First World War pictures show soldiers on their way to the front

A hoard of haunting never-seen-before photos including keepsake family shots of soldiers who tragically never returned home from the Great War have been discovered.

The intimate pictures not only provide an astonishing glimpse into the private lives of fresh-faced young soldiers and their families  but also the changing mood of Britain as the fighting dragged on and families began to mourn those they had lost.

The unique images taken mostly between 1914-1915 would have been valuable heirlooms and priceless memories for loved ones left behind in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. 

The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by volunteers Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson, who spent over 400 hours painstakingly scanning the images fresh from their original glass-plate negatives then discovering the stories behind each one.

It was part of Doncaster 1914-18, a four-year project supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to mark the centenary of the First World War.

In total, the project discovered 1058 images from the First World War, hidden within a much-larger collection of 14,000 glass-plate negatives from Doncaster’s Bagshaw & Son studio, taken between 1897 and 1944.

One picture shows an old man, indexed only as Mr D Haley, pulling a ‘gurning’ expression of the sort popular at the time while another shows a little boy in an officer’s uniform. 

Among the stories of those who did not return is that of Private John Glasbey, seen with his wife, Mabel, and their daughter, who married in 1911 and died at Passchendaele, six years later. 

Among the stories of those who did not return from war is that of Private John Glasbey (left), seen with his wife, Mabel (right), and their daughter. The couple had married in 1911 and he died at Passchendaele, six years later

Among the stories of those who did not return from war is that of Private John Glasbey (left), seen with his wife, Mabel (right), and their daughter. The couple had married in 1911 and he died at Passchendaele, six years later

Among the stories of those who did not return from war is that of Private John Glasbey (left), seen with his wife, Mabel (right), and their daughter. The couple had married in 1911 and he died at Passchendaele, six years later

Another picture shows an old man, indexed only as Mr D Haley, pulling a 'gurning' expression of the sort popular at the time while saluting to the camera during the First World War

Another picture shows an old man, indexed only as Mr D Haley, pulling a 'gurning' expression of the sort popular at the time while saluting to the camera during the First World War

Another picture shows an old man, indexed only as Mr D Haley, pulling a ‘gurning’ expression of the sort popular at the time while saluting to the camera during the First World War

In another remarkable picture a little boy dressed in an officer's uniform salutes to the camera. The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by four volunteers at Doncaster 1914-18- Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson and tell a remarkable story of the lives of those in wartime Britain

In another remarkable picture a little boy dressed in an officer's uniform salutes to the camera. The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by four volunteers at Doncaster 1914-18- Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson and tell a remarkable story of the lives of those in wartime Britain

In another remarkable picture a little boy dressed in an officer’s uniform salutes to the camera. The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by four volunteers at Doncaster 1914-18- Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson and tell a remarkable story of the lives of those in wartime Britain

In one haunting photo a lady can be seen with a necklace on a locket that she’s left open as if she wants to get her husband into the photo. 

While another photo illustrates two women hired to drive Doncaster’s trams while the men were at war. 

The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by four volunteers – Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson.

A newlywed couple stand outside a home in Doncaster during the global war famously described as 'the war to end all wars'. The war began following the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand by South Slav nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914

A newlywed couple stand outside a home in Doncaster during the global war famously described as 'the war to end all wars'. The war began following the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand by South Slav nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914

A newlywed couple stand outside a home in Doncaster during the global war famously described as ‘the war to end all wars’. The war began following the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand by South Slav nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914

A pendant that shows the face of a loved one at war is seen on the necklace of one young woman as she smiles for the camera. The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by volunteers Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson at Doncaster 1914-18

A pendant that shows the face of a loved one at war is seen on the necklace of one young woman as she smiles for the camera. The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by volunteers Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson at Doncaster 1914-18

A pendant that shows the face of a loved one at war is seen on the necklace of one young woman as she smiles for the camera. The 100-year-old photographs were discovered by volunteers Carol Hall, Ruth Scott-Chambers, Jean Walker and Jill Tomlinson at Doncaster 1914-18

