Amateur set – Ambulances from Champagne 1915 & Saint-Mesmes 1916 (Marne)

I recently obtained a small collection of seven 45x017mm glass plate positives from an amateur photographer, taken in 1915 and 1916. There is very little to identify them, besides captions & dates on some of them, but they’re quite stunning.

The first three images were presumably taken within minutes of each other; they feature a convoy of ambulances that were sent to transport the wounded from either the First or the Second Battle of Champagne, based on the one with a caption, which was first in the box. The one soldier in particular seems particularly eager to be in the photos, where he poses rather hilariously – against the same ambulance in the first two, and against a different ambulance in the third.

The next three are of a convoy preparing and departing; the label from these reads “St. Mesmes”, clearly short for the Saint-Mesmes commune in the Marne. These are dated 1916. Any captioning help from any native French speakers for any of these would be greatly appreciated!

The final image (in the order I received them) features soldiers chowing down near a ditch or creek, near some buildings that look as if they’re being used for billeting purposes. Sadly, there is no caption, but the placement in the box suggests they’d go with the latter set (especially since Saint-Mesmes was behind the line after the Battle of the Marne, and therefore, it would make sense as a billeting location):

Beyond that, I know nothing about these – but they’re pretty fantastic. The photographer responsible had a keen eye, and the shot of the convoy departing as well as the last shot of the soldiers just relaxing at their posts are fantastic. And the guy posing in the first three is an absolute riot.


One Reply to “Amateur set – Ambulances from Champagne 1915 & Saint-Mesmes 1916 (Marne)”

  1. Hello there, Saint-Mesme (Without an “s”), west of Paris is a village where was located the 13th school of artillery and a school of drivers during the ww1. We can imagine that the photographer learned to drive at St-Mesme and later drove an ambulance somewhere in the Marne. Unfortunately i can not join photos to illustrate.

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