Fascinating World War 1 scrapbook

Fascinating World War 1 scrapbook

These incredible Google Earth-style images of trenches zig-zagging the pockmarked World War One battlefields are expected to fetch thousands of pounds at auction.

The aerial pictures form part of an extraordinary scrapbook which was put together by a serving soldier in the Great War.

Along with the pictures illustrating the savage destruction of the front-line in France, the collection also includes a rare telegram which signalled the end of the conflict.

NTI_STATTERS_WWI_SCRAPBOOK_01The scrapbook was put together by Sergeant Alex Statters during and after the Great War.

It contains aerial photographs, pictures of him and his fellow soldiers as well as portraits of Sir Winston Churchill which he painted and had signed by the leader.

Sgt Statters served in France helping to draw up artillery maps of the battlefields during the war and the amazing scale of devastation wreaked to the countryside during the conflict is clear from the pictures he produced.

Trenches can be seen carving their way across the muddy fields, left featureless by the relentless bombardment of artillery shells.

In some of the pictures, which were not marked with an area, lines of defence in front of the trenches can clearly be made out.

The rest of the book is made up of a collection of photographs and telegrams.

The other snaps show Sgt Statters and his comrades in France, including one of himself posed next to the burnt out shell of a tank.

One telegram in the book is the official telegram informing British commanders that the war was to end later that day.

It reads: “Hostilities will cease at 1100 hrs. today November 11 aaa Troops will stand fast on line reached at that hour which will be reported by wire to Third Army aaa Defensive precautions will be maintained aaa There will be no intercourse of any description with the enemy until the receipt of instructions from Army Hdqrs aaa Further instructions will follow.”


“It was sent to the front line commanders to be passed on to their troops.

“There are also fantastic pictures of the trenches. It is a shame he didn’t mark where they were but you can still see the scale of the destruction that was done to the countryside.

“The other pictures are of him and his colleagues in various poses on the battlefields.

“What is fascinating about these is that they have all been signed by the people in the photos.

“There were a lot of pictures taken, but not many that have been signed by those involved.

“As for Alex Statters he was originally for the North East, we don’t know a huge amount about what happened to him after the war but he went back to being an ordinary member of society and died in the 1980s.”

There is also a letter praising Sgt Statters’s work during the war.

The hand-written note from his commanding officer reads: “I have great pleasure in saying that Sergt STATTERS Topographical Section R.E. employed at HQ IV Corps on many occasions performed most excellent work for the artillery by preparing and printing ‘barrage’ maps.”

Alongside the scrapbook a collection of Sgt Statters’s artwork will go for sale.

The talented amateur artist painted a collection of many famous faces in the 1920s, each of which he would send to the person in question with a request for them to sign it.

In this latest collection are pictures of Field Marshall Douglas Haig, who lead the British forces in World War One, and Marshal Ferdinand Foch, head of the French force.

Between them the two ran the allied war offensive throughout the war, and both have signed their pictures.

Mr Westwood-Brooks added: “They are exceptional pictures. It is clear he was a very very talented artist.

“What is unusual is that people were willing to sign these for him. It shows how good they are.

“People would often ask for this kind of thing, but normally it would be denied. In a previous lot he had Churchill’s picture. He normally flat refused to sign things, but thought this so good he said yes.

“This collection is now for sale because the family have decided to begin to sell some of his things.

“The whole collection is tremendous.”

The collection of scrapbook and paintings will go on sale next Tuesday (18/3) at Ludlow Racecourse in Ludlow, Shropshire.

The scrapbook and portraits are expected to fetch around £2,500.