An Indian Cavalry horse hospital in a French factory [Estrée Blanche]

Description

This image shows an Indian cavalry horse hospital in a French factory in 1915. Cavalry divisions still played a crucial role in warfare at the outbreak of the First World War, and the British Army saw cavalry charges and mounted infantry as tactically crucial throughout the war. The Indian Army supplied the 1st and 2nd cavalry divisions, which saw action on the Western Front. They stayed in France until the end of the war, fighting in the battles of the Somme and Passchendale. 

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:
An Indian Cavalry horse hospital in a French factory [Estrée Blanche]. Photographer: H. D. Girdwood.
Publisher:  
Girdwood Collection
Created:
1915
Format:
Photograph / Image
Language:
English
Creator:
Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood
Copyright:
© Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland
Usage terms
Crown Copyright
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Photo 24(122)

Full catalogue details

Related articles

World Wars

Article by:
Susheila Nasta, Dr Florian Stadtler, Rozina Visram

From the largest volunteer army to the secret agent Noor Inayat Khan, uncover the contributions made by South Asians in World War One and Two.

How would it feel to be a wounded soldier?

Article by:
Emily Mayhew
Themes:
Life as a soldier, Wounding and medicine

Dr Emily Mayhew follows a wounded soldier from the battlefield to the hospital, explaining how stretcher-bearers, surgeons and nurses would help him recover and adjust to his new life.

The Indian sepoy in the First World War

Article by:
Santanu Das
Themes:
Wounding and medicine, Race, empire and colonial troops

Dr Santanu Das reveals the role of the Indian sepoy in World War One and explores the fragments of historical sources that shed light on the experiences of the one million Indians who served.

Related collection items