Typically, when long-lost photos are found and restored they're a bit underwhelming. But this new series of images, captured by an unknown photographer, are just incredible — from their portrayal of life in the trenches to the intimate glimpses of famous leaders.
All images: Collection Odette Carrez/Reuters. Above: German soldiers (rear) offering to surrender to French troops.
As Reuters reports, these new images are part of a collection of hundreds (yes, hundreds) of previously unpublished glass plates taken at the Western Front during the war. They were left behind by a viscount in the Armoured Cavalry Branch of the French Army.
A trench just after it was shelled:
Field Marshal Douglas Haig:
French artillery officers:
They can be seen relaying instructions to adjust the cannon fire in a trench on the front line.
That's a 95 mm.
A seized German trench:
Anti-aircraft machine gun:
This French gunner was in a trench at Perthes les Hurlus in eastern France.
Inspecting trenches in the forest:
French officers inspecting trenches on the Argonne front in May 1916. Talk about impenetrable.
An unlikely beast of burden:
A dog pulling a Belgian machine gun in northern France. Horses were in short supply during the later stages of the war.
General Joseph Joffre:
Handing out medals to soldiers who fought in the Battle of Verdun, March 1916. Hardcore History podcaster Dan Carlin refers to him as the "Winston Churchill of World War I."
Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener:
He's the second from the left, meeting meeting French General Albert Baratier (R), on horseback, as French Marshal Joseph Joffre looks on (2nd R), on the Champagne front, Eastern France in 1915. Among other things, Kitchener is famous for his iconic moustachioed mug on British recruitment posters.
Captured German soldiers:
Marching through Chalons en Champagne, Eastern France September 1915.
Time for a body cavity search:
German soldiers captured during Verdun.
General Emile Eugene Belin:
French General Emile Eugene Belin (right) visiting the front line near Arras, Northern France.
What used to be Ablain-Saint-Nazaire:
French troops in trenches above Ablain-Saint-Nazaire in the Artois front, northern France, in 1916.
The devastation at Maurepas on the Somme front:
Soldiers and horses amid a destroyed spot on the battlefield at Maurepas on the Somme front, northern France October 1916.
More images can be found here.