Storys And Photos From The Great War And World War 2

Graham Charles Lear
38 min readJul 30, 2020


Two of the world's worst wars took place between 1914 and 1945.

These are photographs from those wars and the short stories that go with them.

All of them were originally black and white photographs. Now they are colored we see the young men an all sides in a different light.

Major David V. Currie (left with a handgun) of the 29th Canadian Armoured Reconnaissance Regt. (The South Alberta Regiment), is in conversation with R. Lowe of ‘C’ Company, at the time that members of 2.Pz.Div., commanded by Hauptmann Siegfried Rauch are surrendering to Sgt. Major G. Mitchell of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives, Calvados. 18 August 1944.

Major Currie’s original citation was for a Distinguished Service Order but the commanding officer of the SARs, Lt.-Col. Wotherspoon changed it to a Victoria Cross on or about 26 August 1944. The citation is reproduced in its entirety below. While the SP M-10s are noted as being in Currie’s task force, they ended up with RHQ on Hill 117 and were not in the village of St. Lambert itself.

From the time he was awarded the Victoria Cross, Major Currie himself stressed the fact that any of the SAR squadrons could have done the same job he did in St. Lambert. He took pains to ensure that the battle in St. Lambert was viewed in its proper context; that being as only a single part of the whole regimental battle.

On 18th August 44 C Squadron 29 Cdn. Regt. (SAR) with under command B company A & S H of C and one troop, 17 pounder self-propelled antitank guns were ordered to advance to Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives to cut the Trun-Chambois escape route. Major D. V. Currie was in command of this force, the strength of which was 175 all ranks, 15 tanks, and 4 self-propelled anti-tank guns.
By 2000 hrs. the armored element of the force, moving in advance of the infantry, had reached the outskirts of the village where it was engaged by strong enemy forces. The two leading tanks had entered Saint-Lambert but had been knocked out by 88 mm guns. Their crews were unable to get out of the village. Major Currie realized that only by immediate infantry attack could the village be captured that night, and, since the supporting infantry had not yet arrived, requested permission to dismount his squadron and attack the enemy position on foot. This request was not granted.

At last light, Major Currie was permitted to proceed into the village to reconnoiter the enemy defenses and to extricate the crews of the disabled tanks. Although his approach route was under heavy mortar fire, he proceeded into the village on foot through enemy outposts, made his reconnaissance, personally directed the evacuation of the tank crews, remained until they were clear, and then returned to his headquarters.

On his return, the supporting infantry and anti-tank guns had arrived and Major Currie personally visited their positions to co-ordinate their defenses and re-site their weapons to cover all possible enemy approaches to his position. He then reported to his Commanding Officer and was ordered to attack the village at first light the following morning.

At 0535 hrs. 19 Aug. ten minutes before the attack was to start, he was advised that the expected artillery support would not be available since the guns were out of range. Nevertheless, Major Currie personally led the attack in the face of intense opposition by enemy armor, artillery, and infantry, and by noon succeeded in reaching a point approximately half-way into the village. Here, realizing his attack was losing its impetus in the face of increasing enemy reinforcements, he decided to consolidate this position before proceeding further. He organized the position accordingly and again made a tour of weapon pits, gun sites, and tanks, encouraging the men by his calmness, his sound orders, and his complete disregard for the numerical superiority of the enemy.

The enemy promptly counter-attacked this position but so skilfully had Major Currie’s defense been organized that the attack was repulsed with severe casualties to the enemy. During the following 36 hours a series of further counter-attacks increased in strength and ferocity throughout the period they were successively beaten off in very heavy fighting by the stubborn resistance of Major Currie’s force.

At dusk on 20 Aug., from the squadron position, enemy infantry could be seen massing for an attack which later proved to be the final effort on the enemy’s part. Major Currie personally sited one troop of tanks to engage this force and directed their fire so effectively that the attack was never mounted. The destruction of this attacking force was the turning point in this action. During the morning of 21 Aug. 800, all ranks from this force alone surrendered; by noon the German morale was broken and Major Currie’s force had completed the capture of the village. As a result, the Trun-Chambois escape route was completely denied to the remnant of two German armies.

Throughout the three days’ action, Major Curries’ conduct and self-sacrifice were a magnificent example to all ranks of the force under his command. On one occasion he directed the fire of his command tank onto a Tiger tank which had been harassing his position and succeeded in knocking it out. During another attack, while the guns of his command tank were taking on other targets at longer ranges, he used a rifle from the turret to deal with individual snipers who had infiltrated to within fifty yards of his headquarters. On the one occasion when reinforcements were able to get through to his force, he led the forty men forward into their positions and explained the importance of their task as a part of the defense. When, during the next attack, these new reinforcements withdrew under the intense fire brought down by the enemy, he collected them and led them forward into position again, where, inspired by his leadership they held for the remainder of the battle. The employment of his artillery support, which became available after his original attack went in, was typical of his cool calculation of the risks involved in every situation. At one time, even though short rounds were falling within fifteen yards of his tank, he ordered fire from medium artillery to continue because of its devastating effect upon the attacking enemy in his immediate area.

During this operation, the casualties to Major Currie’s force were very heavy. However, he never considered the possibility of failure or allowed it to enter the minds of his men. In the words of one of his non-commissioned officers. “We knew at one stage that it was going to be a fight to the finish but he was so cool about it, it was impossible for us to get excited.” Since all the officers under his command were either killed or wounded during the action he had virtually no respite from his duties and obtained only one hour’s sleep during the entire period. Nevertheless, he did not permit his fatigue to become apparent to his troops and throughout the action took every opportunity to visit weapon pits and other defensive posts to talk to his men, to advise them as to the best use of their weapons and to cheer them with words of encouragement. When his force was finally relieved and he was satisfied that the turnover was complete he fell asleep on his feet and collapsed.

