1916 The First World War in Photographs
A War of Attrition
Series: The First World War in Photographs
15th October 2014
1916, the third year of the Great War, was to see the introduction of conscription for the first time in Britain to feed the insatiable demand for men at the Front. It was just as well, as the spring saw the launch of the German offensive at Verdun and the British counter-attack, but neither side achieved any significant gains. On 1 July the Allies experienced the bloodiest day of the war at the start of the Somme campaign with some 60,000 men killed in a single day. The British Mark 1 tank also made its combat debut at the Somme, heralding a new era of mechanised warfare. 1916 was also the year of the Battle of Jutland, which was the greatest naval encounter of the war but resulted in an inconclusive outcome with both sides losing many ships. Shortly afterwards Lord Kitchener died when HMS Hampshire hit a mine. Kitchener had become the iconic figure of the First World War, appearing on countless recruiting posters. On the Eastern Front the Russian forces pushed forward to draw the Germans into pulling their troops away from the Western Front.
John Christopher and Campbell McCutcheon tell the story of 1916 at war using many rare and often unpublished images, showing the full horror of the conflict, as well as its impact on the everyday person.