Contemporary Combat Images from the Great War
By Bob Carruthers
Pen & Sword 2015
The images in this volume refer to the works of the war artists and illustrators rather than photographs. A brief introduction by Bob Carruthers explores the link between art and the war, with many illustrations being used for ‘propaganda’ works such as the ‘War Illustrated’.
The accompanying images are set out broadly chronologically. Frustratingly few supporting details are provided; just a brief caption but no details of the artist or where the illustration was published (most of them from The War Illustrated, I suspect).
Image quality is very good and really highlights some of the talent of the time. Much of the detail is of course as imagined by the artist rather than being witnessed first-hand.
Some of the captions are a little odd – one for instance states that ‘mixed forces of British and Turks fight the Germans for possession of a village in Brie.’ Unless I’m missing something, this seems wildly incorrect! Many of the illustrations portray gallant acts of heroism, but again no accompanying or contextual information is given.
Despite the title of the book the actions south of Ypres in 1915 (Neuve Chappelle and Loos) also feature.
The book ends with a short chapter including the works of possibly the most well-known illustrator of the war, Bruce Bairnsfather.
The images in themselves are interesting and compared to the usual photos that appear, are unlikely to have been seen by a wide audience. However the lack of any accompanying information is disappointing and lets the book down overall.
Buy this book from Amazon here:
Ypres: Contemporary Combat Images from the Great War (Illustrated War Reports)