A nurse candidly looks into the distance in another astonishing glimpse into the First World War. The volunteers who discovered the photographs had spent more than 400 hours scanning the images fresh from their original glass-plate negatives then discovering the stories behind each one

A nurse candidly looks into the distance in another astonishing glimpse into the First World War. The volunteers who discovered the photographs had spent more than 400 hours scanning the images fresh from their original glass-plate negatives then discovering the stories behind each one

A nurse candidly looks into the distance in another astonishing glimpse into the First World War. The volunteers who discovered the photographs had spent more than 400 hours scanning the images fresh from their original glass-plate negatives then discovering the stories behind each one

Two women belonging to the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) seen standing in unifrom before a camera in this wartime photo

Two women belonging to the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) seen standing in unifrom before a camera in this wartime photo

Two women belonging to the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) seen standing in unifrom before a camera in this wartime photo

Over the past year, they spent over 400 hours painstakingly scanning the images fresh from their original glass-plate negatives then discovering the stories behind each one.

It was part of Doncaster 1914-18, a four-year project supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to mark the centenary of the First World War.

In total, the project discovered 1058 images from the First World War, hidden within a much-larger collection of 14,000 glass-plate negatives from Doncaster’s Bagshaw & Son studio, taken between 1897 and 1944.

Luke Bagshaw was the professional photographer whose town centre studio in St Sepulchre Gate was where those who could afford to, went to create keepsakes for their families.

The shop closed in the 1960s, but, perhaps sensing their significance, he had indexed his pictures for future historians.

Three men from The Salvation Army seen with their trumpets. During the war members of the The Salvation Army provided motor ambulances, refreshment huts in military camps, and parcels of food and clothing for combatants. Some officers would also serve as chaplains

Three men from The Salvation Army seen with their trumpets. During the war members of the The Salvation Army provided motor ambulances, refreshment huts in military camps, and parcels of food and clothing for combatants. Some officers would also serve as chaplains

Three men from The Salvation Army seen with their trumpets. During the war members of the The Salvation Army provided motor ambulances, refreshment huts in military camps, and parcels of food and clothing for combatants. Some officers would also serve as chaplains

A woman wearing a H.M.S Vindex cap sits in front of a camera before being sent to war. H.M.S Vindex was a Royal Navy seaplane carrier during the First World War that mainly operated in the North Sea

A woman wearing a H.M.S Vindex cap sits in front of a camera before being sent to war. H.M.S Vindex was a Royal Navy seaplane carrier during the First World War that mainly operated in the North Sea

A woman wearing a H.M.S Vindex cap sits in front of a camera before being sent to war. H.M.S Vindex was a Royal Navy seaplane carrier during the First World War that mainly operated in the North Sea

The photos have now been catalogued, and this weekend, as the world prepares to mark the centenary of the armistice, some will go on display as part of exhibition ‘Stories from the Studio’.

‘Many of the photos were taken in 1914 and 1915 and the soldiers who posed for them wouldn’t have known what conditions they were going into,’ said Vicky Siviter, digital project officer for the Doncaster 1914-18 project.

‘We had only just emerged from the era when soldiers charged into battle on horseback and when war was still seen as glamorous. Trench warfare was still new.

‘But the pictures from later in the war show a different side. There’s a couple of families posing with soldiers, where someone is holding a portrait of a soldier who’s been killed.

‘Another shows a lady with a necklace on a locket that she’s left open as if she wants to get her husband or whoever it is into the photo.

