Talk to focus on photos of First World War trench raid

The story behind rare photographs of a First World War trench raid in progress will be revealed during a talk next week.

Taken by a Royal Flying Corps warplane, the images show a September 1917 raid by soldiers on a German trench at Chérisy, in northern France.

Copies of the photos, which are the only known images of a trench raid taking place, are already on display at Durham County Record Office as part of the exhibition ‘All of a sudden, hell let loose – the trench raid at Chérisy, 15 September 1917’.

To coincide with the exhibition, military historian Steve Shannon will give an illustrated talk about the raid by Durham Light Infantry soldiers, at the record office on Thursday, 15 February.

Steve, who also curated the exhibition, will talk specifically about the photos and a selection of maps.

“The raid is largely forgotten today, submerged beneath the horrors of the Somme and Passchendale but it is unique, not only because of the number of soldiers involved but because the photographs showing it in progress are so rare,” he said.

“The raid also had an important outcome as it is believed that Lt Col Roland Bradford, from Witton Park, received a promotion to become the youngest general in the British Army, as a result of his involvement.”

Tickets for the talk, which runs from 12.30pm to 1.15pm, are priced at £2 per person. To book, call 03000 267 626.

The exhibition also includes copies of original maps, documents and photographs from the DLI’s archive, which is cared for by Durham County Record Office on behalf of the Trustees of the DLI Collection.

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