A number of troops are moving through a large cobbled square in Peronne. Piles of rubble line the edges of the street. All of the buildings have been damaged, most likely by shellfire. Most of the men are carrying weapons and packs, and one man carries a large earthenware vessel probably filled with water or some beverage.
The slang British term used here for German, ‘Hun’, gained popular usage after Kaiser Wilhelm II urged his troops to ‘behave like Huns’ to win the war. Peronne was one of a number of villages and towns captured in the Allied advance during the Somme Offensive of 1916.
[Original reads: ‘BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. THE FALL OF PERONNE. On the track of the Hun - Some of our troops entering town of Peronne.’]
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This ‘all action’ photograph is thought to be the work of John Warwick Brooke. This image lacks the organisation and sanitisation of most other propaganda photographs, suggesting that it may not have been staged.
Captain S.J. Worsley, described his experience of raiding during the Delville Wood Campaign, ‘It was soon apparent that something very unpleasant was about to happen, so we stood to arms, groused a good deal, and waited. The waiting was always the hardest part of it all. The hours till 6 a.m. seemed terribly long.’
[Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN OF THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. A raiding party waiting for the word to go.’]