There can be no doubt that the success of this force’s task on and stand against the enemy at Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives can only be attributed to this officer’s coolness, inspired leadership, and skillful use of the limited weapons at his disposal.

The courage and complete disregard for personal safety shown by Major Currie will forever be an inspiration to his regiment; his conspicuous bravery and extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy an example to the Canadian Army for all time.

(Photo source -Library and Archives Canada, pa-111565)

26 July 1944
Major General Manton S. Eddy, Division Commander (seated in the jeep with his hand on the windshield) pauses to get information from US 9th Division infantrymen in the hamlet of La Cour Miette near Les Champs de Losque, in the push toward Marigny, Normandy. The frontline for ‘Operation Cobra’

On July 10, 1944, VII Corps was on the offensive with the 4th, 9th, and 83rd Infantry Divisions abreast. Crossing the Canal de Vire, the 9th Division moved on the Hommet Woods. Slowly but surely pushing on, it moved until it reached the St. Lo — Perriers Road by July 21st. A lot of action took place on July 25, 1944. On this day all troops of the 47th Infantry Regiment were pulled back about 1200 yards north of the Periers — St. Lo road.

They assembled in an area west of Ponte Ducrie, near the hamlets of La Cuillourie and Ponte Hairie. 1st Battalion held the area at the west, 2nd Battalion was in the middle and the 1st Battalion on the east. The allied bombing started by medium bombers and the first raid went OK. However, by the time that the heavy bombers arrived, the south wind had blown the smoke designating the bomb line back onto the troops. As a result, the heavy bombers bombed their own men. Men of the 1st Battalion only suffered a few casualties.

They were lucky, as one of the bombs dropped right in the middle of an aid station, but it proved to be a dud and did not explode. 2nd Battalion also escaped with slight losses. The 3rd Battalion however suffered heavily. The Command Group of 30 men were all killed or wounded except for the Battalion commander and the Commander of K Company. Several other members of K Company and one platoon of M Company also suffered losses during the bombing. This all happened in the morning, around 0930 hours. Around 1100 hours, the 2nd Battalion began to push forward and attacked an area near La Couperie. 1st Battalion fought near La Rillerie and went towards Marigny and the Periers — St Lo Road. 3rd Battalion took a bit longer to prepare and fought their way via Montreuil. It sure was a tough day for the 9th Infantry Division.

This is what that scene looks like now

Glider troops of “D” Company, 2nd Battalion The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, who had been on their way to DZ-W to collect supplies, pose for a photograph with a local French girl on a German DKW NZ 350 motorbike in Bénouville, Calvados. 15 June 1944

Left to right: Private Musty (with a German MP40 machine gun), CQMS Smith, Captain Brian Priday, an unknown 12th Devonshires man, L/Cpl William Lambley, and Private Frank Gardner.

(The Hotel/Bar is still there and is now named ‘La Glycine’ in Place du Commando)

(Photo source — © IWM B 5585)
Mapham, James (Sergeant)
№5 Army Film and Photo Section, Army Film and Photographic Unit

Lt John Fothergill, Cpl Stan Walmsley, Tr. Jim Swain and L/Cpl David Thomas of ‘B’ Squadron, 5th Battalion, 107th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (King’s Own), 34th Tank Brigade, on their Mk IV Churchill “Briton” tank, in a bivouac area behind the front lines, southwest of Caen. 17 July 1944.

John Alvin Fothergill, born Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire 22/8/1915 — died 14 August 1944, buried at Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France

At the beginning of July 1944, 107 RAC embarked at Gosport for Normandy with the rest of the 34th Tank Brigade. Fighting in the Normandy Campaign as an independent brigade under 21st Army Group command, it could be assigned to support any infantry division that required the assistance of tanks, its regiments usually split up to form brigade groups with the infantry.

107 RAC went into action on 15 July during Operation Greenline, part of the Second Battle of the Odon, designed to pin German forces so that they could not interfere with the planned breakout from the Normandy beachhead (codenamed Operation Cobra). The regiment supported the 15th (Scottish) Division in a night attack towards Evreux. 107 RAC’s War Diary records that ‘the attack from the inf. point of view was a complete success’, but complains that the regiment’s tanks were blinded by the ‘excellent’ smoke laid down by the artillery and infantry, and were late withdrawing the following day. The regiment had lost six tanks, with six men killed, seven wounded, and one missing. On 22 July 107 RAC supported troops of 53rd (Welsh) Division in a raid and then went to support 59th (Staffordshire) Division in case of counter-attack.

On 7 August, 107 RAC moved up in support of 176th Brigade, 59th Division who had established a bridgehead across the River Orne. A Squadron managed to ford the river, followed by C Sqn. The Germans put in a vigorous counter-attack and some of the British infantry withdrew, leaving 107 RAC’s two forward squadrons exposed to attacks by Tiger and Panther tanks. Despite heavy casualties, the bridgehead was held, but 107’s shattered squadrons had to be reformed as a single composite squadron until the regiment could be withdrawn from the line on 19 August.

(Photo source — © IWM B 7634)

14 July 1944, northwest of Saint-Lô, Normandy, France.
Soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Armored Division standing in front of a hedgerow, holding a sign, made out of cardboard and shaped like a German Cross that says, “Soldiers surrender — you are surrounded.”

Two men are armed with M1903 Springfields as a personal weapon. Until late 1944 and the introduction of the M7 Grenade launcher attachment for the Garand, the M1903 was the platform for grenade launching and 1 man per squad was armed with an M1903 variant. Also Col Hurley Fuller Regimental OC US 23 INF had his men armed with 1903 over the Garand at Normandy.

The Battle of Saint-Lô is one of the three conflicts in the Battle of the Hedgerows, which took place between July 7–19, 1944, just before Operation Cobra. Saint-Lô had fallen to Germany in 1940, and, after the Invasion of Normandy, the Americans targeted the city, as it served as a strategic crossroads.

