Two men, living near the World War I Somme battlefields in France, have put together a group of 'lost' photographs of World War I soldiers, apparently taken by a local amateur photographer. The glass photographic plates had been found in a barn and disposed of; some had been picked up and saved.
Bernard Gardin, "a photography enthusiast" and Dominique Zanardi, a local café owner, have put together some 400 plates. These have been scanned; some damaged images were restored digitally, and prints have been made. Some of the collection are displayed in Zanardi's "Tommy" café at Pozières. It's believed the photographs were taken in 1915 in the winter and in 1916 in the spring and summer.
The Independent newspaper has many of those images up on-line with an article about them and is asking for assistance in identifying details in the photographs. Some research has already been done by Matilda Battersby of The Independent. Copies of some of these World War I photographs might have been sent home and it's possible they may be still in family collections.
After reading the article, you can click to see a 'selection' - which includes one soldier who may have been Canadian - or click to 'view all the exclusive photographs' - 270 of them - which are posted on-line. I believe these were also published in the paper edition of the newspaper. You may be able to see a copy at a local library.
Exclusive: The unseen photographs that throw new light on the First World War
A treasure trove of First World War photographs was discovered recently in France. Published here for the first time, they show British soldiers on their way to the Somme. But who took them? And who were these Tommies marching off to die?
by John Lichfield. Published on-line Friday, 22 May 2009, The Independent
Newly discovered World War One photographs; Your help needed
posted by Jack Riley. Friday, 22 May 2009, Independent Minds.