In this photograph we can see a group of soldiers, Highlander and Indian Dogras, sitting in a trench. Each man has a rifle in front of him, to which a bayonet could be fixed for close combat.
The Girdwood Collection
This series of several hundred photographs recording the contribution of Indian soldiers to the Allied war effort was produced in 1915 by the Canadian-born photographer Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood (1878-1964). As a professional photographer Girdwood had an early connection with India, photographing the Delhi Durbar of 1903, the royal tour of 1905-06 and the Delhi Durbar of 1911. In 1908 he set up a photo agency called Realistic Travels, specialising in stereoscopic photography.
With the outbreak of war in 1914, Girdwood returned from India and in April 1915 was given permission by the India Office to photograph the work of the Indian military hospitals in Bournemouth and Brighton. From July to September 1915 he worked in France as an official photographer to record Indian and later British troops in the field. In the later part of his time in France he also made ciné film of the campaign (which later appeared under the title With the Empire’s Fighters.
- Full title:
- Highlanders and Dogras in a trench with dugouts [Fauquissart, France]. Photographer: H. D. Girdwood.
- Girdwood Collection
- Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood
- Held by:
- British Library
- © Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland
- Photo 24/(294)
- Article by:
- Vanda Wilcox
- Race, empire and colonial troops, Life as a soldier
In a war that saw new weaponry technology and great numbers of casualties, Assistant Professor Vanda Wilcox considers the common experiences of soldiers in active combat.