American bombardments caused heavy damage (up to 95% of the city was destroyed) and a high number of casualties, which resulted in the martyr city being called “The Capital of Ruins”, popularized in a report by Samuel Beckett.

Captain L Cotton MM (left, wearing a ‘liberated’ German Iron Cross and an Italian aircrew’s ‘Marus’ jacket) with his Cromwell VI tank, ‘Old Bill’, and crew of 4th County of London Yeomanry, 7th Armoured Division, 17 June 1944. Cotton had been promoted to captain following the regiment’s action at Villers Bocage.

(Crew: Cpt. Cotton, L/Cpl. Hodgson, Tpr. H Jones, L/Cpl. Leonard “Ikey” Payne and front right Tpr. Humphreys)
nb. Both Jones and Payne are wearing the Africa Star Medal ribbon

War Diaries for 4rd County of London Yeomanry 13/6/44;
“Regt move forward at first light towards VILLERS BOCAGE 8157, A Sqn leading, followed by A Coy RB. No opposition and A Sqn reach feature East of VILLERS BOCAGE (area 8358). Column split at 823578 by two Tigers, RHQ brewed up completely. A Sqn continue and take up battle positions. B Sqn hold town but unable to get through to A Sqn. 1000 — A Sqn surrounded and attacked by Tigers and infantry. Call for immediate assistance, but none could get through.
1030 — CO, who was with A Sqn, reports position untenable, withdrawal impossible.
1035 — All stations go off the air. B Sqn ordered to hold village at all costs. 4Tp B Sqn, with infantry and A/Tk guns under Lt L Cotton MM, after a 6 hour street battle, destroy 4 Tigers and 3 Mark IV.
1600 — B Sqn reports village still held by us, but infantry in area 820575. 1/7th Queens attack, but fail to clear opposition. B Sqn Leader (now acting CO) ordered to withdraw Regt to 780580. This carried out without further loss. C Sqn cover withdrawal.
Major IB Aird takes over command of Regt, Major EP MacColl 2i/c, Capt FA Jarvis MC commands B Sqn, Capt KH Hiscock commands C Sqn.”

U.S. Army 2nd Division Tech Sgt. Meredith Rogers from California shows how lucky he was when his helmet got punctured by a sniper bullet, Normandy, July 13th, 1944.

The radio is a US SCR-300 Radio receiver/transmitter. In his lap rests a Thompson M1A1 ‘Tommygun’.

Meredith survived ww2 and passed away in 1994

British Sherman Firefly patrolling the Meuse at Namur, 1944

The Firefly belongs to the 1st Bn Coldstream Guards of 5th Guards Armoured Brigade of the Guards Armoured Division and taken on Christmas Day 1944.
The crew of this Firefly belongs to the troop commanded by then Lt ( later Cpt) Robert Boscawen MC who can be seen in the commander's position on the left. The story behind the photo was it was taken outside a hotel that was being used by the battalion and where he was billeted by a US photographer and asked Boscawen who had just got back to the hotel from getting a haircut to pose in the turret as the firefly was commanded by a Sgt Bastone.
He would later be seriously wounded and suffering burns when his Sherman was hit in April 1945.
Boscawen would later become a conservative MP and also wrote about his wartime experiences in his book Armoured Guardsman.

A Lancaster crew with 625 Sqn based at RAF Kelstern in Lincs.

They safely completed a full tour over the first half of 1944 including bombing the Normandy gun batteries overnight before the D-Day landings. They got off to a bad start with their first op being abandoned and they had to fly back fully bombed up! Other missions included Stuttgart, Dortmund, and two nights over Gelsenkirchen. One night trip to Paris saw them losing two engines to flak damage and a crash landing at RAF Manston in Kent.

Raymond Blissett the Flight Engineer leaning against the car to the right of the USAAF pilot Flt Lt Frank Marvin. Other crew members were Rear Gunner Wally Jetson, Bomb Aimer Alan Ashworth, Wireless Op Ron Dickinson, Mid Upper Gunner, Bill Leslie, and Navigator John Adlan.

Cpl. F.R. Smith of Queensland Australia squats in the high ‘Kunai’ grass with his Tommy Gun. November/December 1942 Gona Area, Papua New Guinea.

Smith has just come a 100 yards back from the frontline for food and a smoke during a lull in the fighting. He was part of a company that had been within grenade distance of the Japanese for 2 days and nights.

The Japanese retreated to the cover of the bush so that they could make use of sniping. The Aussies are in 5 ft. high ‘Kunai’ grass within grenade distance of the fringe of the bush surrounding Gona.

The allied victory at Gona cost the Japanese defenders over 800 dead; however, the Australian cost was also excessively high. Total Australian casualties numbered 893, with the 21st Brigade and 39th Battalion suffering the heaviest losses.

Photo: G. Silk

Members of the 92nd Infantry Division Drying Out in a Bomb Shattered House in Viareggio, Italy, 1944.

Left to right: Pvt. Edward Imes (1224 Rear Div. Ave., East St. Louis, Illinois)
T/5 William White (246 South Johnson Ave., Pontiac, Michigan)
Pfc. James B. Glasby (220 South Leffingwell Ave., St. Louis, Missouri)
and Pvt. Henry C. McKinney (651 Reed St., Atlanta, Georgia).

The 92nd Infantry Division was a segregated infantry division of the United States Army that served in both World War I and World War II. The 92nd Infantry Division was the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe during World War II, as part of the U.S. Fifth Army, fighting in the Italian Campaign. The division served in the Italian Campaign from 1944 to the war’s end.

The photograph was taken by Yaskell and provided by The National Archives and Records Administration.

National Archives Identifier: 178140858

Captain Thomas H. Garahan, ‘Easy’ Company, 2nd Battalion, 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division raises the ‘Stars and Stripes’ flag, made secretly by a local French girl. March 16, 1945

The photo was taken by the owner of the photographic shop in Rue Colonel Teyssier in the town of Bitche, in the Moselle department of Lorraine in northeastern France.

