In 1918 the Mitchell Library Trustees embarked upon an ambitious project: to photograph NSW soldiers heading overseas to serve in World War I. Now the Library will return these portraits of WWI soldiers to families in NSW.
The State Library is giving a free print or digital file to families who spot a relative among the 250 Crown Studio images on our Flickr set here.
If you discover a family member on our Portraits of War Flickr set, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact details and a link to the image.
See over 230 of these portraits on display in Portraits of War: The Crown Studio Project - a free exhibition at the State Library of New South Wales from 28 June - 21 September 2014.
"There for the first time I realized what the World War meant. Instead of new uniforms and brass bands, I saw only the result of four years’ desperate struggle; men without arms and legs, men who were paralyzed and men who were blind…"
You will not have believed that your brother, my father, never knew where you died nor where you are buried, but I do. 82 years to the day after you were killed in the battle for Rifle Wood, near Domart-sur-la-Luce, I visited the battlefield. I stood where you stood before the signal to advance was given; I walked up the hill where you walked into never-ending machine-gun fire, and I went into the wood where you were shot through the forehead and buried there by one of your chums of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars. I wish I could find out where exactly you lie, but digging in the wood is forbidden. Better perhaps that you remain there in peace. I am the first member of your family ever to go there. But I do have your watch and a few items from your wallet, removed from your body before you were interred for evermore in the place where you fought so bravely. They will be kept by your descendants. I would love you to have known that now there is a memorial with your name and those of all your friends who were killed in that battle, as well as to the men of the other regiments who lost their lives there. It is very close to Rifle Wood and we and the local French people have occasional commemorations there. Rest in peace. Peter