Engineers making camoflage at the front | National Library of Scotland

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A team of engineers making strips of camouflage. Lengths of netting have been placed over makeshift posts, and the men are carefully attaching pieces of cloth or fibre. There are six men working on the strip in the foreground, with more men and netting in the background. The camouflage on the left of the photograph looks ready for use. Camouflage, from the French word ‘camoufler’ meaning to disguise, or protective concealment, was used to disguise military positions and equipment. By using a gradation of colour from dark to light, the item under concealment lost its definition and blended into its surroundings.

By July 1918, each Corps and Army had an attached camouflage section, and a base camouflage factory had been established at Wimereaux. The men were drawn from the Royal Engineers.

Uniform details suggest photograph taken after March 1916.

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Engineers making camo[u]flage at the front. They are then able to get the exact size they require.’

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Cite : Engineers making camoflage at the front | National Library of Scotland ( by J.W. Brooke licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA (

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About Richard Marshall

Richard Marshall is studying for a doctorate in the literature of ancient Rome at Wadham College, Oxford, and is a tutor for Ancient History at St Benet’s Hall. In addition to Classics, he has a long-standing interest in the tactics and material culture of the British Army, especially of the period spanned by the Cardwell Reforms and First World War. He has a large collection of original uniform and equipment items used for teaching and research purposes, and is currently exploring the evolution of British military clothing and accoutrements in response to changes in fashion and warfare for eventual publication. He previously worked as a cataloguer for the Oxford University Great War Archive.
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