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September 9, 2015

38 Striking Black-and-White Photographs Glimpse into Everyday Life of Soldiers and Civilians during World War I

As countries caught up in the war sent soldiers to the front lines, they also built support behind the lines and at home, with women taking many roles. As villages became battlefields, refugees were scattered across Europe.

French soldiers stand in a relaxed group wearing medals. The medals appear to be the Military Medal, established on 25th March, 1916, for acts of bravery. They have probably been awarded for their part in the Battle of the Somme. The French helmets, with their very distinct crests, can be seen clearly. (National Library of Scotland)

Private Ernest Stambash, Co. K, 165th Infantry, 42nd division, receives a cigarette from Miss Anna Rochester, American Red Cross volunteer at Evacuation Hospital No. 6 and 7, at Souilly, Meuse, France, on October 14, 1918. (AP Photo)

Three unidentified New Zealand servicemen riding camels during World War I, the Sphinx and a pyramid in the background. (James McAllister/National Library of New Zealand)

A large group of soldiers, likely South African infantry, having a good time. They are stamping their feet and brandishing anything that comes to hand, from walking sticks to swords. It is all being done in a light-hearted fashion, with most of the men pulling funny faces and smiling. Many of the soldiers are wearing kilts and balmorals. (National Library of Scotland)

A French officer has tea with English military personnel during World War I. (Library of Congress)

Western front, a group of captured Allied soldiers representing 8 nationalities: Anamite (Vietnamese), Tunisian, Senegalese, Sudanese, Russian, American, Portugese, and English. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)

German prisoners assist in bringing in Australian wounded. (National Media Museum/Australian War Records Section)

Interior, German military kitchen, ca. 1917. (Brett Butterworth)

U.S. Signal Corps telephone operators in Advance Sector, 3 km from the trenches in France. The women were part of the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit and were also known as Hello Girls. Women have helmets and gas masks in bags on back of chairs. (National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, USA)

British soldier poses in mouth of a captured 38 caliber gun during World War I. (AP Photo)

Unidentified time and location, photograph from the "Pictorial Panorama of the Great War" collection, simply titled "Merci, Kamerad". (State Library of New South Wales)

Massed German prisoners in France, probably taken after the Allied advance of August 1918. (National Library of Scotland)

French soldier whose face was mutilated in World War I, being fitted with a mask made at the American Red Cross studio of Anna Coleman Ladd. (Library of Congress)

Recruits line up at a New York army camp shortly after President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany, in April of 1917. (AP Photo)

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (W.A.A.C.) members play field hockey with soldiers in France, during World War I, drying greens and convalescent home buildings visible in the background. (National Library of Scotland)

Red Cross volunteers Alice Borden, Helen Campbell, Edith McHieble, Maude Fisher, Kath Hoagland, Frances Riker, Marion Penny, Fredericka Bull, and Edith Farr. (Library of Congress)

"Wild Eye", the Souvenir King. (Frank Hurley/National Media Museum)

A member of the British First Aid Nursing Yeomanry oiling her car near the Western Front. (National Library of Scotland)

Undated image, reportedly of Corporal Adolf Hitler of the German Army, standing at left (under the "+") with his comrades forming the band "Kapelle Krach", during recovery from an injury he received on the western front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Dressed in a rather exotic uniform of army boots, army caps and fur coats, this image shows five female members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry standing in front of some Red Cross ambulances. As the first female recruits of this organization came from the ranks of the upper classes, perhaps the fur coats should not be too surprising. The women would have worked as drivers, nurses and cooks. Established by Lord Kitchener in 1907, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) was initially an auxiliary unit of women nurses on horseback, who linked the military field hospitals with the frontline troops. Serving in dangerous forward areas, by the end of the conflict First Aid Nursing Yeomanry members had been awarded 17 Military Medals, 1 Legion d'Honneur and 27 Croix de Guerre. A memorial to those women who lost their lives while working for the organization, can be found at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, London. (National Library of Scotland)

Guiseppe Uggesi, an Italian soldier in 223rd Infantry, who was in an Austrian Prison Camp at Milowitz, confined to bed with tuberculosis in January of 1919. (Library of Congress)

Labour Corps members, the caption identifies these seven men as 'native police'. They are probably black South Africans who had contracted to work in the South African Native Labour Contingent (SANLC). In general the native police and NCOs were recruited from tribal chiefs or high-status native families. Some 20,000 South Africans worked in the SANLC during the war. They were not meant to be in combat zones, but there were inevitable deaths when the docks or transport lines on which they worked were bombed. The greatest tragedy was the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on February 21, 1917, when 617 members of the SANLC were drowned in the English Channel. (National Library of Scotland)

Some Canadian wounded being taken to the dressing station on a light railway from the firing line. (Nationaal Archief)

German troops in Finland during the Finnish Civil War, part of a series of conflicts spurred on by World War I. Red troops, both men and women, ready for deportation from Hango, in April of 1918. Two main groups, "Reds" and "Whites" were battling for control of Finland, with the Whites gaining the upper hand in April of 1918, helped by thousands of German soldiers. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)

A group of female carpenters work in a lumber yard in France, constructing wooden huts. While they do not have a uniform, all the women appear to be wearing a protective coat or pinafore over their clothing. It is thought this photograph was taken by the British official photographer, John Warwick Brooke. Q.M.A.A.C. stands for Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Formed in 1917 to replace the Women's Auxiliary Army Corp, by 1918 around 57,000 women made up the ranks of Q.M.A.A.C. (National Library of Scotland)

The Kaiser's Birthday. German officers during the Kaiser\'s birthday celebrations in Rauscedo, Italy, on January 27, 1918. (CC BY SA Carola Eugster)

French dragoon and chasseur soldiers at the beginning of World War One. (Library of Congress)

British ambulance drivers stand atop a pile of rubble. (Library of Congress)

Villagers interested in the arrival of British troops. (National Library of Scotland)

During downtime, soldiers from Britain, France and the USA, plus some members of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) watch French children playing in the sand, in France, during World War I. (National Library of Scotland)

British soldiers play football while wearing gas masks, France, 1916. (Bibliotheque nationale de France)

Three young-looking German prisoners of war. Their clothes are caked in mud and are a mishmash of styles. The soldier on the left still has his helmet, but the others have bandages wrapped round their heads. (National Library of Scotland)

Between Laon and Soissons, German railway troops wash their clothes beside 50 cm shells, on July 19, 1918. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)

Berlin -- Children of soldiers at front. (Library of Congress)

Watched by a group of locals, German prisoners of war walk down a street in the French town of Solesmes, on November 1, 1918, near the end of World War I. (Henry Armytage Sanders/National Library of New Zealand)

German NCOs from Infanterie-Regiment No. 358 pose for the photographer as if they were drinking wine, feasting on gherkins and playing cards while wearing gas masks. (Brett Butterworth)

French patrol in occupied Essen, Germany. (Library of Congress)

The Famous 369th Arrive in New York City ca. 1919. Members of the 369th [African American] Infantry, formerly 15th New York Regulars. (U.S. National Archives)

(via The Atlantic)


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