A Mask to Hide the Horror
The number of soldiers killed on both sides, often for the sake of only a few feet of ground, is staggering. But the number of soldiers who were wounded is even higher. Many of these survivors suffered irreversible, disfiguring injuries. While plastic surgery made great strides during the War as surgeons learned new techniques to repair broken bodies, many soldiers were injured beyond repair. There were so many whose faces were hideously deformed by bullets or blasts that they had to wear masks in order to go out in public.
Here a French veteran of the World War is being fitted with a mask at a shop specializing in prosthetic faces. The mask is oddly cheerful and dapper, in contrast to the sad war weary eyes of the soldier.
N.C.O.s and Men of Canadian Cavalry Brigade waiting to vote. December, 1917.
Exactly 100 years ago, in December 1917, Canadian soldiers at the front exercised their right to vote. The fact that Canada was able to keep its democratic ideals and institutions alive even under these conditions is commendable. I suspect that no one has been happier to vote than these men as it afforded them a temporary vacation from the font line, as they were allowed to leave the trenches to go vote.
Columns of American troops move towards the front in France: they are traveling on foot, in horse drawn carts, and by train. The arrival of American troops helped turn the tide against Germany and quickly brought the war to an end.
French Artillery – Western Front
A French artillery unit struggles to emplace their gun in the soft mud of the Western front. Note the very deep ruts around the gun crew where the cannons have sunk into the mud and been dragged.
Ottoman Machine Gunners in Gaza, 1917
Ottoman troops take up positions against the advancing British and their Arab allies in Gaza, 1917. Despite insurmountable short comings in logistics, supply and weaponry, the Ottoman Empire put up a good fight against the allied powers, even scoring some impressive victories.
Pictured below is a closeup of the machine gun crew. Note the heavy belt fed machine gun, which would have been extremely difficult to transport especially in the heat and terrain of the Middle East.
Close up pf the machine gun
The Ottomans were able to hold the front in Sinai and Palestine until near the end of the war, when their resistance collapsed and the British entered Jerusalem.