, 13 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
For #BellLetsTalk day, #LetsTalk about Canadian photographers who experienced traumatic events while documenting the #FWW and #SWW 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
(Photograph is: Mud and barbed wire through which the Canadians advanced during the Battle of Passchendaele. W. Rider-Rider, November 1917, LAC MIKAN 3194807).
Canada's earliest #FWW photographer, Harry Knobel, experienced stress during the first months of the war. He was a member of the 1st Canadian Contingent whose medical records note that he began experiencing “neurasthenia” or “trench fever” as early as November 1915.
(Knobel is standing second from the left in the back row: Headquarters staff, 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. France. Unattributed, June 1916, LAC MIKAN 3520907).
Knobel may have been pretty glad to trade his infantry role for that of official photographer in April 1916. He photographed the Canadian Corps until August when his condition did not improve, and he returned home to Port Arthur Ontario.
Canada's third photographer, Ivor Castle, had a different experience documenting the Canadian Corps. We don't know if he experienced the same types of mental trauma that Knobel did, but he DID publish an anti-war photo book in 1936, called Covenants with Death.
Was Castle's postwar disillusionment similar to that of his contemporaries? Probably, but the fact that he once used photo to champion war, and then to discredit it, is worthy of mention here.
During the #SWW, Canadian cameraman Bud Roos was the first to land on #JunoBeach - Of the 30 men in his assault craft, only he and two others made it ashore alive. His camera would not work, and he abandoned it to help stretcher-bearers.
Roos went on to survive a bombardment at his billet near Beny-Sur-Mer just after DDay. These traumatic events caused him to leave France in 1944.
Roos' colleagues had already been through a lot: Bill Grant had broken a leg, Jimmy Campbell died on July 20, 1944, and Terry Rowe had died earlier that year in Anzio. Campbell's funeral, by Ken Bell, July 1944, LAC MIKAN 3194460.
Terry Rowe did not want to go to Anzio, and event confronted his commanders about it. He was ordered to document the event regardless, and his instincts had been right: his Jeep was shelled by an 88. Colleague Colin McDougall was also wounded.
In the time since the #FWW, it still hasn't been easy for photographers, and especially soldiers to share their experiences. Many other historians have discussed this, including Mark Humphries of @LCMSDS and my friend @AMontgomery82. Be sure to check out their work!
Finally, shout out to @conlin_dan from whom I've borrowed the #SWW info above, check out his book, War Through the Lens #warphotos #BellLetsTalk
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