Soldiers on the move during the Battle of
View zoomable image in the Digital Gallery
The original caption for this photo by Ernest Brooks reads:
'Official photograph of the Somme advance — Where spades and picks are as useful as rifles. Working parties going up to consolidate newly captured trenches.'
Beginning on 1 July and lasting until mid-November 1916, the Somme has perhaps become the battle most synonymous with the human cost of the war, and casualty numbers are staggering.
The British Army alone endured over 400,000 casualties as a result of the battle.
Ernest Brooks was the first British Official War Photographer to be assigned to the Western Front in 1916.
Many of his images were used for propaganda purposes at home and abroad. He was allowed to wander about freely, and produced some thought-provoking images with his inconspicuous hand-held camera.
Official war photos were included in our free exhibition 'Behind the lines: Personal stories of the First World War', which ran from 27 June to 11 November 2014.