Was your relative among THOUSANDS who had photo taken in WWI outdoor studio in northern France?
Beaming in their dog-eared uniforms, British troops pose for a group photo as a bomb-damaged French basilica looms in the background.
Others, taking a pause from the ravages of fighting on the Western Front, stand or sit as they try to look their best in front of a backdrop of brickwork and hanging fabric.
These men were just some of the thousands of British, French and Canadian troops who had their pictures taken in the same outdoor studio in Albert, Northern France, during the First World War.
Many of the images were captioned ‘Somewhere in France’ in a nod to the censors who were trying to ensure that troop positions did not make their way back to the German enemy.
But several shots showing Albert’s Basilica of Our Lady of Brebières in the background, complete with its toppled Golden Virgin hanging from the spire, reveal how the men were not afraid to defy the censors by revealing their locations.
The images were shared with MailOnline by eminent historians Robin Schafer, Professor Peter Doyle and Taff Gillingham, in the knowledge that hundreds of other similar pictures must lie in British, French and Canadian homes.
They are calling on MailOnline readers to search through their homes and family photo albums in the hope that they will find pictures that were also taken in the Albert studio.
Beaming in their dog-eared uniforms, British troops pose for a group photo as a bomb-damaged French basilica looms in the background. These men were just some of the thousands of British and French troops who had their pictures taken in the same outdoor studio in Albert, Northern France, during the First World War
Many of the images were captioned ‘Somewhere in France’ in a nod to the censors who were trying to ensure that troop positions did not make their way back to the German enemy. Above: The brickwork, flooring and fabric backdrop – as well as the caption – are all signs that reveal how the image was one of those taken in the Albert studio
Telltale signs include the ‘Somewhere in France’ caption, chalk on the troops’ boots, the presence of the basilica and the background brickwork in the outdoor studio.
The cobbled or tiled floor, fabric backdrop, chairs or stools and the seized German ‘Pikelhaube’ helmets that some of the troops are wearing also signify that the images were taken in Albert.
All of the images were taken between 1915 and 1917 – before, during and after the horrifying Battle of the Somme, when more than 600,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded in little more than three months.
The chalky boots of the troops in Albert give further clues to their location, which was just a few miles from the front.
The images, which are believed to have been taken by a French photographer in the garden of a home in Albert, are unique because most studio images were captured at least 25 miles from the frontline.
German military historian Mr Schafer said: ‘Albert is basically the front. It is well within artillery range. It’s not far behind the lines, but they may have gone there for brief respite.
‘That’s why they were all dirty and had their weapons.’
British troops from Dundee in Scotland are seen posing in Albert while wearing their fur overcoats, as a small board at their feet says ‘Somewhere in France’
A French soldier poses for a photo. The flooring and fabric backdrop in this image evidence how this was also taken in the Albert studio
This soldier is also wearing a Pickelhaube helmet, whilst the chair he is resting on is seen in other images. Britons may find that images in family photo albums contain the same chair.
Many of the images were found in a German soldier’s photo album which was later bought on Ebay by Mr Schafer.