‘Taking in water on the way up to the trenches’ | National Library of Scotland

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Loading water for transportation to the Front, during World War I. John Warwick Brooke, the official war photographer, captured this rather picturesque scene. The beauty of it, however, belies the adverse conditions which soldiers had to live in during the winter months. The skills necessary to transport and keep drinkable water under these conditions are mind-boggling. Most foods and beverages at the Front were rationed and it was only when men returned further behind the lines that supplements were readily available and could be purchased.

In the background can be seen a steam engine of the Railway Operating Division.

Uniform details suggest picture taken in the winter of 1916-1917.

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Taking in water on the way up to the trenches.’

Original URL: http://digital.nls.uk/first-world-war-official-photographs/pageturner.cfm?id=74548264

Resource Type : image

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Cite : 'Taking in water on the way up to the trenches' | National Library of Scotland (http://digital.nls.uk/first-world-war-official-photographs/pageturner.cfm?id=74548264) 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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