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Thumbnail for 'View of Merville Church which town we again hold'

(401) D.3084 - View of Merville Church which town we again hold [ID: 74546996]

Merville Church after being bombed or shelled. The area around the church is covered with large piles of rubble and masonry. The parts that remain standing, including a section of the steeple, look rather precarious. From the little that remains, it is possible to see that Merville Church was once a magnificent building. Scenes like this were all too common throughout the war. There is a shadow visible in the foreground, possibly that of the photographer. Scenes of this nature were often used as propaganda by the Government and Military, in the full knowledge that many people were particularly disturbed and shocked by the destruction of places of worship. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. View of Merville Church which town we again hold [sic].']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Jocks having a well-earned rest after a heavy spell of stretcher bearing'

(402) D.3098 - Jocks having a well-earned rest after a heavy spell of stretcher bearing [ID: 74546998]

Two Scottish soldiers having rest. Both men are wearing kilts with protective aprons, and steel helmets. According to the original caption they are stretcher-bearers, which would explain the armbands both men are wearing. The ground they are lying on is very rough and uneven. They are resting their heads against a wall of earth, possibly a trench wall. Behind them there is an abandoned pack that includes a rifle and water bottle. Combined with the condescending caption, this photograph would give those at home the false impression that all was well at the Front. The reality was never revealed in the photographs issued by the Government and Military. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Jocks having a well-earned rest after a heavy spell of stretcher bearing.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'General view of Fampoux'

(403) D.3099 - General view of Fampoux [ID: 74547000]

The destruction and devastation at Fampoux, France. There is little left to indicate that a village once stood here. The only evidence is scattered debris and piles of rubble. A small road winds its way through the chaos. The wooden frame of a large building is visible in the distance. On the left of the photograph, a tree offers the only sign of life. Many small towns and villages, due to their proximity to the Front, found themselves caught in the middle of the fighting. In some cases, entire villages were obliterated by the bombing and shelling. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. General view of Fampoux.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Old-time headgear found by Tommies in a ruined village'

(404) D.3101 - Old-time headgear found by Tommies in a ruined village [ID: 74547002]

Three British soldiers happily pose for the camera. They are sitting on a bank of loose earth, in front of small trees or bushes. Two of the men are wearing hats which, according to the original caption, have been found in a ruined village. The man on the right wears a top hat, while the man on the left wears a bicorn. Despite their newly acquired accessories, both men are still holding onto their steel helmets. Apart from the novelty hats, the men are in uniform. 'Tommy’ is 'Tommy Atkins’, a fictional hero figure representing the average British soldier. When moving through abandoned and ruined villages, soldiers often picked up small items found amongst the rubble and kept them as souvenirs. Such everyday items would offer a momentary distraction from the war. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Old-time headgear found by Tommies in a ruined village.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'General view of Bailleul'

(405) D.3108 - General view of Bailleul [ID: 74547004]

The town of Bailleul, France, after being bombed and shelled. The photograph has been taken from a good vantage point, showing the full extent of the destruction and devastation. The scene is mainly filled with vast piles of brick and rubble. The buildings that remain standing are mere shells, and well beyond repair. There are a number of men picking through the rubble, close to a road running through the ruins. Despite the extent of the damage, Bailleul, like so many other French towns and villages, was painstakingly rebuilt in the years following the war. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. General view of Bailleul.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'View taken of Pelves'

(406) D.3111 - View taken of Pelves [ID: 74547006]

There are no buildings left standing, all that is left to suggest a village once stood here is a clutter of wood and rubble. The wooden frames are very likely all that is left of the rooftops. It is a bleak and lifeless scene, and sadly a very common one during the war years in France. Behind the ruins of Pelves, fields stretch into the distance. During 1916 and 1917 only two British official photographers were assigned to the Western Front, Ernest Brooks and John Warwick Brooke. Despite the restrictions placed on them by the Government and Military - both of whom wanted images suitable for use as propaganda - Brooks and Warwick Brooke, faithful to their journalistic roots, managed to take some of the most memorable images of World War I. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. View taken of Pelves.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'General view of Monchy-les-Preux'

