1917, NOVEMBER 17th – RAID CANCELLED BECAUSE THE DELIVERY OF THE WRONG TYPE OF SHELLS
From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose M.C. (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)
On the evening of November 17, only an hour before the raid was to take place, it was announced that the wrong type of shells had been delivered to the artillery. Barely in time to avert a fiasco, the affair was cancelled.
The destruction and devastation at Fampoux, France. There is little left to indicate that a village once stood here. The only evidence is scattered debris and piles of rubble. A small road winds its way through the chaos. The wooden frame of a large building is visible in the distance. On the left of the photograph, a tree offers the only sign of life. Many small towns and villages, due to their proximity to the Front, found themselves caught in the middle of the fighting. In some cases, entire villages were obliterated by the bombing and shelling. [Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. General view of Fampoux.’]
The photographer was John Warwick Brooke, of the Topical Press Agency. He was the second British official war photographer to go to the Western Front in 1916. The demands placed on he and his colleague, Ernest Brooks, were heavy. They had to take as many photographs as possible, with as much variety as possible, a difficult task for two men covering an army of over two million. Despite this, Warwick Brooke managed to take what would become some of the most memorable images of World War I. As an officially appointed photographer, Warwick Brooke was assigned to the Western Front to follow the progress of the British Army. During his time there, between 1916 and 1918, Warwick Brooke is estimated to have taken over 4,000 photographs.