The 100th ID was later to be known as the “Sons of Bitche” after the liberation in 1945. Thomas Garahan was awarded the Bronze and Silver Stars and the Purple Heart. He was married, had seven children, and died on September 23, 1988.

(U.S. Signal Corps — U.S. National Archives)

This is what the street looks like now

Private Forrest Francis Thompson, a dispatch rider attached to the Canadian 12 Field Ambulance escorts a wounded captive Luftwaffe NCO who was captured during a German counter-attack in Sögel, Germany, 10 April 1945. Thompson is armed with a captured StG 44 and StG 44 magazines tucked in his pants. Tanks of the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division can be seen in the background.

Citation for the Military Medal (MM) to Corporal Forrest Francis Thompson:

“At first light on 10 April 1945, the Germans put a strong counter-attack on the village of Sögel, Germany. The ADS (Advanced Dressing Station) of 12 Cdn Light Field Ambulance was situated in a building called the Hotel Jensen. It was shortly apparent that the enemy had infiltrated from the NORTH, SOUTH and EAST. The enemy paratroopers occupied buildings all around the ADS and proceeded to snipe the medical personnel as they worked on casualties. Defence parties were organized. Private Thompson, a dispatch Rider, immediately volunteered to assist in the clearing of the houses. Armed only with a Sten Gun, he moved from house to house, personally accounting for several Germans. On no less than three occasions, he went back for more ammunition for his party, crossing and recrossing the bullet swept street with complete disregard for his personal safety. When the clearing parties reached a house in which the enemy seemed to be firmly established with automatic weapons, Private Thompson placed himself in an exposed position and by accurate fire, support enabled the remainder of the party to dispose of the enemy. When four tanks arrived to assist the medical personnel, Private Thompson returned to his unit to assist in the evacuation of casualties. The initiative and daring of this soldier, above and beyond his normal call of duty, is a splendid example of bravery and deserving of high praise and commendation.”

Text: 12 Field Ambulance Museum
Photo: Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
Photographer: Stirton, Alexander Mackenzie

Then and now

Two Red Army soldiers pass by a destroyed German Zündapp K-800 from a motorcycle battalion of the 8th Panzer Division after a counter-attack by the Soviets on the city of Soltsy in the region of Leningrad. Mid-July 1941

During the Soltys Battle (July 15–17 1941) the German 8th Panzer suffered a severe defeat at the hands of an unexpected Soviet counterattack. Manstein managed to withdraw his forces, but in doing so allowed the Soviet forces to attack his troops while moving in the open.

On 15 July, the Soviets launched their main blow. Led by the powerful and highly decorated 70th Rifle Division, they quickly surrounded German armour at Soltsy, stopped German motorised infantry in the swamps to the north, and raided German supply columns to the German rear. When it was all over, the German 8th Panzer Division was routed, permanently losing about 30 tanks (with many others damaged) and retreated 25 miles. It was a victory that might have saved Leningrad.

French soldiers awaiting a gas attack in France, 1917. I’d say this is most likely just a posed photograph by the soldiers in the trench. But I think it still shows the atmosphere of trench warfare and what these soldiers experienced off camera.

“I watched figures running wildly in confusion over the fields. Greenish-gray clouds swept down upon them, turning yellow as they traveled over the country blasting everything they touched and shriveling up the vegetation…..Then there staggered into our midst French soldiers, blinded, coughing, chests heaving, faces an ugly purple color, lips speechless with agony, and behind them in the gas soaked trenches, we learned that they had left hundreds of dead and dying comrades.” -memories of a British soldier.

Gas ‘only’ made up around 91,000 fatalities of the total 20 million fatalities during world war 1. But it left a deep impact on the soldiers that experienced it and left many suffering from long-term health effects.

Freikorps members with one of the two improvised tanks (The n° 54 “Heidi”) which were used during the Spartacist uprising in Berlin, January 1919.

The two vehicles were based on “Überlandwagen” chassis seized by the Freikorps. The armored superstructure was built from scratch but they are often mistaken for the A7V for their similar appearance. The tanks could be armed with 4 MG 08s, you can see two in this photo, one at the front left, the other on the right back. The slot for the front right one can also be seen.

The Spartacist uprising was a general strike (and the armed battles accompanying it) in Berlin from 5 to 12 January 1919. The uprising was primarily a power struggle between the moderate Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) led by Friedrich Ebert and the radical communists of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who had previously founded and led the Spartacist League.

The revolt was improvised and small-scale and was quickly crushed by the superior firepower of government troops. Berlin was largely undisturbed. Long-distance trains continued to run on time and newspapers remained on sale, as the rebels passively confined themselves to only a few select locations. Similar uprisings occurred and were suppressed in Bremen, the Ruhr, Rhineland, Saxony, Hamburg, Thuringia and Bavaria.

A young German fallschirmjäger captured by the US army, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, near Weywertz. Belgium, 15 January, 1945.

The reaction of this young Fallschirmjäger Obergefreiter to becoming a prisoner of war speaks volumes about his sense of unit pride and shame of capture. This youthful captive was a rarity in the Luftwaffe’s 3rd Parachute Division, where few had ever jumped into combat. This was because he wears the diving eagle Parachutist’s badge (Fallschirmschützenabzeichen), for making six qualifying jumps, which will no doubt shortly become a GI souvenir. Part of Oberst Helmut von Hoffmann’s Fallschirm Regiment 9, this Obergefreiter had fought through Lanzerath attached to Kampfgruppe Peiper on 16 December, only to be captured by the US 1st Infantry Division at Weywertz, near Butgenbach, on 15 January 1945.

Text from Snow & Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944–45 by Peter Caddick-Adams.

