Black and white photograph which depicts a French woman, or as the caption refers to her a ''M'selle''. During the war many French women became nurses and carers, took over the role of managing agricultural production and participated in manual labour to contribute to what would hopefully be an Allied victory. It is possible that the woman depicted in this photograph billeted Allied soldiers, on their way to or from the frontlines, in her home as another way to support the Allied forces. Although the role of French women in World War I has been acknowledged there is little information or records regarding their achievements in comparison to the role of women during World War II.
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 photograph focuses on a French woman, in every day clothing, standing on a cobble stoned street. Brick buildings are visible to the right and left of the woman. There is also a chicken walking on the road behind the woman, suggesting the location is a farm house.
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
Hand written in ink on matt directly below photograph: 'A "m'selle."'
Type of item
Image Dimensions - Photograph
66 mm (Width), 44 mm (Height)
Image Dimensions - Photograph Album Page
192 mm (Width), 146 mm (Height)