Generous Donation of World War I diggers’ images

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac, Warren Snowdon, has welcomed the generous donation of glass plate images from the Louis and Antoinette Thuillier Collection to the Australian War Memorial.

“I would like to thank Mr Kerry Stokes for this significant and important donation, the more than 800 images provide a snapshot of our First World War diggers, away from the fighting of the Western Front,” Mr Snowdon said.

The image plates were found in the attic of a home in France, almost 100 years after they were taken by French farmer Louis Thuillier and his wife Antoinette. The plates were purchased by Mr Stokes, and today have joined the photographic collection at the Australian War Memorial.

“These are striking images of young soldiers taken during a brief respite in Vignacourt, from the horror and tragedy of the war. These men would have been slogging through the muddy trenches of the Western Front just days before these shots were taken. I had the opportunity to see copies of these images at Vignacourt on Anzac Day this year, through his donation, Mr Stokes is ensuring many more Australians will have this opportunity. No doubt there will be great interest in these images, they are an incredible asset as we approach the Centenary of Anzac period, I hope all Australians get the opportunity look back on our brave, young soldiers through these glass plates, and to honour their service and sacrifice,” Mr Snowdon said.