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A very large photograph, captioned on the matt: 'Group of the Australian Electrical Mechanical Mining and Boring Company. Taken in Flanders in June 1917'
Visible image size 400 x 550 mm, recently replaced in its original deeply-recessed glazed wooden frame with gilt fillet, complete with the original captioned matt (external dimensions 660 x 800 mm). The sepia-toned original vintage gelatin silver photograph is in fine condition; the white ink caption is a little smudged, but still quite legible; the frame is a little rubbed at the extremities and chipped near one corner; overall, it is a very impressive piece. Given the date there is little doubt that this was taken in the Messines sector, where the engineers had their most famous success with the series of enormous mines detonated before the attack on 7 June 1917. The original caption also notes that 'this group is only 100 strong and yet has been awarded any number of gallantry medals including a DSO, 3 DCMs, 2 MCs and 7 MMs'. The DSO was awarded to the Commanding Officer, Major Richard Victor Morse, on 3 June 1917; he is seated in the centre of the front row. A copy of a letter from Morse to the Controller of Mines, Second Army, dated 12 June 1917, is in the Australian War Memorial collection. The final paragraph may help put this particular image in its true context: 'I also wish to draw your special attention to the very good work of the N.C.O.'s and men ... These men have for the past 18 months carried out their duties under very extreme conditions, and in keeping the supply of power for the front line work, constantly repairing cables under heavy shell fire, and have shown faithfulness to their duty by working weeks in the line without taking relief, and unduly long hours on duty, in the many instances of Engine room and line troubles'.
      [Bookseller: Michael Treloar Antiquarian Booksellers]
Last Found On: 2018-02-19           Check availability:      Biblio    

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