Volunteer at Doncaster 1914-18 Carol Hall said that she and the other volunteers had thought there would only be a few hundred pictures when they were looking for wartime images in the Bagshaw Collection. Much to their surprise they ended up scanning more than one thousand over the past year

Volunteer at Doncaster 1914-18 Carol Hall said that she and the other volunteers had thought there would only be a few hundred pictures when they were looking for wartime images in the Bagshaw Collection. Much to their surprise they ended up scanning more than one thousand over the past year

Volunteer at Doncaster 1914-18 Carol Hall said that she and the other volunteers had thought there would only be a few hundred pictures when they were looking for wartime images in the Bagshaw Collection. Much to their surprise they ended up scanning more than one thousand over the past year

Vicky Siviter, Digital Project Officer for Doncaster 1914-18, said: 'Many of the photos were taken in 1914 and 1915 and the soldiers who posed for them wouldn't have known what conditions they were going into'

Vicky Siviter, Digital Project Officer for Doncaster 1914-18, said: 'Many of the photos were taken in 1914 and 1915 and the soldiers who posed for them wouldn't have known what conditions they were going into'

Vicky Siviter, Digital Project Officer for Doncaster 1914-18, said: ‘Many of the photos were taken in 1914 and 1915 and the soldiers who posed for them wouldn’t have known what conditions they were going into’

‘They would have been valuable heirlooms and priceless memories for the families left behind.

‘A lot of the time, this would have been their only opportunity to have had that kind of photo taken and they would have been really treasured by the family members, especially when a soldier didn’t return.

A Doncaster family pose with their dog in this never-been-seen before wartime photo. The treasured picture provide an astonishing glimpse into the private lives of fresh-faced young soldiers from more than a century ago

A Doncaster family pose with their dog in this never-been-seen before wartime photo. The treasured picture provide an astonishing glimpse into the private lives of fresh-faced young soldiers from more than a century ago

A Doncaster family pose with their dog in this never-been-seen before wartime photo. The treasured picture provide an astonishing glimpse into the private lives of fresh-faced young soldiers from more than a century ago

Two young men from the shore establishment H.M.S Ganges sit for a photo in another haunting wartime photo. HMS Ganges was a boys' training establishment that was  based alternately in Falmouth, Harwich and Shotley 

Two young men from the shore establishment H.M.S Ganges sit for a photo in another haunting wartime photo. HMS Ganges was a boys' training establishment that was  based alternately in Falmouth, Harwich and Shotley 

Two young men from the shore establishment H.M.S Ganges sit for a photo in another haunting wartime photo. HMS Ganges was a boys’ training establishment that was  based alternately in Falmouth, Harwich and Shotley 

‘Many of Bagshaw’s pictures are still in circulation in Doncaster. People have kept copies of them and they’re quite common in homes.’

Some of the plates that they worked with were fragile, broken or even water-marked so the volunteers have also been using technology to try and reverse time’s wear and tear, to make them as ‘true to life’.

Carol Hall, a volunteer with the archive project, said: ‘It’s not just the quantity, but the quality of the photographs that’s so extraordinary. 

‘And the stories we’ve uncovered – I had no idea! 

‘In these pictures are local people, and you can almost see their faces out and about around Doncaster today. I don’t want them to be forgotten.

‘These are people who could have lived in your house, or walked down your street. Look what they did – what a difference they made to our lives today.’ 

The Doncater 1914-18 project encourages people from Doncaster and those with connections to the area to research and share their own First World War stories. The four-year-project is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to mark the centenary of the First World War

The Doncater 1914-18 project encourages people from Doncaster and those with connections to the area to research and share their own First World War stories. The four-year-project is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to mark the centenary of the First World War

The Doncater 1914-18 project encourages people from Doncaster and those with connections to the area to research and share their own First World War stories. The four-year-project is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to mark the centenary of the First World War

The never-been- seen photos have now been catalogued and some will go on display as part of an exhibition at Cusworth Hall called 'Stories from the Studio' 

The never-been- seen photos have now been catalogued and some will go on display as part of an exhibition at Cusworth Hall called 'Stories from the Studio' 

The never-been- seen photos have now been catalogued and some will go on display as part of an exhibition at Cusworth Hall called ‘Stories from the Studio’ 

 

To be continued

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