(407) D.3112 - General view of Monchy-les-Preux [ID: 74547008]

The ruined village of Monchy-le-Preux, France. On the left of a dirt track running through the village, the bombed and blasted remains of a few buildings are standing. The ground is strewn with bricks and debris - all that is left of the buildings which once stood there. Hardly visible amidst this devastation, a soldier hunkers down close to the side of the road, possibly contemplating the scene surrounding him. During the 2nd Battle of Arras, April-May 1917, Monchy-le-Preux was successfully defended from German counter-attacks by a small band of Newfoundlanders - the rest having been killed or wounded. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. General view of Monchy-les-Preux.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1917

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Armoured car about to start on a reconnaissance'

(408) D.3120 - Armoured car about to start on a reconnaissance [ID: 74547010]

An armoured car, parked on a dry and dusty road surrounded by trees and shrubs. There are two soldiers standing in the upper part of the car. Beside the men, weapons have been fixed into position. The two men are there for reconnaissance purposes, and, if need be, to fire. They are not controlling the car, the driver would sit in the cabin in front. Armoured cars had already been developed and were in use by the time World War I began. Equipped with protective plating and some form of weaponry, often a machine gun, they were widely used in the early and latter stages of the war. Better suited to flat and open ground, however, armoured cars would not feature heavily during the years of trench warfare. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. An armoured car about to start on a reconnaissance.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'General view of Montauban'

(409) D.3124 - General view of Montauban [ID: 74547012]

It is unclear whether this is actually Montauban itself, or whether the sign which states 'Montauban' is merely indicating that the village is close by. The road seen here is bordered by grass verges littered with rubbish and debris. Two trees at the side of the road have been stripped of their branches, and broken wires criss-cross the scene. An observation platform is visible in the background. Montauban, on the Somme, was one of the many villages to suffer intense shellfire during the Battle of the Somme. On the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916, British forces captured Montauban and Mametz. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. General view of Montauban.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'General view of Combles'

(410) D.3125 - General view of Combles [ID: 74547014]

This photograph has been taken from a high vantage point, looking down over Combles. Directly in front of the camera, there is a sloping hillside covered with grass and scrub. The long and dusty road that leads into the centre of Combles is partly shrouded in dust or smoke. A line of horses make there way along the road, and on the left-hand side of the road a camp has been set up. It is evident that some of the larger buildings have been hit by shellfire. Combles was captured by the Allies in September 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. Like many other villages and towns on the Somme, it was badly damaged by intense shellfire during the battle. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. General view of Combles.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Huge gun captured by us at Moislaine and which the Germans had overturned in their hurry to get it back over rough ground'

(411) D.3127 - Huge gun captured by us at Moislaine and which the Germans had overturned in their hurry to get it back over rough ground [ID: 74547018]

A large gun lying on its side amongst bushes. It looks somewhat weathered. There is a large container, possibly filled with ammunition, lying underneath the gun. In the distance it is possible to see the rough and uneven ground that made it so difficult to move this large gun. If a retreating army was unable to take all weapons and ammunition with them, they would often attempt to sabotage those weapons left behind. This was to prevent their own weapons being used against them. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A huge gun captured by us at Moislaine and which the Germans had overturned in their hurry to get it back over rough ground.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'How the Germans generate electricity for wireless in the trenches'

(412) D.3131 - How the Germans generate electricity for wireless in the trenches [ID: 74547020]

A soldier sitting on a stationary bicycle. The wheels of the bicycle have been removed and it has been adapted to sit on a free-standing frame. According to the original caption, this contraption has been developed to generate electricity. The equipment necessary to convert the pedal power into electrical power is fitted to the rear of the bicycle. This young soldier is providing a demonstration. He is in full uniform and is wearing a steel helmet, and a bag round his neck. Due to appalling conditions in the trenches, and the frequent absence of proper equipment, soldiers became incredibly resourceful in discovering ways of overcoming particular problems. The contraption shown here is an excellent example of the lengths that some men went to. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. How the Germans generate electricity for wireless in the trenches.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'View of Quéant where we broke the Hindenburg Line'

