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Good wash-up after coming out of the trenches, Flanders

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Good wash-up after coming out of the trenches, Flanders

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This photograph shows three young soldiers in the shell of a ruined building. Two of them are stripped to the waist, washing at a bucket of water. The identity tag of the man in the middle can be seen hanging around his neck...Even today, skeletons of missing soldiers are found, during farming and building work in the Western Front area. Few can be identified because identity tags before 1916 were made of fibre, and after 1916 of very thin iron plates. Both types of tag rotted in the ground very quickly...[Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A good wash-up after coming out of the trenches.']..digital.nls.uk/74547586 ( http://digital.nls.uk/74547586 )

World War I (WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. World War I Images From National Library of Schotland. These photographs form part of the papers of Field Marshal (Earl) Haig (1861-1928), held by the National Library of Scotland. More information is available from the Library's Digital Archive. Like many World War I generals, Haig remains a controversial figure. The collection contains diaries, papers and photographs from every part of Haig’s career, the Great War diaries being of special importance to historians. Photographs in the "Official Photographs" series (which were destined for publication and have captions on the back describing the image) are in black-and-white. World War I saw the development of a system of 'official’ reporting by professionals especially recruited into the forces. Initially reluctant to allow cameras near the fighting, it took some time for the authorities to appreciate the propaganda and recording potential of photography. These photographs provide us with an invaluable record of how the Government and Military wanted the war perceived. Official photographers were encouraged to record morale-boosting scenes of victory and comradeship. Despite the restrictions placed on them, official war photographers succeeded in giving the most comprehensive visual account of the war. It is important to remember that these images were propaganda; few that could depict the war in a disheartening or disconcerting way passed the censors. As a result the photograph taken was often posed. They were intended to reassure those at home and boost morale. They were printed in newspapers, and were intended to confirm that 'Tommy' was winning the war.

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1914
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National Library of Scotland
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