First World War in images: Hidden and extraordinary - a unique new gallery

Images from varied collections brought together for the first time

Callum Swanston
Friday 04 July 2014 19:52
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An aerial dogfight between at least 5 planes can be observed here. Dogfighting was the main method of attack between aircraft because the developments in aerial technology made it increasingly difficult to drop projectiles onto another plane. This dogfigh
An aerial dogfight between at least 5 planes can be observed here. Dogfighting was the main method of attack between aircraft because the developments in aerial technology made it increasingly difficult to drop projectiles onto another plane. This dogfigh

A unique new collection of First World War images provide fresh insight to the drama, the horror and the basic reality of the conflict 100 years ago.

They range from an astounding mid-air image of a dog fight over the trenches, through the mighty battleships and submarines where sailors risked and lost their lives, to the humanity of troops clearing lice from their clothes, bandaging the paw of an injured dog and even keeping an owl behind lines.

They show a plane launched from a makeshift runway resting on a ship's guns, masked troopers emerging from a screen of mustard gas, women working in munition factories, and the serene beauty of an endangered convoy illuminated in shafts of sunlight.

The images are from the archives of the Corbis photographic agency, brought together for the first time from its range of different collections. Remember they were taken on unwieldy cameras, often using plates that required lengthy delays between shots - something to bear in mind particularly when looking at the aerial battle image used above.

The gallery includes several propaganda posters from the UK and the US that highlight the homefront battles for the public's support. And it provides the battlefront reality with thought-provoking views of poison gas and flame attacks.

Above all the images provide fresh perspectives on the 'Great War' ahead of the centenary of Britain's declaration of war on Germany on Monday 4 August.

* The gallery complements our History of the First World War in 100 Moments, which receives its final update on 12 July.

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