(413) D.3133 - View of Quéant where we broke the Hindenburg Line [ID: 74547022]

The village of Quéant, France: the road that runs through the village is bordered on both sides by ruined buildings. Any walls that remain standing are being supported by wooden logs. Most of the damage, however, is irreparable. A solitary figure walks along the road with several horses, and an abandoned cart lies at a fork in the road. There are a number of trees in the village that appear to have been untouched by the shellfire. The village of Quéant was captured by Allied forces in September 1918. In doing so the Allies broke through the German Hindenburg Line, an impressive system of defensive fortifications built behind the Front. A month later the Allies would have complete control of the Hindenburg Line, signalling the end of the war. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. View of Queant where we broke the Hindenburg Line.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Probable date created: 1918

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'View of St Leger village captured during our advance'

(414) D.3135 - View of St Leger village captured during our advance [ID: 74547026]

The French village of St Leger: the road through the village is busy with soldiers and horses. A car has stopped at a fork in the road. On the hillside above the road, a number of buildings have been bombed or shelled: the damage looks irreparable. There are no buildings in this photograph that have escaped the bombardment. The damage to a lot of French towns and villages during the war was so extensive that many had to be entirely rebuilt. It was painstaking work and took many years to be completed. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. View of St Leger village captured during our advance.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'View of Pronville, a captured village situated east of the Hindenburg line'

(415) D.3136 - View of Pronville, a captured village situated east of the Hindenburg line [ID: 74547028]

The ruined remains of Pronville, a French village positioned close to the Hindenburg Line. Directly in front of the camera the ground is covered with bricks and rubble. A small path or track, possibly leading into the village, is bordered on the left by the bombed and blasted remains of more buildings. Wooden frames scattered amongst the ruins are all that is left of the rooftops. A road sweeps round to the right, out of the shot. The German Hindenburg Line was a complex system of defensive fortifications built behind the Front, intended to give the Germans a stronger defence against Allied attack. In September 1918, Allied forces broke through part of the Hindenburg Line near the village of Quéant. By the beginning of October they had captured the entire Line, spelling defeat for the German Army. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. View of Pronville, a captured village situated east of the Hindenburg line.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1918

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'View of Mamets, of Somme Fame'

(416) D.3137 - View of Mamets, of Somme Fame [ID: 74547030]

Three soldiers are standing on a wide and dusty road bordered on both sides by scrub. To the right of the road, close to where the men are standing, there appears to be a memorial or monument in the shape of a cross. Printed on a sign next to the cross are three place names, 'Fricourt, Albert, Montauban.'] Mametz village and eventually Mametz Wood were captured by the Allies during the Battle of the Somme, April-May 1916. The fighting that took place in Mametz Wood alone resulted in the death of thousands of men. In recent years, a memorial to the 38th Welsh Division, who fought at Mametz Wood, has been erected. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. View of Mamets, of Somme Fame [sic].']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'General view of Lens taken from one of our outposts who are continually pushing forward'

(417) D.3156 - General view of Lens taken from one of our outposts who are continually pushing forward [ID: 74547034]

The destruction and devastation at Lens, France. Without the caption it would be impossible to tell this was a town. The ground is a mass of bricks and wood. The only structures left standing are a brick wall, and the remnants of one or two outer walls. It is difficult to tell whether the ruins stretch into the distance or whether the debris is merely merging with the surrounding countryside. The destruction at Lens was particularly bad as a result of the continuous fighting that occurred there. Lens remained firmly in German hands until October 1918. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A general view of Lens taken from one of our outposts who are continually pushing forward.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Royal Engineers repairing a bridge in the Somme area after the German retreat'

(418) D.3167 - Royal Engineers repairing a bridge in the Somme area after the German retreat [ID: 74547038]