Private Alexander Ivanovich Shirobokov reunited with his two sisters after the liberation of Karachev, Bryansk Oblast, Russia, August 1943. The sisters managed to escape the Germans, sadly both of their parents were killed.

Note: Ivanovich’s belt buckle is a refurbished German one.

Crown Prince Olav who just returned home to Norway being driving through the streets of Oslo, 13 May 1945. Sitting in the front passenger seat is Norwegian resistance fighter Max Manus.

Max Manus (9 December 1914–20 September 1996) was a Norwegian resistance fighter during World War II, specialising in sabotage in occupied Norway.

Manus went to fight as a volunteer in the Swedish Volunteer Corps during the Winter war in Finland. Manus later returned to Norway and fought during the Norwegian campaign, after which he decided to return to Oslo and work underground against the occupiers, both organising a resistance movement, illegal public propaganda and the manufacture of weaponry.

Manus soon became a wanted man by the Gestapo and was eventually caught in his apartment at Vidars gate, Oslo. However he managed to throw himself out the window. He survived but had to be treated in the main Oslo hospital. The doctor at the hospital lied to the Gestapo officers, saying Manus needed treatment for a broken back, an injured shoulder and a serious concussion. The truth, however, was that he was only bruised and had a light concussion. After 27 days, he managed to escape through a second-floor window and managed to cross the border into Sweden. And eventually made his way to the UK where he trained further and developed professional skills in sabotage and undercover work. In march 1943 he was parachuted into the forests near Oslo with a sabotage team.

In Norway, he resumed his organizational work and made various sabotages on ships in the Oslofjord. Alongside other actions like the destruction of offices with archives that could have caused tens of thousands of young Norwegian men to be recruited into German war service through the Reichsarbeitsdienst (the Norwegian Labor Service).

Manus made numerous trips back and forth across the border to Sweden, where he was able to get a respite from the constant mental and physical pressures of being undercover. Many of his comrades-in-arms were killed, captured and tortured, but Manus managed to survive.

When peace was declared, Manus found himself chosen to be the personal protection officer of the then Crown Prince of Norway on his triumphal parade in Oslo, and then also with King Haakon VII.

Manus suffered from nightmares, alcoholism, and bouts of depression after his experiences in the war, some of which he talked about in interviews. After retirement from his office supply business, Max and his wife Tikken moved to Spain. Max died there in 1996 aged 81.

Spitfire Mark VB, R6923 (QJ-S) of No 92 Squadron RAF (East India) based at Biggin Hill, piloted by F/O Alan Wright over Kent in April 1941. R6923 was originally a Mark I, this aircraft being converted to a Mark V after having previously served with №19 Squadron and №7 Operational Training Unit in 1940.

Originally one of a handful of rare MKI’s that were built with 20mm cannons, it was involved in a number of cross-channel operations, before being

relegated to №7 OTU when the type suffered from persistent jamming of the heavy guns.

Converted to an MK Vb (seen pictured here) it was flown regularly by F/o Wright who had several claims in it! This plane was shot down over the sea by a Messerschmitt Bf109 of JG26 on 21st June 1941.

Photographer: Charles E. Brown.
Credit: Authors Own Private Collection (Via RAF Museum).

Pfc. Benny L. Barrow from Choctaw, Louisiana, serving with the 8th Infantry Regiment, US 4th I.D., being treated by medics. November 1944

When the 4th Infantry Division entered the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, the fight would become the longest battle in American History. For those lucky enough to survive its carnage, the forest was thereafter known as “Green Hell” or “The Death Factory.”

Benny L. Barrow born Choctaw, Louisiana: 1919–1987

A pair of German Landsturm Gefreiter from an unidentified unit, circa 1914/15.

These men show little in common with a typical WWI German soldier. The reason for such a vintage appearance is because when the war started and the reserves were called to arms, the German Army found itself short of equipment of all kinds. As a result, second and third-line units, such as Landsturm and Landwehr (militia), had to be equipped with whatever was in storage at the time, mostly old, outdated material.

In this case, (I believe) both men are wearing Litewka tunics, a 1900 blue model, and a 1903 grey model. The headgear is called Tschakos. In 1914, Tschakos that had been in storage for several decades were dusted off and issued to the Landsturm. In 1916 the Tschakos were once again retired when the Landsturm finally adopted the Pickelhaube. Note that both men have the Landwehr plate blackened to make it less conspicuous.

The rifles are late 19th century’s Gewehr Model 1888 (Gew 88 for shorts).

Original: B.B. Collection (drakegoodman)


Lieutenant and Tirailleurs of The 4e Regiment de Tirailleurs Tunisiens, 1918.

Conscription existed in Tunisia in 1860, the duration of military service was then fixed at eight years. The establishment of the French protectorate changes this duration. From 1900, Tunisia was recruited, bringing service to three years in the active army. The men released each year from active service are replaced by drawing lots by young people aged 19 to 21, the number of which is fixed by decree (4,212 before the war). However, there are many exemptions (students, religious, sheiks, caïds, khalifas, Tunisians, lighthouse keepers, etc.). In addition, it is possible to be exempted by paying the replacement price fixed by decree at 1,000 francs before the war. This is why recruitment generally affects only 10% of potential recruits. The 1916 class, for example, had 2,611 mobilized out of 26,364 called.

These rules only apply to Muslim Tunisians. Tunisian Israelis are exempt from military service. As for the French living in Tunisia, the rules for mobilization are the same as in mainland France; the duration of military service is also three years, and all men aged 20 to 48 are mobilized.

On September 30, 1914, the 1,000 Tunisian infantrymen who were to embark opposed their setting in motion and forced the command to postpone their departure. In November 1914, soldiers mutinied in Bizerte and were shot.

Battle of Amiens. Captured German Maxim machine gun and a British soldier resting at the post. Note steps leading to the dug-out. Malard Wood, 9 August 1918.

