Somme100: Picturing the Battle of the Somme in 1916

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A century ago the first news stories relating to the Battle of the Somme began to appear in the British press. There was little awareness at this stage of the huge scale of losses on 1st July 1916, nor that the attack had been a failure except in some limited areas.

Illustrating the kicking of Billie Neville's footballs on 1st July 1916.

Illustrating the kicking of Billie Neville’s footballs on 1st July 1916.

But the press were already busy giving the story of the battle a positive spin. The Illustrated London News was a broadsheet size illustrated magazine with in-house artists who depicted the battle in contemporary drawings when at this stage largely no photographs were available.

Indian Cavalry at High Wood

Indian Cavalry at High Wood

These illustrations depict the bravery of the British soldier on the battlefield, and while they are propaganda they are well observed with details of uniforms and equipment all correct: in some respect that was a vital factor in them being believable.One hundred years later these images are part of the history themselves but they give a fascinating insight into how the Somme was depicted at the time.

 

Somme Images Go Online

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As part of my own contribution to Somme100 I am placing images relating to the Battle of the Somme online so they can be downloaded and used by teachers, those working in WW1 education, battlefield guides and those working on Somme100 projects and exhibitions. The images are all copyright expired from wartime publications and are available to use for all. They are stored on Dropbox and accessible via the link below.

The images cover wide ranging aspects of the Battle of the Somme, and hopefully will be of particular interest to those who work in education. I hope you find them of use – and if you do make use of them leave some comments below to tell everyone about what you are doing!

The images can be downloaded here: Somme100 Images in Dropbox.

 

 

Somme Sunsets & The WFA 2014 Calendar

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I have a penchant for taking photographs of sunsets, especially on the Somme Battlefields (such as that above). The huge open landscapes make it particularly suitable for this type of photography, as well as the connection to events there in 1916.

I was therefore very pleased when the Western Front Association contacted me to use a few of my photographs in their new 2014 Calendar which contains photographs of the WW1 battlefields in France and Flanders as they are today. There are some amazing images from people like Andrew Holmes, Steve Smith and Nick Stone, among others.

The WFA is also a registered charity, so buying the Calendar really helps.

It can be ordered via this link.