Life aft in phot

Sunderland Echo - - Armistice 100 -

When the First World War came to an end on the 11th Novem­ber 1918, peo­ple the world over breathed a sigh of re­lief. But in the years that fol­lowed, the war’s legacy cre­ated new chal­lenges as well as new op­por­tu­ni­ties. The IWM’s new ex­hi­bi­tion, ti­tled Re­newal: Life Af­ter the First World War in Pho­tographs, doc­u­ments some of the re­al­i­ties peo­ple faced in the post­war world and how they re­sponded to them.

While the First World War was not as widely de­struc­tive as the Sec­ond, the parts of the world that saw the heav­i­est fight­ing were left dev­as­tated. Along the Western Front in France and Bel­gium towns were re­duced to rub­ble and many vil­lages were de­stroyed com­pletely. Civil­ians who had fled their homes as the op­pos­ing armies con­verged on them often re­turned to find every­thing they owned had been de­stroyed. This was the case for the fam­ily pic­tured here (pic­ture 1) who lived in Amiens, France.

How to re­spond to the dev­as­ta­tion on the Western Front be­came a po­lit­i­cal is­sue. The town of Ypres (pic­ture 2), which was fought over re­peat­edly dur­ing the war and re­duced to rub­ble, was par­tic­u­larly con­tro­ver­sial. At the war’s end Win­ston Churchill, then a govern­ment min­is­ter, pro­posed that the town be left in ru­ins as a memo­rial to the sol­diers who had fo there. The re­turn­ing cit of Ypres nat­u­rally had o ideas and so the town w built. Spe­cial care was g restor­ing the medieval t cen­tre to its for­mer glor the towns­peo­ple had be housed in (at first) temp ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Bri­tish and Em­pire s re­turn­ing home, on the hand, faced dif­fer­ent pr lems. Un­em­ploy­ment, p log­i­cal trauma and phys dis­abil­ity af­fected re­tur in large num­bers. Chari like St Dun­stan’s (pic­tur and the YMCA stepped i help, as did or­gan­i­sa­tio Lord Robert’s Memo­rial shop, which em­ployed bled men and trained th pro­duce toys and other (pic­ture 4). Th­ese group char­i­ta­ble in the Vic­tori tra­di­tion, prac­tis­ing re tation through em­ploy with the goal of restorin vet­er­ans’ dig­nity and m them pro­duc­tive memb so­ci­ety once again.

Fi­nally the end of the was not, as some had ho the end of all war. Many flicts emerged or con­tin the years af­ter 1918, mo a few in­volv­ing the UK. Bri­tish Army was de­plo to Ire­land to fight the in pen­dence move­ment, t North­west Fron­tier of I to po­lice the un­sta­ble re and to coun­tries bor­der the new com­mu­nist Rus­sian state which was ex­pand­ing ag­gres­sively. Here you can see in­struc­tors from the Royal Marines train­ing Es­to­ni­ans in the use of Bri­tish weapons to de­fend against Rus­sia. The chilly Es­to­nian win­ter is a far cry from the balmy peace­time colo­nial polic­ing th­ese sol­diers might have been ex­pect­ing af­ter the war (pic­ture 5).

The Cloth Hall in Ypres The lib­er­a­tion of Mu­nich. Cap­tain Fran­cis Der­went Wood RA puts the fin­ish­ing touches to a cos­metic plate made for a Bri­tish sol­dier with a se­ri­ous facial wound.

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