A printed line on the front of this photographic postcard (cropped out here), which shows three boys and their parents, states that it was produced by ‘American Galleries, 7 Lime St, L’pool [Liverpool, then in Lancashire]’. The soldier–father wears a bandolier, and his cap badge appears to be that of the Royal Artillery, courtesy of The Army Children Archive.

'The Army Children of the First World War' Centenary project

Posted on centenarynews.com on 24 January 2014
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The Army Children Archive (TACA) has developed a project to mark the Centenary of the First World War, which focuses on children during the conflict who had fathers serving in the British Army.

TACA states that although many British people today can count among their ancestors children who grew up during the First World War with fathers serving in the army, they "may not fully appreciate how having a soldier-father affected the lives [of children] - psychologically, as well as practically".

                      A young girl from Bermondsey wearing - presumably - her father's uniform

TACA collects, preserves and shares online information about the history of British army children. It examines the "challenges and peculiarities" of growing up as the child of a regular soldier in the British Army, from the seventeenth century to the present day.

The First World War provides TACA with a "unique opportunity" as "having a soldier–father when one’s childhood coincides with a world war and a period of national crisis cannot fail to have an impact".

TACA considers the repercussions on the lives of such children from a variety perspectives, from the daily sadness of missing an absent parent, to the joy of reunion, to the trauma inflicted by a father’s injury or death.

As volunteers and conscripts from 1914-1918 were essentially "regular soldiers" en masse (which TACA focuses on), the First World War provides a unique insight on a large scale of the experiences of British army children.

                                              A recruitment poster published in 1915

Flickr Galleries

TACA has developed two online Flickr galleries in order to help people learn about the lifestyles of children during the First World War who had soldier-fathers.

1. ‘The Army Children of the First World War: Faces and Families’ consists of a set of photographic portraits of army children and their families photographed between 1914 and 1918. Any known information about the faces and families pictured, or any clues offered by the photographs themselves, accompany the images. Viewers are invited to fill any information gaps and, if possible, to identify these forgotten faces.

2. ‘The Army Children of the First World War: a Sentimental View’ displays a selection of First World War-era sentimental postcards and ephemera featuring army children, and children generally. Many of these images were intended to tug at the heartstrings; others, to arouse patriotic feelings; another category reflects, through the prism of childhood, national preoccupations during the First World War.

More images will be added to the galleries on a weekly basis.

Source: The Army Children Archive press release

Images courtesy of The Army Children Archive

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News