The First World War - Frederic Gibbs Collection

This collection of photographs were taken or collected by Frederick Gerald Gibbs (1888 - 1940).  Gibbs was a professional photographer with a business at Regent House, High Street, Annan, he was conscripted in 1916 aged 28 and sent to the Western Front where he served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. In a letter home written on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, he describes to his wife Mabel and young son Oswald, a knee injury for which he was invalided out of the army, returning to his family and business in 1919.  Not long before he died, Fred gave to his daughter Sybil, also a professional photographer, seventy-two photographic prints which her nephew Alan Gibbs subsequently donated to Annan Museum. They show aspects of life on the Western Front, including moments of leisure, the impact of war on civilians and the realities of war. Each has been carefully composed and expertly developed from glass plate negatives. The amount of detail recorded in each image is significant, providing us today with important historical insights. Fred, with his trained photographer's eye, and perhaps also his commercial mind, brought home images which were dynamic and told powerful stories. Recent research has revealed that photographs of soldiers on the Western Front, held in The Gibbs Collection at Annan Museum, were originally taken as official Canadian army press photographs. They were probably licensed for printing to Annan photographer Frederick Gibbs. Some of the original photographs have survived and are held in the Canadian War Museum collection, Ottawa.
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