Forbidden Cameras

So often we have lamented the lack of photographs of the Western Front, in the State Library of Queensland WW1 collections.  There is just one that comes to mind, all the others contain postcards or photographs taken by professional photographers.

Photographs taken in 1918 by John Fraser Pittendreigh, 6th Machine Gun Company

2nd Lieutenant Horace Jefferys, 1917, top left

His dapper image shown above, appears in a group photograph taken at the graduation of allied soldiers from the 2nd Officer Cadet Battalion school, held at Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1917.

Horace Jefferys’ service record proved difficult to locate owing to the misspelling of his surname, that is until we fell over a record of his Court Martial, held in the field, in January 1918.

General Routine Order no. 3065, 1917

In December 1917 the Australian Army had issued General Routine Order no. 3065, prohibiting cameras and photography by any officer or other ranks subject to military law.

Understandably the authorities decreed that the use of cameras whilst on active service would be prejudicial to the safety of the troops, but it created a void in recording the soldiers experiences, in the latter part of the First World War.

Once in possession of a camera, how did one dispose of it? In several collections held at the State Library, soldiers mentioned leaving their camera with so-and-so and we can now link this to the 1917 regulation.

Kodak Eastman Box Brownie Camera, c1923

Lieutenant Jeffreys went on to serve his country in France with the 53rd Infantry Battalion until he accidentally broke a bone in his right foot. He was returned home in January 1919 after which his appointment was terminated. He continued his associated with the Army by remaining with the Reserved Forces and enlisting to serve in the Australian volunteer forces during the Second World War.

Further reading:

Marg Powell


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Please note that this article spells Horace Jefferys' surname incorrectly even while noting the spelling inconsistencies makes records difficult to trace. As a descendent of this family, I can assure you it is ERYS not REYS. Otherwise, fascinating glimpse into his service. Many thanks.

Thank you Mr Jefferys for pointing out our inconsistencies, I have amended , the article.

I have this same camera in working order just not with original package but do have the material case to put into