“Malard Wood lies just north of the River Somme and some 3,750 yards south of Morlancourt. Its eastern edge was on the Green Line (the initial objective on 8 August). The 3rd and 2nd/4th Londons were actually to take part in the second phase and were supposed to jump off from the eastern edge of the wood, but were held up by
machine-gun fire from the Chipilly Spur area as they exited the wood.” (8 August 1918)

(Photo source — © IWM Q 6927)
Brooke, John Warwick (Lieutenant) (Photographer)

A German MG 08 machine gun section advances up an embankment on the Montdidier — Noyon sector of the front during Operation Gneisenau, 8–14 June 1918.

Operation Gneisenau, also known as Battle of the Matz, was the fourth German Offensive, part of Germany’s ‘Kaiserschlacht’, the last all-or-nothing effort to win the war in the spring of 1918.

Warned in advance, the Allies put up a defense in depth that rendered the German preliminary bombardment ineffective. The Germans managed to advance 12 (to 14) km in two days but the French and Americans counter-attacked on the 11th, stopping the German advance. By the 14th it was over.

Original: IWM (Q55349

Draining Trenches. 22nd Infantry Battalion (French Canadian). July 1916.

The 22nd Battalion (French Canadian), CEF, was a battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the Great War.

The battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 20 May 1915. It disembarked in France on 15 September 1915, where it fought as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920

(Photo source — Dept. of National Defence, Library and Archives Canada/PA-000396)

The Third Battle of the Aisne. French infantry coming back through Passy-sur-Marne, pass a British regimental band resting by the roadside, 29 May 1918. © IWM Q 6676

If the date and location are correct, then this could be the 8th (Service) Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment.

The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916.

Men of the Worcestershire Regiment of 48th (South Midland) Division sighting a Lewis machine gun in a fire trench near the village of Ovillers-la-Boisselle in July 1916.

The ‘Worcesters’ suffered heavy casualties on the 1st July in assaulting the Quadrilateral (Heidenkopf). During 1916, they were in action at Bazentin Ridge, the Capture of Ovillers, Pozieres Ridge, Ancre Heights, and the Battle of Ancre.

A British soldier gives a wounded German prisoner some water to drink near La Boisselle during the Battle of the Somme, 3 July 1916.

On the most costly day in British military history, La Boisselle was the worst battlefield.

The British 34th Infantry Division, to which these men most probably belonged to, suffered the largest number of casualties of all the British divisions engaged on the Somme Battle, losing 6,380 men on the 1st of July alone.

Their main opponents, Badisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 110 lost an estimated 1,251 men between July 1 and 3.

Original: Daily Mirror (photographer Ernest Brooks)

A portrait of Raoul Auguste Martin during the First World War.

Mobilized at the beginning of the war: he was 28 years old and served as a medic with the 298th Infantry Regiment. The 298th suffered heavy losses during the conflict. Of the 2000 men in the regiment, only 600 will survive.

Raoul was the son of Auguste Gustave Martin, creator of a hydraulic spinning mill for cretonnes in Riorges around 1860, then director of the cotton weaving factory Déchelette, in Le Coteau, in 1870, Raoul Auguste was born in Roanne on August 23, 1886. studied at the Lycée de Roanne then at Saint-Etienne. He was a flautist at the Société Philharmonique de Roanne before becoming its treasurer and then president around 1929.

Date and location unknown

German pilot Kurt Monnington aboard his Albatros D. V. while serving with Jasta 15, 1917–18

Prior to becoming a pilot, Kurt Monnington saw service as an infantryman in Grenadier-Regt Nr 119 and Infanterie-Regt Nr 120. In June 1915 he received the EKII.

After transferring to the German Air Force, Monnington served with FA 62 before being posted to Jasta 15 in 1917. He was awarded the EKI in December 1917. In March 1918, he was reassigned to Jasta 18 where he scored his first victory on 18 May 1918, downing an S.E.5a near Bailleul. By the end of the war, he downed seven more enemy aircraft for a final tally of eight, including five D.H.9 bombers attached to the Independent Air Force. On June 6, 1918, he was awarded the Royal Württemberg Military Order of Merit.

The death’s head was Kurt’s personal emblem and a somewhat curious choice. According to author Greg Van Wyngarden “, he never served in any of the three death’s head Hussar Regiments. Apparently, he simply liked the emblem. His staffel comrades remembered him as a very cheerful fellow with a happy disposition.”

Kurt Monnington survived the war but little is known of his remaining life. Apparently he got married, never had children, got divorced, and died of pneumonia in Hamburg on February 17, 1939.

Vosges sector, 1915

Four German servicemen posing with assorted equipment including a unique headpiece.

Named after the General who ordered its design and production, General Hans Gaede, the Gaede Model 1915 helmet was a primitive German steel ‘helmet’ of sorts that didn’t actually protect the entire head. Designed by Gaede’s Chief of Staff, Oberstleutnant Hesse, the headpiece consisted of a leather cap with a thick iron shell weighing 2 Kg that protected the forehead and nose only. During the Vosges sector battles of early 1915, around 1500 of these ‘helmets’ were locally produced and surviving originals are today extremely rare.

Besides the helmets, these men sport an interesting assortment of weapons which at present have been identified as follows:

From left to right, the 1st soldier has a Luger’s holster and a Leuchtpistole Druckknopf flare gun tucked in his belt; the 2nd and 3rd soldiers seem to have the short barrel variant of the Hebel Model 1894 flare gun and the 4th man has a holster for a Reichsrevolver and a Hebel Model 1894 flare gun. The gas masks are the 1915 ‘Gummimaske’ model. There is also an assortment of daggers and metal pieces I was unable to identify. Many times these men made use of makeshift weapons so these might be examples of such weaponry. In their hands the most devastating of assault weapons: the hand grenade.

American troops visiting ‘A’ Company Headquarters, of the 37th Battalion, Picardie, Somme, 21 June 1918.

