The King at the Front

George V drawing2

If this drawing of King George V, accompanied by his eldest son Edward Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII), visiting British troops on the Western Front in 1916, resembles a photo in any way, it is entirely due to the skill of the artist, Fortunino Matania.

Matania was famous for his realism, and his World War One drawings scored over photographs of that era because they didn’t look staged. If this had been a photo, most of the people in it would have been staring nervously at the camera!


George V drawing

Original drawing.

World War One Wounded

disabled soldiers

Two soldiers, invalided out of the army, in the grounds of the 4th London General Hospital, at Denmark Hill. They are wearing uniforms that became known as “Convalescence Blues”, which were given to all invalided soldiers except officers.



Original B&W photo.

Women in War – Police

circa 1916 Members of the Women's Police Service_0000

Members of the Women Police Service, around 1916.

During World War One, when men going to the front depleted the male workforce, women filled their places. The police forces were no exception. Although their role was still limited, it went beyond that of before the war, when women, often the wives of policemen, were used merely to observe propriety for female prisoners.


circa 1916 Members of the Women's Police Service

Original B&W photo.

Marshal Pétain

Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain, around 1930, while he was still Inspector-General of the Army. He would retire from this post in 1931.
A hero of the first world war, he would sully his name in the second when, in 1940, he headed the Vichy government.
After the war, Pétain was tried and convicted for treason, and sentenced to death, but the new president, De Gaulle, commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.

Original B&W photo.