Snow-spattered Tommies | National Library of Scotland

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A snow-covered British working party, pausing for the camera before they move off. They are all wearing steel helmets and many of them are holding shovels. They are all standing on a muddy road in front of a brick building.

Snow was falling on the morning of 9th April 1917, helping to mask the opening of the Arras offensive from the Germans. This working party must have followed shortly after the first advance to consolidate newly-captured positions, as more seasonal weather soon returned.

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. Snow-spattered Tommies. A working party following up the recent advance on the Scarpe.’

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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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