‘Loading a big trench mortar in a front line Boche trench’ | National Library of Scotland

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A captain and another officer watch the loading of a 9.45in heavy trench mortar. The surrounding area is covered with snow.

Note that, despite the conditions, none of the men are wearing extra clothing.

Trench mortars were widely used by both sides during the War, enabling a missile to be fired at shrort range and high trajectory towards enemy lines.

The derogatory term for a German, ‘Boche’ or ‘Bosch’, originates from the French slang ‘alboche’, which was two words ‘Allemand’ (German) and ‘caboche’ (pate, head) put together.

Uniform details suggest photograph taken later than Autumn, 1916.

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. Loading a big trench mortar in a front line Boche trench.’

Original URL: http://digital.nls.uk/first-world-war-official-photographs/pageturner.cfm?id=74548338

Resource Type : image

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Cite : 'Loading a big trench mortar in a front line Boche trench' | National Library of Scotland (http://digital.nls.uk/first-world-war-official-photographs/pageturner.cfm?id=74548338) by J.W. Brooke licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/scotland/)

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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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