Drawing the First World War

A WW1 hospital scrapbook

During the First World War, Matron Edith Cliff created a unique scrapbook while she helped injured soldiers recover at Gledhow Hall Hospital. Filled with carefully labelled photographs, postcards, handicrafts, tickets and programmes, the book reveals glimpses of the men who passed through it.

Throughout their time at the hospital soldiers were encouraged to keep busy by writing poetry, making crafts, taking photographs, competing in sports activities and performing in concerts or plays. Many also created artwork. The cartoons within this resource are all by soldiers who passed through Gledhow and they show a range of subjects.

Flowers from France:

One drawing (the second image on the right), dated 14 October 1915, captures brightly coloured flowers on a battlefield in France. The artist jokes that it was ‘Painted in the Trenches “Somewhere in France”.’ 

Soldiers were not allowed to write any details that might help the enemy work out the British Army’s plans, like their location. Because of this, the phrase ‘Somewhere in France’ was commonly used in letters at the time.


Glimpse - A very quick look
Matron - Head of nursing staff in a hospital
Servicemen - People who serve in any of the armed forces
Trenches - Long deep holes giving protection from enemy fire
Unique - Special in some way

View other relevant My Learning WW1 resources.

Scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic or see the teachers' notes  page for discussion and activity ideas.

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