
Soldiers of the 1914-1918 Great War had precious little time to appreciate the colour. Instead they endured the mud as relentless shelling destroyed woods and villages and created desolate, treeless landscapes, while many cities were reduced to heaps of rubble.
One hundred years and the force of nature have slowly changed those haunted places, yet many of the relics still exist, both above and below the surface. 
Some bunkers have turned into stables; shell craters became drinking ponds for cattle. Many trenches and tunnels remained largely untouched on what was known as the Western Front, a battle line stretching from Belgium to the Swiss border.
Each season offers a different view to the relic hunter.
A road that seems to yield nothing in summer due to heavy foliage unveils a trove of treasures in the desolate winter.
The Ziegler Bunker in Boezinge, Belgium, is one of the best preserved on the Ypres Salient, and the line of bunkers on Aubers Ridge in France give the viewer an idea of how important high ground was in World War I...
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A WWI bunker at the Fort of Walem in Walem, Belgium. The fort was built in 1878 as part of the fortifications around the city of Antwerp. After heavy shelling during WWI in 1914, the fort surrendered and under the rubble still lie the bodies of Belgian soldiers 
A WWI bunker at the Fort of Walem in Walem, Belgium. The fort was built in 1878 as part of the fortifications around the city of Antwerp. After heavy shelling during WWI in 1914, the fort surrendered and under the rubble still lie the bodies of Belgian soldiers 
A wooden cross with a poppy is left at a bomb crater named the 'Pool of Peace' in Heuvelland, Belgium. The crater was created by the largest of 19 mine explosions detonated to signal the start of the Messines phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. The explosion was set off on June 7, 1917 underneath one of the then highest German front-line positions on Messines Ridge. The blasts were reportedly heard as far away as London
A wooden cross with a poppy is left at a bomb crater named the 'Pool of Peace' in Heuvelland, Belgium. The crater was created by the largest of 19 mine explosions detonated to signal the start of the Messines phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. The explosion was set off on June 7, 1917 underneath one of the then highest German front-line positions on Messines Ridge. The blasts were reportedly heard as far away as London
The Ziegler bunker in Boezinge, Belgium. It is sometimes referred to as the 'Viking Ship' due to its shape. The bunker was constructed by the German Army and later conquered by the French
The Ziegler bunker in Boezinge, Belgium. It is sometimes referred to as the 'Viking Ship' due to its shape. The bunker was constructed by the German Army and later conquered by the French
Two German bunkers on farmland in Pervijze, Belgium. One hundred years after the guns went silent, thousands of bunkers still exist along what was the Western Front which stretched from Belgium to the Swiss border. Many are protected by local historical authorities while many others decay slowly
Two German bunkers on farmland in Pervijze, Belgium. One hundred years after the guns went silent, thousands of bunkers still exist along what was the Western Front which stretched from Belgium to the Swiss border. Many are protected by local historical authorities while many others decay slowly
Anzac Camp bunkers in Voormezele, Belgium. The bunkers were originally constructed by the British. Their location was close to the front line with trenches running both in front of and behind the bunkers
Anzac Camp bunkers in Voormezele, Belgium. The bunkers were originally constructed by the British. Their location was close to the front line with trenches running both in front of and behind the bunkers
The Lettenberg bunker is situated in Kemmel, Belgium. One of four British concrete shelters built into the hill, it was constructed in 1917. The shelters were captured by the German Army in 1918
The Lettenberg bunker is situated in Kemmel, Belgium. One of four British concrete shelters built into the hill, it was constructed in 1917. The shelters were captured by the German Army in 1918
British trenches are preserved at Hill 62, Sanctuary Wood in Ypres, Belgium. The farmer who owned the site was required to leave his land in 1914 when the war began. After returning to reclaim the land, much was cleared away, but he continued to maintain part of the trench
British trenches are preserved at Hill 62, Sanctuary Wood in Ypres, Belgium. The farmer who owned the site was required to leave his land in 1914 when the war began. After returning to reclaim the land, much was cleared away, but he continued to maintain part of the trench
The remains of the Chateau de la Hutte, in Ploegsteert, Belgium. The chateau, due to its high position, served as an observation post for the British artillery but soon afterwards was destroyed by German artillery. The cellars would serve as a shelter for a great part of the war and Canadian soldiers soon nicknamed it 'Henessy Chateau', after the name of the owner
The remains of the Chateau de la Hutte, in Ploegsteert, Belgium. The chateau, due to its high position, served as an observation post for the British artillery but soon afterwards was destroyed by German artillery. The cellars would serve as a shelter for a great part of the war and Canadian soldiers soon nicknamed it 'Henessy Chateau', after the name of the owner
A German commando bunker next to a house in Zandvoorde, Belgium. This bunker has been a listed monument since 1999
A German commando bunker next to a house in Zandvoorde, Belgium. This bunker has been a listed monument since 1999
A bomb crater from World War I named 'Ultimo' is surrounded by a fence and trees in St Yves, Belgium. The crater is a result of one of several explosions under the German front line
A bomb crater from World War I named 'Ultimo' is surrounded by a fence and trees in St Yves, Belgium. The crater is a result of one of several explosions under the German front line
An artillery shell lies at the opening of a bunker near Beaucamps-Ligny, France. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at nearby Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery in Bois-Grenier, France on Oct 22, 2014, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field five years ago in Beaucamps-Ligny and identified through a variety of means, including DNA
An artillery shell lies at the opening of a bunker near Beaucamps-Ligny, France. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at nearby Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery in Bois-Grenier, France on Oct 22, 2014, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field five years ago in Beaucamps-Ligny and identified through a variety of means, including DNA
The remains of the German Lange Max gun pit in Koekelare, Belgium. It was originally designed to be a naval gun, but was later adapted as a railroad gun which was capable of long range
The remains of the German Lange Max gun pit in Koekelare, Belgium. It was originally designed to be a naval gun, but was later adapted as a railroad gun which was capable of long range
A German-built bunker next to the roadside in La Bassee, France. The bunker was named Le Trois Maisons (the three houses). La Bassee was occupied by the Germans from October 1914 and was part of the battleground of what is known as the 'Race to the Sea'. This 'race'  saw reciprocal attempts by the Franco-British and German armies to envelop the northern flank of the opposing army through Picardy, Artois and Flanders - rather than an attempt to advance northwards to the sea
A German-built bunker next to the roadside in La Bassee, France. The bunker was named Le Trois Maisons (the three houses). La Bassee was occupied by the Germans from October 1914 and was part of the battleground of what is known as the 'Race to the Sea'. This 'race'  saw reciprocal attempts by the Franco-British and German armies to envelop the northern flank of the opposing army through Picardy, Artois and Flanders - rather than an attempt to advance northwards to the sea
The remains of a German bunker at the Australian Memorial Park in Fromelles, France. The park is situated on what would have been the German defensive line during battles in 1916 against Australian forces.
A bunker on Aubers Ridge near Illies, France
The remains of a German bunker (left) at the Australian Memorial Park in Fromelles, France. The park is situated on what would have been the German defensive line during battles in 1916 against Australian forces. Right, a bunker on Aubers Ridge near Illies, France. Aubers Ridge offered German troops as of Oct 1914 a strategic advantage by being located on the high ground near the River Lys
A large German-built bunker in the centre of a farm field on Aubers Ridge
A large German-built bunker in the centre of a farm field on Aubers Ridge
A German-built bunker next to a farm building in Lizerne, Belgium
A bunker is covered in overgrowth in Fromelles, France
A German-built bunker (left) next to a farm building in Lizerne, Belgium. Local archaeologists have recently discovered Belgian and French trenches in the area, which was bitterly fought over during the war and was also the site of one of the first poison gas attacks. Right, a bunker is covered in overgrowth in Fromelles
The British bunker at Hellfire Corner in Ypres, Belgium. The section was given this name due to the frequent shelling by the German Army
The British bunker at Hellfire Corner in Ypres, Belgium. The section was given this name due to the frequent shelling by the German Army
A bunker next to a muddy field in La Bassee, France (left, Dec 6)
British Charing Cross Advance Dressing Station bunker in Ploegsteert, Belgium
A bunker next to a muddy field (left) in La Bassee, France. Right, the British Charing Cross Advance Dressing Station bunker in Ploegsteert, Belgium. It was used to treat casualties running up to the Battle of Messines Ridge. Part of the bunker today is used as a house for birds
A German trench at the Bayernwald Trench site in Wijtschate, Belgium. The area was instrumental for the German Army in the assault on Messines Ridge. The trench was restored in 1998 after being abandoned for nearly 100 years and is based on an actual German trench that existed on the site
A German trench at the Bayernwald Trench site in Wijtschate, Belgium. The area was instrumental for the German Army in the assault on Messines Ridge. The trench was restored in 1998 after being abandoned for nearly 100 years and is based on an actual German trench that existed on the site
Sugar beet is piled high in front of a German bunker on farmland in Wervik, Belgium
Sugar beet is piled high in front of a German bunker on farmland in Wervik, Belgium
A bunker next to a modern house in Menen, Belgium. Many WWI and WWII bunkers in Belgium are protected by the heritage association and cannot be removed from the land
A bunker next to a modern house in Menen, Belgium. Many WWI and WWII bunkers in Belgium are protected by the heritage association and cannot be removed from the land
Horses eat in a pasture surrounding a German-built bunker in St. Jan, Belgium
Horses eat in a pasture surrounding a German-built bunker in St. Jan, Belgium
A British bunker between two newly planted trees in Wijtschate, Belgium
A British bunker between two newly planted trees in Wijtschate, Belgium

