Skip to comments.Images of Great War's lost generation.. captured by the UK's first female Press photographer
Posted on 12/16/2009 6:26:28 AM PST by C19fan
Posing proudly for the camera, they were young soldiers excitedly preparing for the adventure of war. But as they flung arms around friends and family members in smoke-filled stations or stood to attention in arrow-straight ranks, few could have guessed at the horrors ahead. Within months, many would lie dead in the mud of Passchendaele, the Somme and other bloody battlefields. The photos are now part of an archive of 2,000 predominantly military prints that has been hidden from public view for decades.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Excellent photos. Thanks for posting a link for us.
This is my grandfathers generation, and it looks so long ago.
1914: the world changed.
And the web gear,and the hats, and the uniforms.
Good picture of the use of stacking swiveles.
Aside from one or two that look mostly British, those are American faces.
And that was pretty late in the war, so (contrary to the article) they knew full well what they were up against.
Ah, a colonial unit, then. It's probably from the Spanish-American war, the uniforms aren't quite right for later and I think the Krag was out of the inventory by then.
I still say the war should have ended with political and military hangings all 'round.
From a different war and generation, but fitting nonetheless...
I suppose with the massive build up in the US Military after war was declared they probably had a shortage of Springfields. I went to a Civil War show and some of the vendors were selling Krags. I thought it was very nice from an aesthetic viewpoint and unique with the side door although I understand why the US Army would switch to the Springfield, a licensed Mauser.
Sadly beautiful. Reminder that we will stand and usher out the WW2 generation and all of the eyes and ears of those last 2 wars will be gone.
> Aside from one or two that look mostly British, those are American faces.
Hmmmm... the caption in the article shows them as the Household Division. Bags I those would be British soldiers. Several of them look distinctly Maori.
Rifles are the old .30-40 Krag, which was a strictly American made and issued rifle - a rimmed round that closely resembles and is ballistically about on a par with the .303 British. Uniforms are American pattern, not British (check the collar and the buttons especially).
Also, check out the canteen on one of the rifle stacks that is clearly marked "U.S."
The fellow you might think looks Maori is probably a Boston Irishman (the resemblance is probably due to the Irish being one of the last aboriginal warrior tribes in Europe, the Highland Scots being the other). He is a dead ringer for my husband's grandfather, who was an off-the-boat boy from Kilkenny. There's another guy halfway down the row that looks like he might be part black.
> Ah, a colonial unit, then. It’s probably from the Spanish-American war, the uniforms aren’t quite right for later and I think the Krag was out of the inventory by then.
I *believe* the Yanks mostly used the M1903 Springfield in WW-I, but I’m no expert. I’m inclined to believe the photo — if it says the “Household Division” they wouldn’t have picked that name out of a hat easily.
The Yanks *did* provide kit to the British for WW-I — I had a really nice British (later Canadian ) P-14 many years ago whose barrel and action were made in the US. I enjoyed that rifle more than any firearm I ever owned. Called her “Boomie” for reasons you might imagine!
Thanks for the link. The pictures are amazing.
> Rifles are the old .30-40 Krag, which was a strictly American made and issued rifle
Therein lies they mystery. I believe the US Krag was long obsolete by WW-I for front-line troops, replaced by the M1903 Springfield — here is what Wikipedia has to say:
“The Krag was completely phased out of service in the Regular Army by 1907, as M1903 Springfields became available, however, the Krag was issued for many more years with the National Guard and the Army Reserve, including service in World War I with rear-echelon U.S. troops in France and as training arms at various Stateside bases. Later, many were issued to veterans’ organizations such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars for use in military ceremonies. Still others were sold to civilians through the Civilian Marksmanship Program.”
As America didn’t join WW-I until quite late, those firearms would be long obsolete. You would expect US troops to have brand new Springfields.
Rear echelon US troops perhaps? If so, maybe not headed to Flanders.
The caption reads: The war was three years old when this U.S. contingent arrived at Wellington Barracks, in London, in 1917 before heading out to the front.
Did they change it?
Yes they did. At least the Daily Mail was listening to the comments.
You can tell the other pictures at the site are early, even without the captions - not a helmet in sight, which came after all those head wounds showed up.
The "Bermondsey B'hoys" reminds me of the year-later "Pals Battalions" where whole neighborhoods joined as a unit -- and slaughtered as a unit - leaving many communities looking like ghost towns.
Someone once said that we "stand on the shoulders of others" and it is so true. I almost tear up when I think of the sacrifices those in the past have made and what we are allowing now.
The shortage of Springfields resulted in shifting production of Pattern 1914 rifles in 303 for export to the Brits to the U.S. Rifle Model of 1917 in 30’06 by Remington, Remington’s Eddystone factory and Winchester. 1903’s in WWI were manufactured at Government armories [Springfield and Rock Island] could not produce enough rifles for the build up. As a consequence of the shortage of more modern U.S. rifles, some of the obsolete Krag’s were pressed into service although probably never into combat zones.BTW, the 1917s while subjectively not as pretty as the Springfields were strong, serviceable and were available in greater quantities than the 1903s.
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