Tag Archive for Commons

Some shell cases on the roadside

Lone soldier surrounded by a mountain of empty shell cases, France. This lone British soldier up to his knees in spent shell cases, offers a striking impression of the destruction that took place on the Western Front. However, this picture only tells half the story, with the other part of the story being the damage that the shells from these cases inflicted upon the enemy. This photograph was taken by Tom Aitken, and may well have been used for propaganda purposes.

[Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Some shell cases on the roadside in the front area, the contents of which have been despatched over into the German lines.’]

Soldier’s comrades watching him as he sleeps

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.’]