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Lines of Communication Troops and Gunners, World War I

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A resource pack of images that can be used in teaching and learning.

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Lines of Communication Troops and Gunners, World War I

  1. 1. Resource Pack Lines of Communication Troops and GunnersDeveloped for World War One Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings by RichardMarshall, University of Oxford (July 2012). Free, high quality educational resources on newperspectives of the First World War. http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk.
  2. 2. The following images support the theme of‘Unconventional Soldiers’http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/category unconventionalsoldiers/All images are available for use under:Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England &Wales License.
  3. 3. Original caption: BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Canadian Forestry - Twotypical Canadians. The Sergeant on the right has three sons serving in France; ONA [sic] a Capt. and twoLieutenants. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SATwo men probably belonging to the Canadian Forestry Corps. The British armies in France required thousandsof tons of timber for constructing everything from railways and docks to pit-props and duckboards. Frenchforests behind the front were systematically harvested for their timber by specially raised units.
  4. 4. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. WhereTommys footwear is repaired. This big shop on the Western Front renovates 30,000 pairs a week. A cornerof the shop. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAThe army boot-repair factory in Calais employed over 800 staff by 1917 (including German prisoners and localwomen) and had grown to be the largest boot-making organisation in the world. Uniform details suggestphotograph taken 1917-1918.
  5. 5. Original caption: A scene in one of the many mechanical transport workshops behind the line. Available viathe National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAMen of a Mechanical Transport Company, Army Service Corps, remove a lorry engine supervised by aLieutenant.
  6. 6. Original Caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. R.E. diverabout to descend to the bottom of a Canal in France to repair the foundation of a bridge. He is taking a sawand a hammer below with him. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAUniform details suggest photograph taken later than March 1916.
  7. 7. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Taking in water on the way up tothe trenches. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAThe Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers was founded in 1915, and at its peak numbered some67 companies and 18,400 men. Their engines (usually painted R O D on each side, as above) carried storesfrom the docksides of the channel ports to the front. Uniform details and weather suggest picture taken in thewinter of 1916-1917.
  8. 8. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Engineersmaking camo[u]flage at the front. They are then able to get the exact size they require.Available via theNational Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SABy July 1918, each Corps and Army had an attached camouflage section, and a base camouflage factory hadbeen established at Wimereaux. The men were drawn from the Royal Engineers. Uniform details suggestphotograph taken after March 1916.
  9. 9. Original Caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A novelBritish Military control being used in France. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SA‘Redcap’ of the Military Mounted Police posted at a junction. Traffic control on the Western Front was amajor undertaking, and became one of the chief duties of the Military Policemen, whose establishment grewto 15,000 all ranks by the end of the war. Board in background gives directions to No. 7 General Hospital,stationed at St Omer for much of the war: an indication of the weight of traffic expected some 40 milesbehind the front.
  10. 10. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Partitions forhuts made by the lady carpenters are being shifted on to the barge for transport up the country. Available viathe National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAHut fittings made by French women in a workshop supervised by the Royal Engineers (previous photograph inseries) are being transported by barges of the Inland Water Transport Service, Royal Engineers. Formed in1914, the IWT took control of canals and waterways in the rear areas for the movement of supplies andevacuation of wounded. In 1918 it possessed over 1,000 craft and handled an average of 60,000 tons per week.
  11. 11. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A BritishArmy Piggery in France. Camp waste utilized to produce food. Available via the National Library of Scotlandas CC BY-NC-SAThe British army used a system of medical classification that graded men A-D: A fit for general service; B fitfor garrison or base service; C fit for home service; D unfit for military service. The other ranks in the sty areprobably B-grade men; base camps employed large numbers of such troops as sanitation and refuseorderlies. Sourcing food locally reduced the amount that had to be shipped from England, an increasingproblem as the German U-boat campaign began to take effect in 1917.
  12. 12. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE WESTERN FRONT. HOW TOMMY IS FED. Unloadingmeat from a meat ship. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SABy the Armistice, the Docks Directorate, Royal Engineers, employed 11,000 men as unskilled labour in theloading and unloading of stores, and was in control of the major Channel Ports from Dunkirk to Le Havre.
  13. 13. Original caption: Canadian mail arriving behind the firing line. Available via the National Library of Scotland asCC BY-NC-SAThe ability of the soldiers to communicate with home was never seriously interrupted during the war; by 1918,the Postal Services, Royal Engineers employed 2,500 men and women, and by 1920 had handled 320,409 tonsof letters and parcels for the troops in France and Belgium alone.