German bunker on a farm, also in Langemark
A German machine-gun post bunker (left) in a field in Langemark, Belgium. Right, a German bunker on a farm, also in Langemark. The bunker, an above ground structure, was located just behind the German front line
A German-built bunker at the end of a reconstructed trench at the Bayernwald Trench site in Wijtschate, Belgium
A German-built bunker at the end of a reconstructed trench at the Bayernwald Trench site in Wijtschate, Belgium

WORLD WAR ONE: LIFE AND DEATH ON THE WESTERN FRONT

The Western Front circa 1916: British infantrymen occupy a shallow trench in a ruined landscape before an advance
The Western Front circa 1916: British infantrymen occupy a shallow trench in a ruined landscape before an advance
Some 7.5million men lost their lives on the Western Front during World War One.
The front was opened when the German Army invaded Luxembourg and Belgium in 1914 and then moved into the industrial regions in northern France.
In September of that year, this advance was halted, and slightly reversed, at the Battle Of Marne.
It was then that both sides dug vast networks of trenches that ran all the way from the North Sea to the Swiss border with France.
This line of tunnels remained unaltered, give or take a mile, for most of the four-year conflict.
By 1917, after years of deadlock that saw millions of soldiers killed for zero gain on either side, new military technology including poison gas, tanks and planes was deployed on the front.
Thanks to these techniques, the Allies slowly advanced throughout 1918 until the war's end in November.
But the scars will forever remain.
British soldiers wounded in the trenches on the Western Front during the First World War make their way back from the front line
British soldiers wounded in the trenches on the Western Front during the First World War make their way back from the front line










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