The bottom left of the photograph is a mass of tangled pieces of metal. There are four soldiers in amongst this tangle trying to salvage pieces. In front of this a little dingy with a soldier in it is moored to a large heavy iron strut. There are three soldiers on this makeshift gang plank who are working with pieces of rope from the boat. The river runs up the left of the picture and into the distance. In the background two soldiers are watching from the marshy foreshore. There is more tangled metal and the stripped stumps of trees. The Royal Engineers were a corps of men who specialised in problem solving and readying areas which had not been previously entered. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Royal Engineers repairing a bridge in the Somme area after the German retreat. This photograph gives [sic] a good idea of the devastation of this district.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Marshal Foch arrives and enters train of the advanced H.G.Q'

(419) D.3264 - Marshal Foch arrives and enters train of the advanced H.G.Q [ID: 74547042]

The train has been brought to a halt on the curve of the track and the photograph has been taken down the side of the carriages. Wooden boards have been placed alongside the track to form a platform and then wooden steps have been set up against the carriage door. Marshal Foch is just about to climb into the carriage while three officers stand behind him talking amongst themselves. Another soldier, wearing a different type of uniform, is standing in the background at the top of boards leading to the platform. A ramshackle building is visible in the background. Ferdinand Foch was created the commander of the British, American and French troops on the Western Front in 1918. He was also the Allied Representative present to meet with German notables to negotiate peace in Compiegne in 1918. [Original reads: 'Marshal Foch arrives and enters train of the advanced H.G.Q.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Competitors and spectators'

(420) D.418 - Competitors and spectators [ID: 74547866]

A crowd of onlookers at a sports day organised by the Black Watch Regiment. The spectators include some of the competitors, members of the Black Watch who were not taking part and a number of women and children, possibly from a nearby farm, town or village. A day such as this would have provided some light relief for those at the Front. Some of events at this particular sports day included a pillow fight, a rifle grenade competition, a gas helmet race, collecting rings using a bayonet and a children's race. [Original reads: 'BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Black Watch hold sports whilst resting. Competitors and spectators.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Divisional Commander watching an event'

(421) D.419 - Divisional Commander watching an event [ID: 74547868]

The Divisional Commander and those around him are all spectators at a sports day organised by the Black Watch Regiment. It is impossible to tell which event they are watching. Some of the events that took place that day, however, included a gas helmet race, a pillow fight, a rifle grenade competition and a race for local children. The British official photographer, John Warwick Brooke is believed to have taken this photograph. [Original reads: 'BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Black Watch hold sports whilst resting. A Divisional Commander watching an event.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Highlanders cutting up branches to make fascines for road making'

(422) D.529 - Highlanders cutting up branches to make fascines for road making [ID: 74547354]

Five Highlanders are working in a wood, making fascines or bundles of branches. Three men in the background appear to be stripping off leaves and side shoots, while two men in the foreground arrange the poles across a framework reading for tying into bundles. The photograph is attributed to John Warwick Brooke. Fascines were used for military defence works and roads over wet ground from the Roman army onwards. The standard British military fascine is 18 feet long and 9 inches in diameter. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Highlanders cutting up branches to make fascines for road making.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Field farriers at work'

(423) D.532 - Field farriers at work [ID: 74547356]

Three mules are tied to wooden rails while farriers trim and rasp their hooves. The mule at the back is being calmed by a soldier. The farriers' tool boxes lie in the foreground. The box on the right, which is decorated by a fox head, has pincers lying on top of it. The wet conditions of the Front are illustrated by the mud which can be seen over the legs and bellies of the mules. Their hooves would have needed constant care to avoid lameness, but they would not generally have been shod. The photograph is by John Warwick Brooke. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Field Farriers at work.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Fascines ready to be carted away'

(424) D.534 - Fascines ready to be carted away [ID: 74547358]

Piles of fascines or brushwood bundles lie stacked beside a road, which runs along the edge of a deciduous wood. In the foreground the back of one army truck is visible. Three other trucks can be seen further down the road, ready for loading the timber. The photograph is by John Warwick Brooke. Fascines were particularly useful in the muddy conditions of the Western Front to attempt to provide a firm base to roads. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Fascines ready to be carted away. These are used for making roads over rough country.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Highlanders at work making fascines for road building'

