Background: In a separate initiative, an official military resource to take photographs for information and propaganda on a large scale was established at the British Army’s general headquarters on the Western Front in early 1916.
As the most important theatre of war the Western Front saw the strictest control of information both written and visual. It was here that the greatest number of official appointments of correspondents, photographers, cinematographers, and war artists were made and the ordinary press-man rigorously excluded. Official photographers served with the British and colonial forces and although the numbers of men involved were small, not more than a dozen, they achieved an impressive body of work.
The British Army could muster only two photographers to cover its activities on the Western Front in 1916 and 1917. As a British Army official photographer, Lieutenant Ernest Brooks alternated between the Western and Italian Fronts (in addition to occasional assignments for the Admiralty) from June 1916 until the end of the War. He shared coverage of the Western Front with Lieutenant John Warwick Brooke, a former press photographer, who was appointed British Army official photographer in July 1916. Both men worked extremely hard to cover the range asked of them and, after the decision to found the Imperial War Museum in March 1917, they were aware that their photographs would probably become part of the permanent record.
Production: Associated Illustration Agencies Ltd. (Corporate Entity), London (England) (Place of occurrence)
Typed inscription on verso reads: “Official photograph issued by Associated Illustrated Agencies, Ltd, St. Mary’s Chambers, 161a, Strand, London, W. C. 2 Please acknowledge “British Official” – Crown Copyright reserved, For publication on or after….”.
Description: It has original captions, which were typed by typewriter in Swedish: From the English Front in France: Mail arrives at the trenches. Soldiers at a Scottish regiment received letters to their peers.
Production: A stamp reads: “Passed for W, …, W, 4 600 Transmission Abroad”.
Typed inscription on verso reads: Official photograph issued by the Press Bureau. Distributed by The Central Press Photos Ltd.
Description: It has original captions, which were typed by typewriter in Swedish: From the English West Front: Such piles of cartridge case are found in thousands on the west front.
Production: A stamp reads: “… 4515 Transmission Abroad”.
Description: It has original captions, which were typed by typewriter in Swedish: From the English West Front: From England: Proviant trains leave the supply magazine.
Production: Stamped on the back with: “Official Photograph Issued for Press Bureau by “Topical”
The Topical Press Agency was a British photo agency active in the first half of the twentieth century. [Wikipedia]
Founded in 1903, it employed almost 1,500 representatives worldwide by its peak in 1929, selling the work of a team of photographers based in London. Prominent photographers working for Topical included John Warwick Brooke, one of the first official British photographers of the First World War.
Description: Handwritten Swedish text: From the English West Front. Tommies in a shelter. On one wall you can see one of the man’s drawings.
(The picture depicts English soldiers in a shelter and on one wall can see a picture of a soldier who kicks a German in the back.)