Glum heroes

Imagining the British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918 by Dr Bob Bushaway

There are many studies of the First World War which make use of images of British soldiers by way of illustration.

Either photographs or stills taken from film are often reproduced which are the same or similar images of the Western Front and the conditions of the War’s static phase when fighting took place in fixed field fortifications. Other images in the form of drawings, sketches, paintings and cartoons are also used but to date no one has considered these images from a consideration of how and why different images were developed to evolve the British soldier’s depiction. In fact many soldiers were conscious of the empowerment of their self-image and their contribution to the ability to survive and sustain the War. The Army as an institution and the British government also had a vested interest in how the British soldier was represented to British society on the Home Front and in the War’s aftermath.