(425) D.535 - Highlanders at work making fascines for road building [ID: 74547360]

Two Highlanders have a chain wrapped around the brushwood bundle or fascine and each is pressing down on a lever handle to tighten the chain so that the bundle can be tied. This photograph is by John Warwick Brooke. Woodland anywhere near the Front would have been used, for fascines, for brushwood to revet trenches and as heavier timber for piles. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Highlanders at work making fascines for road building.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Carrying a wounded man down to an ambulance'

(426) D.541 - Carrying a wounded man down to an ambulance [ID: 74547362]

A soldier in a tin hat is carrying a wounded sergeant on his back down a steep muddy bank helped by a corporal wearing a tin hat with MGC on it. Three other soldiers watch and a Red Cross man waits on the road beside the ambulance. This photograph is attributed to John Warwick Brooke. The back of the ambulance is open showing at least two other wounded soldiers sitting inside, one with his boots off. These men would be taken to field hospitals behind the lines. [Original reads: 'Carrying a wounded man down to an ambulance.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Rolling a big pile up for bridging purposes'

(427) D.542 - Rolling a big pile up for bridging purposes [ID: 74547364]

Four soldiers are rolling a large squared timber along two horizontal timbers which are being used as rails. Two other men use levers in front of the pile to steady it while officers watch. Another group of men further back are working on a vertical timber. Behind them there are dugouts and mules. In this scene, the photographer, John Warwick Brooke, has emphasised the lack of heavy mechanical equipment during World War I. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. rolling a big pile up for bridging purposes.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Rest on a shattered motor car'

(428) D.543 - Rest on a shattered motor car [ID: 74547366]

Two soldiers sitting, resting, on the wreck of a shattered car. The car is lying on its side behind a bank with a tree on it. Both men are wearing their tin hats and carrying their rifles. One of the rifles is in a cover. The men appear relaxed as if sharing a joke. This photograph, by John Warwick Brooke, appears posed and may have been intended to reassure the public in Britain. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. A rest on a shattered motor car.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'British machine which was blown over during the recent gale'

(429) D.544 - British machine which was blown over during the recent gale [ID: 74547368]

Aeroplane blown over during a storm. An aeroplane is lying upside down with considerable visible damage to the nose, wings and struts. Two air crewmen are standing on wooden ladders mending the underneath of the cockpit. A third man is kneeling beside one wing, apparently re-fitting one of the struts. This photograph by John Warwick Brooke eloquently illustrates the flimsy materials of the early fighter planes, with thin wooden struts and light timber frames. [Original reads: 'A British machine which was blown over during the recent gale.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Three youthful German prisoners of 17 years resting on their way to the cage'

(430) D.544 - Three youthful German prisoners of 17 years resting on their way to the cage [ID: 74547322]

Three German prisoners of war, during World War I. The photograph focuses on three young-looking prisoners of war. Their clothes are caked in mud and are a mishmash of styles. The soldier on the left still has his helmet, but the others have bandages wrapped round their heads. They have tags attached to their coats. They are sitting, contemplatively, on a pile of rubble looking out over flat fields. It is thought that John Warwick Brooke is responsible for this picture. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. Three youthful German prisoners of 17 years resting on their way to the cage.' James Arthur Porter, Sr. a physician, comments in his war diary on the 28 September 1918, 'This evening 500 sick and wounded came in and I got about 25 wounded. There are 9 wounded Germans in this bunch - they are glad they are captured.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Counting the prisoners as they come in from Beaumont Hamel'

(431) D.547 - Counting the prisoners as they come in from Beaumont Hamel [ID: 74547370]

