My Great Granddad, Samuel James Hamilton with his pals of the 6th London regiment, taken in World War I. He’s the one in the middle row, second from the right without a hat. He sent home this photo to his wife with a written postcard.
I’ve always felt that this photo has a sense of naivety about it because it has captured a moment where most of the soldiers were smiling and having a laugh. I think maybe it was taken when they all first arrived at their barracks, before they’d experienced the trenches or the front line. In the photo they seem so unaware of the dangers that lied ahead for them, it’s almost as if they’ve been lulled into a false class consciousness and have no knowledge of the statistical facts, that they’ll probably not survive the war or be alive for much longer. This seems to be a casual shot, but I notice that Samuel looks more serious.