The Business of War

Trench Pumps001

An old, tattered, yet rather unusual photograph I was given just today.

Trench Pumps001 - CopyBy the winter of 1915, in an attempt to alleviate the often appalling conditions the soldiers lived in at the front in Flanders or France, trench pumps were in great demand, and private enterprise, as it is wont to do, stepped in to meet the Army’s requirements. This photograph, dated 17th November 1915, shows two men transporting pumps destined for the front, presumably at a factory in Dudley, or maybe Bermondsey, or perhaps somewhere in Sheffield.  Who knows?  The photograph could have been taken in so many places across England in the early 20th Century.

Trench Pumps002 - Copy (3)          Trench Pumps003

And what, I wonder, became of these men?  Conscription was just round the corner, and I can’t imagine, however useful the end product, that the trench pump industry was a reserved occupation.

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