A line of German prisoners walk up a slope into a barbed wire enclosure. British soldiers from several regiments watch. One is counting and listing numbers on a paper held against his knee. A soldier with a rifle and fixed bayonet follows the prisoners. Beaumont Hamel was the last offensive in the Battle of the Somme, when it was captured on November 13th, 1916. The photographer, John Warwick Brooke, appears to have composed the picture so that the prisoners appear dominated by the soldier who is counting them. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. Counting the prisoners as they come in from Beaumont Hamel.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Row of our wounded of the 13th having light refreshments at the Dressing Station'

(432) D.548 - Row of our wounded of the 13th having light refreshments at the Dressing Station [ID: 74547372]

A row of wounded soldiers are seated by a road at a dressing station. Their injuries appear to have been dressed, several have bandaged heads. Some have labels attached to their tunics. They are eating sandwiches and drinking, some are also smoking. These men had been wounded in the final offensive of the Battle of the Somme, the capture of Beaumont Hamel. The photographer, John Warwick Brooke has tried to make this group appear relaxed but the strained expression of one soldier reflects the futility and horror of the Somme. [Original reads: 'A row of our wounded of the 13th having light refreshments at the Dressing Station.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Boche Colonel, a Major and an Adjutant captured near St. Pierre Divion'

(433) D.550 - Boche Colonel, a Major and an Adjutant captured near St. Pierre Divion [ID: 74547376]

This is a posed shot of four German prisoners, three seated on a bank beside a road, the fourth standing beside them. Three of the prisoners are smoking. Just behind the prisoners a camera tripod is visible, with the legs of the photographer and a woman. The posed nature of this shot and the second camera visible in the background suggest that the photographer, John Warwick Brooke, intended this image for propaganda. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. A Boche Colonel, a Major and an Adjutant captured near St. Pierre Divion.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Sandwich for one of our wounded at the Dressing Station'

(434) D.553 - Sandwich for one of our wounded at the Dressing Station [ID: 74547382]

Two wounded soldiers are lying on stretchers at a Dressing Station. One of them appears unconscious. The other, who has a bandaged leg, is being offered a plate of sandwiches. Several Red Cross workers and other men, possibly stretcher bearers, stand around. In this photograph, John Warwick Brooke, the probable photographer, has made a stark contrast between the homely plate of sandwiches and the mud and mess of the Dressing Station. [Original reads: 'A sandwich for one of our wounded at the Dressing Station.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Few of our many prisoners taken in Beaumont Hamel'

(435) D.554 - Few of our many prisoners taken in Beaumont Hamel [ID: 74547384]

The photographer has photographed lines of German prisoners standing in a barbed wire enclosure beside a railway track. One batch is being marched out down the track. The scene appears relaxed, one of the British guards is leaning on his rifle butt and another at the back appears to be sitting talking with several of the Germans. Beaumont Hamel and St Pierre Divion were both captured by the Allies on November 13th and some 4,000 Germans were taken prisoner. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. A few of our many prisoners taken in Beaumont Hamel.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Probable date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Wounded Tommy showing his helmet with a piece blown out'

(436) D.557. - Wounded Tommy showing his helmet with a piece blown out [ID: 74547388]

Soldiers who have had their wounds dressed are sitting along a bank, drinking tea. One of them, who has a bandaged head, is being shown his damaged steel helmet by one of the First Aid workers. The photographer, probably John Warwick Brooke, took a number of photographs at this Dressing Station. Steel helmets, which were only introduced at the end of 1915, reduced the number of fatal head wounds by some 80%. Many soldiers found them uncomfortable until they realised the protection they gave. [Original reads: ' A wounded Tommy showing his helmet with a piece blown out.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Prisoners rolling in from Les Boefs on the 25th September showing a tank in the distance'

(437) D.559 - Prisoners rolling in from Les Boefs on the 25th September showing a tank in the distance [ID: 74547390]

German prisoners march down the road towards the photographer, probably John Warwick Brooke. Some of the Germans are wounded and are being helped by their comrades. They are led by a British soldier with his rifle at the ready and bayonet fixed. Other British soldiers watch in the foreground. Tanks had been used in the war for the first time only ten days earlier on 15 September, 1916. The early tanks were cumbersome and often got stuck. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. Prisoners rolling in from Les Boefs on the 25th September showing a tank in the distance.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Probable date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Rolling a huge shell up to the gun'