  14. 14. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. How Tommy is fed.Showing one of the ovens with trays of newly baked bread. Available via the National Library of Scotland asCC BY-NC-SAMen of an Army Service Corps Field Bakery. After reorganisation in 1916, there was one Field Bakery to everythree divisions, staffed by two officers and 255 Other Ranks. After January 1917, when rations had to bereduced because of the U-boat menace, each soldier received 1 lb of bread or 10 oz of biscuit as part of hisdaily ration.
  15. 15. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. H.Q. Signals.Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SATelephone exchange at a signals HQ. By 1918, each Army HQ had a signals staff of over 4,500 all ranks to dealwith a daily average of 4,500 messages; each corps and each division had a dedicated signal company, andmore units besides were required by the artillery and RAF. In addition to simply sending and receivingmessages, many signallers were needed for the upkeep and extension of the fragile network of telephonelines: wireless signalling was still in its infancy; pigeons and dogs were also pressed into service.
  16. 16. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Anti-aircraftguns which brought down a huge German aeroplane in France. Available via the National Library of Scotlandas CC BY-NC-SAOn the outbreak of war, the British Army had no anti-aircraft provision. By November 1914, six A.A. sectionshad been formed, officially companies of the Royal Garrison Artillery, and by August 1918 275 were operatingin France and Flanders. Each was staffed by around 40 men. In addition to the gunners, the Royal Engineersalso had to find men for Searchlight Companies.
  17. 17. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. A big gun (just finishedfiring) being covered up prior to moving. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SARailway gun of a Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. By November 1918, the Garrison Artillery numbered210,554 all ranks, having grown from an establishment of 27,275 men in August 1914.
  18. 18. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. BATTLE OFBROODSEYNDE [Broodseinde]. Gunners [rolling?] up shells for a move forward. Available via the NationalLibrary of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAArtillerymen rolling 6” Howitzer shells to the gun positions, using a narrow-gauge railway. To the 6thSeptember 1918, the guns of the Royal Artillery had fired approximately 9,807,000 shells on the WesternFront alone.
  19. 19. Original Caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. Gunners setting timefuses. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAGunners pictured replacing the plugs used for the safe transportation of shells with fuses. Time fuses wereused with shrapnel shells, designed to burst in the air. Percussion fuses were used with highexplosive, intended to bust on contact with the ground.
  20. 20. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. A heavy howitzer inaction near Ypres. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SARoyal Garrison Artillery officer ‘laying’ (i.e. aiming) a 15” Siege Howitzer, the heaviest calibre gun used by theBritish Army in the war. Note the chains on the left belonging to the crane for lifting the shells. Each weighed1400 lbs. Uniform details suggest photograph taken after the spring of 1916.
  21. 21. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. R.H.A.going into action at the gallop. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAThe Royal Horse Artillery was primarily armed with the Quick Firing 13-pounder; before the war, it wasenvisaged that they would gallop into action and fire at the enemy ‘over open sights’ (i.e. actually being ableto see their targets). After the early months of the war, they were unable to fulfil this role again until theadvances of 1918; consequently, their manpower did not increase in line with the Field and GarrisonArtillery, and they numbered only 16,218 men at the Armistice. Uniform details suggest this photographwas taken after March 1918.
  22. 22. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. The crew ofa 6" gun. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAPhotograph of the HQ of a Royal Garrison Artillery Heavy Battery (not a gun sub-section as suggested by thecaption). The Major command the battery stands fourth from left. Uniform details suggest the picture wastaken in 1917 or later.
  23. 23. Original Caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT - strafing the Hun.Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SA8” Howitzer of a Royal Garrison Artillery Siege Battery being hauled into position. Note the wooden chocksunder the wheels to prevent excessive recoil.
  24. 24. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. THECAMBRAI ADVANCE. Artillery going through a cutting in the Canal du Nord. Available via the NationalLibrary of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAA Quick Firing 18-pounder of the Royal Field Artillery, moving forward with ammunition limber. By November1918, the Field Artillery numbered 311,854 all ranks, having grown from an establishment of 51,228 men inAugust 1914.
  25. 25. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE FRONT IN FRANCE. Loading a big trench mortarin a front line Boche trench. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SANot all gunners worked behind the trench lines. In 1916, the Royal Field Artillery was given responsibility formedium and heavy trench mortars. This photograph depicts men of a Heavy Trench Mortar Battery loadingtheir 9.45” Heavy. Uniform and weather suggest the photograph was taken in the winter of 1917-18.
  26. 26. Original caption: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. R.F.A. kiteballoons are the eyes of our guns in France. The observers are highly trained men & when their balloonsare shelled or attacked by enemy aircraft they are forced to make rapid descents in parachutes. Theseparachutes must be kept in perfect working order. Observers fixing tackle which is connected withparachute. Available via the National Library of Scotland as CC BY-NC-SAArtillery observation on the ground or by air not only looked for targets, but also watched for the fall offriendly shot to correct the gunners’ aim. The artillery also needed the services of surveyors, map-makers (forwhom the Royal Air Force, by the end of the war, was photographing the entire front twice daily), weather-forecasters, and special units dedicated to the location of enemy batteries.

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