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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Late Somme image ?


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Can any expert out there shed any light on this image ?  The person who posted it claimed it depicts the Eaucourt sector in October Nov 1916.  I have never seen it before in IWM collections and wonder if it may be French ?

alleged to be Somme taken from aircraft.jpg

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The image appears online at:


with this description:

27. At a height of 150 meters above the fighting line, a French photographer was able to capture a photograph of French troops on the Somme Front, launching an attack on the Germans, ca. 1916. The smoke may have been deployed intentionally, as a screening device to mask the advance.

NARA/U.S. War Dept.

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@Hyacinth1326 Hi, I'm no expert but I instantly recognised this outstanding photograph and it is indeed a French Official Photograph showing French soldiers catalogued as IWM negative Q49271 from 10 October 1916.  It is an oblique shot from near Vermandovillers, Sheet 62c square S.21.  I have zoomed in and used the woods from other photographs to find the location on a modern map but I forgot to record exactly where.  I've often speculated as to their fate, just a handful of brave men among many millions of the brave.

The caption is Men in trenches and over the top from the air and it accompanies a second photo, Q49268.  Later images refer to woods and copses south of Vermandovillers such as Maurice Copse, Madam Wood, Kalner Wood, Auger Wood, Kalner Wood No 2.  The second photo appears to show soldiers on the bottom of the trench in a prone position.  My personal reaction is neither photo appears to show weapons being carried (although it is too grainy to be certain and it might be my terrible eyesight).

Confusion arises from the fact that there are actually two French photographs, now in a British collection and the top one has two recorded dates and locations.  The explanatory text on the right corrects the original error.




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Very many thanks for this information.  I never cease to be,amazed by the level of expertise on this forum

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Thanks @Sly, the link you provided has exactly placed it.  This National Library of Scotland map is from 1918 but the earlier one didn't have any marked trenches and the map from 10/11/1916 showed the front line 1500 yards SE.  Note carefully that east is upwards, so Vermandovillers appears on the extreme left even though it is to the north of this action.  The soldiers are attacking eastwards.

The attacking force are already level with on either side of Bois Hart (blue pin) and moving towards the trench this side of the avenue.  The mopping up force seem to be bombing hence the mention of smoke from grenades and perhaps explaining why in my earlier post I couldn't see weapons.  Click to enlarge.

The second photo in the series shows Bois d'Amberg and this appears near the top right corner, obscured by trenches.

tMapper gives the centre of Bois Hart as 62c.S.21.b.9.0, which aligns with the IWM photo annotation saying it is from 62c.S.21.



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