Novel British Military [traffic] control being used in France | National Library of Scotland

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Stop-go’ man at a crossroads, France, during World War I. This is a fantastically humorous photograph today – but it is difficult to tell whether it was tongue in cheek or really quite serious at the time. There is one car, on an otherwise deserted road with long visibility, traveling towards a crossroads. At the crossroads a proud ‘stop-go’ man is standing smartly to attention with his swivel board of instructions. This type of photograph would have made excellent propaganda material. It has a light-hearted atmosphere and hints at British inventiveness, which would have reassured the public at home.

The policeman belongs to the Military Mounted Police. Board in background gives directions to No. 7 General Hospital, stationed at St Omer for much of the war.

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A novel British Military control being used in France.’

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Cite : Novel British Military [traffic] control being used in France | National Library of Scotland ( by D. McLellan 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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