(438) D.563 - Rolling a huge shell up to the gun [ID: 74547392]

This photograph shows a team of four soldiers rolling a very large shell up a set of small rails, presumably towards the gun. Another group of four stand in the background preparing to unload the next shell from the transport vehicle. These shells appear to be about 1 foot in diameter and up to 1 yd long. Plentiful manpower meant that developments in artillery were not matched by the development of lifting machinery. [Original reads: 'THE BRITISH ADVANCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. (Official Photograph.) Rolling a huge shell up to the gun.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Big shells for one of our guns'

(439) D.565 - Big shells for one of our guns [ID: 74547394]

Five British soldiers, watched by an officer, are preparing to unload large shells from a trailer. Three of the men appear to be pulling out a ramp at the back of the trailer. Horse teams pulling carts can be seen further back along the road. John Warwick Brooke, the probable photographer, has recorded an almost domestic scene in the background, with washing on a line between trees in front of a tent. This camp behind the lines would have seemed like luxury compared with the trenches. [Original reads: 'THE BRITISH ADVANCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. (Official Photograph.) Big shells for one of our guns.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Clearing up in St. Pierre Divion'

(440) D.568 - Clearing up in St. Pierre Divion [ID: 74547396]

Soldiers, with their rifles on their backs with bayonets fixed, are searching through rubble, apparently for weapons left behind by the German troops. A pile of German rifles can be seen in the foreground. To the right, one man is laughing as he shows some small item to another soldier. This photograph must have been taken by John Warwick Brooke, the likely photographer, soon after 13th November when the Allies captured both St. Pierre Divion and Beaumont Hamel. [Original reads: 'THE BRITISH ADVANCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Clearing up in St. Pierre Divion.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Probable date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Boche machine guns captured at Beaucourt sur Ancre'

(441) D.569 - Boche machine guns captured at Beaucourt sur Ancre [ID: 74547398]

Two soldiers are sitting on the edge of a German trench examining captured German machine guns. The entrance to the German dugout is in the background. The soldier in the background has the cap badge of the North Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's) printed on the cover over his tin hat. This shows the Prince of Wales's plume over the rope knot of the Stafford family. The regiment was amalgamated in 1961. The derogatory term for a German, 'Boche’ or 'Bosch’, originates from the French slang 'alboche’, which was two words 'Allemand’ (German) and 'caboche’ (pate, head) put together. John Warwick Brooke, the probable photographer, appears to have posed this photograph to emphasise the Allied capture of German weapons. [Original reads: 'THE BRITISH ADVANCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. (Official Photograph.) Boche machine guns captured at Beaucourt sur Ancre.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Probable date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Cleaning up German trenches at St. Pierre Divion'

(442) D.570 - Cleaning up German trenches at St. Pierre Divion [ID: 74547400]

In the foreground a group of British soldiers are sorting through equipment abandoned in the trenches by the Germans when St Pierre Divion was captured. One soldier has three rifles slung on his shoulder, another has two. Others are looking at machine gun ammunition. The probable photographer, John Warwick Brooke, has achieved considerable depth of field as many other soldiers can be seen in the background far along the trenches. The 1916 Somme offensive had cost many lives and gained very little ground. Photographs like this were important to reassure the British at home that gains were being made. [Original reads: 'THE BRITISH ADVANCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. (Official Photograph.) Cleaning up German trenches at St. Pierre Divion.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'All that is left at the station of Beaumont Hame'

(443) D.572 - All that is left at the station of Beaumont Hame [ID: 74547402]

This photograph, probably taken by John Warwick Brooke, shows the only surviving wall of the station building at Beaumont Hamel. Part of the station sign is still legible. To the left there is a burnt out engine on what remains of the track. Photographs like this illustrate the extent of the destruction in this part of France and the enormous task of rebuilding the infrastructure of the area after the war. [Original reads: 'THE BRITISH ADVANCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. (Official Photograph.) All that is left at the station of Beaumont Hamel.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Probable date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Smashed up mill near St. Pierre Divion'

