Diving for dear life / When we could be diving for pearls

Sev­er­al shots from The Great War that turned up in recent weeks. The first five are new to me. Dad was going through old box­es belong­ing to his father and came across these snaps tak­en in Egypt and France in 1916–17. The first is on top of the Great Pyra­mid in Giza — a whole troop of New Zealand boys made the epic climb to the top — just to say they had I guess.

The next few are in France (or Bel­gium). The first thing you won­der, of course, is how many of these young men (my grand­fa­ther was ear­ly 20s at the time) nev­er returned.

The final shot is some­thing alto­geth­er dif­fer­ent — tak­en by my Great-Uncle, Julian Brook, in Gal­lipoli — of a truce to bury the dead. He lat­er died of wounds in France. There is a whole album of Gal­lipoli shots, now with the Auck­land War Memo­r­i­al Muse­um, tak­en by Uncle Julian.

Apart from the tragedy and per­son­al ties evi­denced in these shots, what also makes all these shots so poignant is that so few pri­vate shots tak­en by sol­diers, and not offi­cial­ly shot, exist of the war sim­ply because sol­diers were banned from tak­ing cam­eras to war. Thus most any shot you see like these comes from an illic­it — smug­gled — cam­era.


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Chad Tay­lor
August 17, 2011 at 11:55 am

These are fas­ci­nat­ing – thank you for post­ing.

Chad Tay­lor on Face­book
August 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm

These are great.

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