Unique wartime photograph album goes under the hammer at Auction House in Bridport

EVOCATIVE: Michael Dark, owner of Bridport Auction House, with the photo album

EVOCATIVE: Michael Dark, owner of Bridport Auction House, with the photo album

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

AN astonishing World War I album is coming up for sale tomorrow, March 28, full of extraordinary and evocative images – from a rather unusual standpoint.

The album documents the life and work of a team from the Quaker ‘Friends War Victim Relief’ organisation during the early part of the Great War.

The album is being sold at the Auction House in Bridport.

Auctioneer Mike Dark said: “The photographs, we assume taken by a British lady photographer, accurately capture events including the building of wooden pre-fabricated dwellings for displaced communities, loading of lorries with mattresses, nursing and entertaining refugees, together with the destruction from bombs including photographs of a crashed Zeppelin.

“The smiling faces of the children of the rural folk hide the adversity and the tribulations they must have experienced.

“Some of the photographs are so poignant it is hard to believe that the people aren’t just 21st century actors being posed and directed.

“We believe it to be a woman who took the photographs and she must have been an artist with a camera, thinking about composition and light for many of the scenes.”

It was in 1870 that the first official Friends War Victims Relief Committee was set up for civilian victims of the Franco-Prussian War.

This was the first time the Quaker star – the badge of the Quaker relief worker – was used, and the policy of no discrimination between the ‘sides’ in war was formally adopted. War Victims Relief Committees were revived in 1876 for Eastern Europe and in 1912 for the Balkans. An official committee was also active in South Africa after 1900, particularly among Boers in internment camps.

After the outbreak of war in 1914 the War Victims Relief Committee was revived.

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