Soldier’s comrades watching him as he sleeps, Thievpal, France, during World War I, a photo by National Library of Scotland on Flickr.
Soldiers are standing in a very deep, narrow trench, the walls of which are entirely lined with sandbags. At the far end of the trench a line of soldiers are squashed up looking over each others’ shoulders at the soldier asleep. The sleeping soldier is lying on a narrow ledge in an uncomfortable position but looks so relaxed and deeply asleep. His rifle is lying to hand and he is still fully equipped. His comrades in the background all appear to be smiling. Everyone is covered in dust and wearing muddy boots.
This photograph captures a very personal moment in this group of comrades war experience. It demonstrates the extreme conditions these men were living in and the humour they used to combat the effects of this.[Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE – Asleep within 100 yards of Thiepval.’]