About this time small detachments of Americans were attached to various Australian units for instructional purposes. Several Australian figures are identified in the original photograph, including Lieutenant (Lt) Norman Gordon McNicol MC, Captain J. A. Carrodus, Officer Commanding, Lt H. Beer, Corporal (Cpl) Waterson, Lance Corporal Le Maitre, Cpl R. Jones, Cpl Maxwell, Private (Pte) Huntly, Pte Rogers, Pte Baldiston, Sergeant Allen, Pte Burrows, Company Sergeant Major Rosing, and Cpl Scott.

This particular image is part of the Maurice Hurry collection held at Trinity College, University of Melbourne. Hurry, an alumnus of the college, purchased a series of official photographs from the sales section of the then Australian War Museum (now Australian War Memorial) in the early 1920s.

This image, slightly cropped on the right margin, corresponds to the original in the Memorial’s collections, E 02695.

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. Western Front, circa 1916.

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

A British 60 pounder Mk I battery in action on a cliff top at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, possibly in June 1915. The unit might be the 90th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, located forward of Hill 114. The gun has the inscription “Annie” painted on the barrel.

IWM caption: A 60-pounder battery in action on a clifftop. Right to left: Ron Hilyard (sitting down), Fred Garland (sitting down), Horrie Veivers (standing), Bill Lamprill (standing with shell), Alf Easther (standing next to gun), Tom Gaston (sitting with shell), Frank Lynch (on knee behind the gun), Charles Gerard (standing), Angus Suthers (standing), Joe Beckworth (standing) and Herb Silcock (?)

(Photo source — © IWM Q 13340)
(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

Berlin, 1923. Less than five years after the Great War, Germany's economy lies in ruins. A disabled war veteran begs in the street dressed in his pre-war dunkelblau waffenrock.

A ribbon bar with several (unfortunately indistinguishable) awards is pinned to his chest, below it an Iron Cross 1st Class, and below the Cross, a Wound Badge in Silver, awarded for three or four wounds or a severe wound such as the loss of a limb or eyesight.

Original: Deutsches Historisches Museum, BA 90/5740

Ausmarschbild / Landsturmmann Wilhelm Engstler and friends, June 1916

Letter on the reverse of this card, authored on 1.6.1916 and addressed to a Herr Paul Moser and family, o/a Wangen in Allgäu, Württemberg. Stamped: Feldpostadresse des Absenders: Res. Inf. Rgt. 248 Stab II. Batl. Feldpost 54. Res. Div.

The 54. Reserve-Division, together with its sister formation, the purely Saxon 53. Reserve-Division (with which it formed the Saxon/Württemberg XXVII. Reserve-Korps), was committed directly east of Ypres. The corps fought at Becelaere, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and the (to the Germans) infamous ‘Calvairewald’ (Justice Wood).

(Source — The Drakegoodman Collection)

A WWI Saxon soldier

Karl Agotz was a 37 year’s old shopkeeper in Leipzig when in the fall of 1914, he was called up by his king, Frederick Augustus III, to fight for his country. At the time he was married with two young children.

We often wonder if the person in the photo survived the war. In this case,

I’m pleased to say that Karl did survive the war and returned to Leipzig and his family.

Unfortunately, I do not know his unit.

Some remarks on Karl’s uniform and gear:

Leipzig is in Saxony (Sachsen), so as expected, the tunic is a M07/10 feldrock with Saxon cuffs. The helmet is a Pickelhaube with Saxon ‘wappen’ (coat of arms). The rifle is a standard Gew98 with the long blade M1898 bayonet attached. Boots seem to be brown leather with black polish added later. Soldiers did these because from 1915 onward the orders were to wear black leather but supplies never met the quota so they improvised. As the black polish wore off the brown reappeared.

Lionel Powys-Jones, Chief Native Commissioner of Southern Rhodesia, late Rhodesia Regiment and King’s Royal Rifle Corps, in which latter regiment he was wounded as a young subaltern in the Great War.

Lionel Powys-Jones was born in July 1894, the son of Llewellyn Powys-Jones, a Resident Magistrate in Bulawayo, and was educated at Blundell’s School, Tiverton, Victoria College, Jersey and Oriel College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Returning home to Rhodesia, he joined the Native Affairs Department, and in 1916 enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Rhodesia Regiment. Subsequently commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, he was wounded in 1918.

Back in the service of the Native Affairs Department by 1919, he went on to enjoy a long and distinguished career, ultimately gaining an appointment as Secretary for Native Affairs and Chief Native Commissioner in 1947. Powys-Jones was one of only 16 persons to hold this high office in the period 1894–1978, and one of only two to be subsequently honored with a C.B.E.

He had, meanwhile, joined the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers, and attended assorted musketry courses in the period leading up to the 1939–45 War. Placed on the Reserve of Officers in March 1940, he served in a Concession Platoon from August of that year until April 1942 and is a verified recipient of the Southern Rhodesia Medal for War Service, the relevant roll stating, ‘Jones, L., X8610, Army’, which corresponds with his Q. & R. card in the archives in Harare.

Powys-Jones finally retired in 1954, in which year he was awarded his C.B.E. A keen tennis player who one time represented Rhodesia, he settled in Somerset West, Cape Province, where he died in November 1966.

Female workers at the glucose factory of Nicholls, Nagel & Co. Ltd., Trafford Park, Manchester, September 1918.
Lewis, George P. (Photographer)
© IWM Q 28226

The company, 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers in front of a road barricade constructed out of sandbags in the line at Le Touquet, Belgium.
December 1914 — May 1915.

© Edward Synge (Q 97456)

Just happy to be alive.

German and Canadian wounded receive hot coffee and biscuits from a YMCA hut near the front lines. November 24, 1917

Source — Photographs and a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings and other records relating to the life and service of Brigadier General W.O.H. Dodds, CMG, DSO, in the Great War of 1914–1918 and extending to his death on 25 August 1934. Brigadier General Dodds joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914 and was commanding officer of the 5th Canadian Division Artillery and served in France from 1917–1918.