(444) D.574 - Smashed up mill near St. Pierre Divion [ID: 74547404]

This shows a ruined brick-built watermill beside a fairly wide river, which is probably the Ancre. The vertical mill wheel has been exposed. Other ruined brick buildings are in the background. The photograph is attributed to John Warwick Brooke. St Pierre Divion, Beaumont-Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-Ancre were finally captured on 13th and 14th November, 1916 after four and a half months of heavy fighting and huge numbers of casualties. This action, sometimes called the 'Battle of Ancre', was part of the 1916 Somme offensive. [Original reads: 'THE BRITISH ADVANCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Official Photograph.) A smashed up mill near St. Pierre Divion.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Probable date created: 1916

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Out from the trenches, one has a rest, the other cleans his rifle'

(445) D.586 - Out from the trenches, one has a rest, the other cleans his rifle [ID: 74547412]

Two soldiers are set against a background of the muddy wasteland of the Front, with devastated trees on the skyline. One is half sitting, half lying in the mud with his rifle on the ground beside him. It is not clear if he is injured or just exhausted. Beside him another soldier is standing, trying to clean the mud off his rifle. In this photograph John Warwick Brooke, the likely photographer, has captured the mud and exhaustion of the trenches. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. Out from the trenches, one has a rest, the other cleans his rifle.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Trench running through a ruined village'

(446) D.588 - Trench running through a ruined village [ID: 74547414]

A brick-built house stands in ruins with its slate roof collapsing in. A trench has been dug almost to the base of the wall. A little bridge over the trench leads to piles of crates and rubbish. The remains of a wood lie in the background. This is an official photograph , probably taken by John Warwick Brooke, but it is far less posed than many of his images. It seems to record the devastation of the village without allocating the blame for it. [Original reads: . 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. A trench running through a ruined village.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Tommy's billet'

(447) D.591 - Tommy's billet [ID: 74547416]

This is a light-hearted photograph showing a group of soldiers leaning out of the windows of a ruined house. They appear to be throwing rubbish out, including a tin hat and a pile of what appear to be shell cases. A ruined cart on wheels lies in the foreground. 'Tommy’ is 'Tommy Atkins’, a fictional hero figure representing the average British soldier. When the Allies captured villages, troops were billeted in the houses. To make this more difficult, he Germans often destroyed houses and poisoned water supplies. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. Tommy's billet.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'London coffee stall at the front'

(448) D.592 - London coffee stall at the front [ID: 74547418]

Soldiers is queuing at a mobile refreshment van. The van had belonged to H- Bros., established 1892 and still bears its pre-war signs for 'Tobaccos, Cigars, Sardines, Coffee, Tea and Bovril.'] It would have been horse-drawn. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. A London coffee stall at the front.' John Warwick Brooke (the probable photographer), appears to have taken this photograph in one of the small towns behind the front. The large building in the background has a pre-war sign, 'Salle de Reunion' or 'Meeting Hall.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'House shelled falls over the trench'

(449) D.593 - House shelled falls over the trench [ID: 74547420]

This photograph shows a group of soldiers with shovels clearing rubble from a trench. A shelled house has collapsed across part of the trench. A high brick wall stands behind the soldiers. Despite the shell damage the men seem quite relaxed, suggesting that this was either taken between offensives or was a posed shot. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. A house shelled falls over the trench.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918

Thumbnail for 'Highlanders at work broadening a road'

(450) D.595 - Highlanders at work broadening a road [ID: 74547422]

Highlanders are widening a road with a high bank to one side. They have cut the bank into four terraces and are throwing the earth up from one terrace to the next, away from the road. A sign at the top points out 'Divisional Head Quarters.' The photograph is thought to have been taken by John Warwick Brooke. As army transport became increasingly motorised and heavier, village roads often needed widening. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. Highlanders at work broadening a road.']

Photographer: Brooke, John Warwick

Date created: 1916-1918