Selected by Patricia Methven, Director of Archives & Information Management 


Photographs of a farmer ploughing a field in Ypres and a dog cart taken by the then Major Charles Howard Foulkes in Ypres, 1915.

Foulkes was a Royal Engineer whose early colonial service as a surveyor saw him emerge as a pioneer of photographic surveying. His ever observant eye resulted in rich visual documentation of lives lived – customs, dress, housing, crafts, livestock etc – wherever he went. His eye often also lit upon the usual and the incongruous.


In command of the 11th (Field) Company at the first Battle of Ypres and soon to be the lead gas adviser he still found time to capture a farmer quietly ploughing his field, as Foulkes noted, ‘within rifle range of the enemy’, and an apparently undirected pair of dogs fulfilling an unknown command. Both evoke surprise and conjecture, although dogs were widely used by Belgian forces to carry ammunition and supplies.

Ref: Foulkes 6/93

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