Black and white photograph which shows a large group of German prisoners of war, captured at the Battle of Messines, being marched through St Omer. During World War I St Omer was used as the British Royal Flying Corps Headquarters and as a result, a transit camp for most British flight squadrons. 7,000 German prisoners of war were captured at the Battle of Messines. Where this portion of the 7,000 is marching is unknown.
It is one of 95 black and white, and, sepia toned photographs taken in France during World War I, attached to a photograph album. The album includes a few photographs of enemy prisoners, the war cemetery at Warloy, a wrecked German ambulance and images of the local French people.
Most photographs are of Albert and surrounds so it would seem probable that most were taken during and after the Battle of the Somme (1916). In addition there are also photographs dated 1917. The photographs were taken by Private John Edward Lord, 13th Field Ambulance, and brought back to Australia by him and compiled in an album at the end of the First World War.
The album is one of many souvenirs brought back to Australia after World War I by Lord, and is part of a larger collection of photograph albums, images, documents and World War I memorabilia donated by Lord to Museum Victoria.
Description of Content
The image shows a long line of German prisoners marching down a main road in the township of St Omer. Several Allie soldiers accompany the line of prisoners. The row of prisoners are marching in front of a large, formal building which is now known as the Town Hall of St Omer.
Monochrome photograph, mounted in a small, grey photograph album.
This album appears to have been prepared to 'showcase' the war experiences of John Lord and the photographs associated with these. The album has been very carefully prepared and the quality of the photographs is generally good, in comparison to the album ST40491, also compiled by John Lord, which has a number of photographs which are of poor quality, many photographs removed and written in (mostly) illegible pencil. This suggests this album was most probably compiled after the war, with photographs probably gathered from other photograph albums of Lord's.
The subjects of the photographs are of trenches (both German and Allies), horses, camps, farms, graves and cemeteries, civilians, soldiers, churches and other buildings. Many of the photographs were taken around the town of Albert and are dated 1916 and 1917. From this information we can tell that Lord was involved with the Battle of the Somme when these photographs were taken.
The Battle of the Somme was fought from north of the Somme river between the towns of Albert and Arras. The Battle began on the 1 July and was called off on the 18 November 1916. The Battle of the Somme is famous for the loss of 58,000 British troops (one third of them killed) on the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916, which to this day remains a one-day record.
Donation from J. Lord, 1986
Place & Date Depicted
Handwritten in ink on matt directly below photograph: 'German PRisoners from / Messines at St. Omer'
Type of item
Image Dimensions - Photograph
60 mm (Width), 40 mm (Height)
Image Dimensions - Photograph album page
195 mm (Width), 145 mm (Height)