(Colourised by Mark at Canadian Colour)

Squadron Commander Edwin Harris Dunning, DSC (17 July 1892–7 August 1917), of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, was the first pilot to land an aircraft on a moving ship.

He is seen here, attempting to land his Sopwith Pup on the flying-off deck of HMS FURIOUS, Scapa Flow, 2nd August 1917.

He was killed five days later, during his second landing attempt of the day, when a tire burst, throwing his plane overboard. Knocked unconscious, he drowned in the cockpit.

The second son of Sir Edwin Harris Dunning of Jacques Hall, Bradfield, Essex, he was educated at Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth.

He is buried at St Lawrence’s Church, Bradfield, beside his mother.

Men from the 22nd Regiment (Van Doos) in the trenches — July 1916

The 22nd (French Canadian) Battalion, CEF was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 20 May 1915. It disembarked in France on 15 September 1915, where it fought as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.

B/W from Library and Archives Canada

Two Canadian soldiers near the remains of a German pill-box at Passchendaele, November 1917.

In the two weeks, the Canadians spent taking the ridge they had lost nearly 16,000 men dead, wounded, or sick. Many of these men were lost in the mud and never seen again. After the fighting wrapped up, the Canadians returned to the lines around Lens for the winter. The mud at Passchendaele slowed all movement to a crawl and left advancing troops exposed to enemy fire for longer periods of time during attacks.

Colour: Ro Color
Source: Library and Archives Canada

Captain B. G. Godlonton. 5th Battalion, Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey)

Godlonton was a second lieutenant during the 1900–1901 South African War. He served in ranks Prince Alfred’s Vol. GDS. and Brabant’s Horse. Operations in the Orange Free State, including defense of Wepener. Operations in the Orange River Colony, including action at Wittebergen. Operations in Cape Colony and the Transvaal. Queen’s medal with 5 clasps.

During the great war, he was recalled to service but in training camp, he was mentioned in the Petty Sessions pages: driving a bicycle at night without lights. The burly Captain Godlonton was fined two shillings and sixpence for this crime. He had come up against the determined PC Burningham and had come off second best:
“Defendant refused to stop when requested by P.C. Burningham, remarking that it was ‘rot’ to expect him to carry a lamp on such a moonlit night, and a chase ensued, the constable eventually overtaking defendant near the camp”

It is not known if he survived the Great War.

The Sopwith F.1 Camel (Nº D9638) of 2nd Lt. Harold William Skinner, 203 Squadron RAF, crashed landed near Morenchies, just north of Cambrai, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
2nd of October 1918.

Harold Skinner was wounded in the shoulder while flying D9638 and crashed near Cambrai, he was the squadron’s last wartime casualty.

He was born in London, on the 23rd of July 1899 and was granted his Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificate on the 5th of November 1917.

As a Lieutenant, he was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) and the citation published in ‘Flight’ on the 20th of February 1919, is noteworthy. It states that “… addition to bringing down 4 enemy aircraft, Lt. Skinner flew 500 hours on active service and was engaged in numerous ground support operations.”

The crash landing was mentioned in the last notes of his DFC award, in that he had been flying with Ray Collishaw and Lt Fricker, and was strafing a balloon when Skinner was attacked by a Fokker (possibly from Jasta 33), resulting in an arm wound and a crash landing behind British lines. (that would have been Morenchies)

(Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

The Presentation of the Colours of the 51st (Edmonton) Battalion CEF, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Edmonton, Alberta, ca. 1915 (Provincial Archives of Alberta, A2526)

This battalion was raised in Edmonton in July 1915. It sailed in March 1916 with a strength of 1,092, all ranks, under the command of Lt.-Col. R. de L. Harwood.
It provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 13 November 1916, when it was reorganized as a Garrison Duty battalion. On 22 June 1916, its personnel were absorbed by the various regimental depots.

At their farewell banquet in Edmonton on the 6th March 1916, the menu contained an inset entitled:
*Waiting Orders*
“For fourteen months we’ve worked and drilled
With ardour in our hearts,
Prepared, whene’er our country willed,
To leave for “foreign parts,”
We lighted from our office stools
In patriotic glee;
And changed our pens for grimmer tools
For use in Germany.”
( the full ‘menu is in the comments of this pic)

Colourised by Jared Enos

This photo shows the reader that in any war you can be alive one moment and in moments dead

The scene on the Menin Road near Hooge, looking towards Birr Cross Roads, during the battle on 20 September 1917. The wounded on the stretchers are waiting to be taken to the clearing stations; others able to walk are making their way along the road as far as possible.

Identified are Major (Maj) G A M Heydon MC, Regimental Medical Officer of the 8th Battalion (fifth from the left with his arm in a sling). To his left is Private W Bain and next to him is Private (Pte) ‘Spud’ Murphy. To Pte Murphy’s left (wearing a pack) is Lance Corporal (LCpl) Roy Arthur Findlay MM, all are members of the 1st Field Ambulance.

Shortly after the photograph was taken a shell landed in approximately the area where Maj Heydon and Pte Murphy had been standing. The shell killed most of the wounded on stretchers and LCpl Findlay was blown under the truck, shown lying on its side to the right.

Hooge and the Birr X roads (also known as Birr Cross Roads) are located to the east of Ypres and northeast of Zillebeke in Belgium. In 1917, the 20th Battalion fought near Ypres in the Battle of Menin Road in September 1917. From Westhoek Ridge they attacked Hannabeek (Hanabeek) Wood, northeast of Westhoek, capturing and holding their objective against two counter-attacks. They were relieved by the 19th Battalion on the night of 21 September.

(Photograph by Frank Hurley, Australian War Memorial E00711)



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.