The photographic album of Sir Derek Keppell

E16 of Collected Articles

THE PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM OF SIR DEREK W.G. KEPPEL (MASTER OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF THEIR MAJESTIES’ KING GEORGE V AND QUEEN MARY)

Showing the photographs of Their Majesties’ visits to the British Armies on the Western Front in August 1916 and July 1917.

Viewing Guide to the Album compiled by Dr George Bailey OBE and Marie Hobson, with the support of the Registrar and Curator of the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.

Sir Derek lived from the 7th of April 1863 to the 26th of April 1944. He was aged 53 and 54 in the two years Their Majesties visited France in 1916 and 1917. His album came into the collection of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and was put into the Royal Collection for cataloguing in August 2007. It is now listed as number 2585145.

General Introduction

The sequential numbers to the photographs are those given by Marie Hobson to allow the cataloguing of individual photographs in the Royal Archives, a normal practice that is also followed by the Imperial War Museum.

The photographs taken in 1916 were collated with the cine films taken of the two Royal visits, the 1916 visit, ‘The King Visits His Armies in the Great Advance’ (IWM 192/01 P1 A35 1380 feet Print Acetate and IWM 192/02 P1 A35 1380 feet Print Acetate), being filmed exclusively by Geoffrey Malins. The only events not filmed during this visit are shown as numbers 2585149, 2585153, 2585154, 2585164, 2585166, and 2585171. The diaries of Their Majesties helped enable all but number 2585154 to be accurately dated. Considering that Malins was given limited information about where the King would be and for how long, his capturing on cine film of so many events remains remarkable.

Just three photographs of the 1917 visit, numbered 2585181, 2585182 and 2585185, can be related to two film sequences (contained in IWM 192-01+02 PMA SEC as shown on the reel’s metal can), filmed by the unknown kinematographers, these being unknown because Malins was unusual in having his autobiography published.

THE KING VISITS HIS ARMIES IN THE GREAT ADVANCE, 8 TO 15 AUGUST 1915

2585146, Tuesday, 08 August 1916:
Captain Morrison salutes the King as he disembarks from the S.S. Invicta.

2585147, Saturday, 12 August 1916:
The King, President Poincare of France, General Sir Douglas Haig, and the French General Joseph Joffre and General Ferdinand Foch stand together on the balcony at the Advanced British Headquarters, Val Vion, Beauguesne.

2585148, Saturday, 12 August 1916:
General Haig, General Joffre and General Foch walking away from the Headquarters, a photograph taken after that catalogued as IWM Q 951 at the Imperial War Museum.

2585149, Wednesday, 9 August 1916:
The King, General Haig and Major-General Geoffrey Fielding at the Guards Headquarters. (The event was not recorded in the cine film).

2585149, Saturday, 12 August 1916:
The King, General Haig and David, the Prince of Wales, passing the Guard of Honour of the 17th Lancers as they leave the Headquarters, the Lancers being the first unit a young Haig commanded and hence his continued attachment to it.

2585150, Saturday, 12 August 1916 – recorded as C.494:
The back view of the kinematographer, Geoffrey Malins, seen filming the King, President Poincare, General Haig and General Joffre walking past the Lancers at the Headquarters. One leg of the tripod is shown strapped, a repair made on the 1st of July when hit by a bullet whilst Malins was filming at Beaumont Hamel at the start of the great attack. It appears that Malins is using his hand cranked camera.

2585151, Thursday, 10 August 1916 – recorded as C.503:
Australian troops photographed marching along a road. As there is no sign of any wounded with bandages, likely after leaving the trenches at Pozieres following the very intensive fighting, it is possibly this was a staged event. (The event is recorded in the cine film).

2585152, Thursday, 10 August 1916:
One of the Australians is distinctive in the Malins’ film through having a cheeky grin as they hold their hats high whilst cheering the King.

2585153, Thursday, 10 August 1916:
The King, Major-General Sir C. Harrington, General Sir Herbert Plumer and General Godley passing New Zealand troops. (The event is not recorded in the Malins’ film).

2585154, the actual date cannot be found in the King’s diary, August 1916:
The King walks past the men of the Gloucester Regiment. (The event is not recorded in the cine film).

2585155, Monday, 14 August 1916 – recorded as C.518:
The King, Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng and another General Officer walk between the two lines of cheering Canadian troops. The windmill at Reninghulst as recorded in the cine film is seen in the background. The photograph is labeled ‘ The “Byng Boys” ‘.

2585156, Monday, 14 August 1916:
The King, Lieutenant-General Byng and another General Officer walk between the two lines of cheering Canadian troops, but with a pug like small dog getting under the feet of the General Officer.

2585157, Thursday, 10 August 1916:
Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Rawlinson, Lieutenant Sir Walter Congreve VC and the young Engineer lieutenant (probably in his late 20s, who guided the Royal party over the devastated battlefield at Fricourt and Mametz) stand by the King as he rests his telescope against the trunk of a thin tree stripped of all leaves and small branches, as he looks towards the fighting taking place at Pozieres. Sir Derek is seen in back view. A young Belgian aide de camp stands in the background holding a raincoat.

2585158, Thursday, 10 August 1916 – recorded as C.513:
The King, Lieutenant-General Rawlinson, Lieutenant-General Congreve, Sir Clive Wigram and the Engineer lieutenant look down on the Prince of Wales exploring the bottom of a German trench, between Fricourt and Mametz.

2585159, Thursday, 10 August 1916 – recorded as C.517:
The King, the Prince of Wales, Lieutenant-General Congreve and the Belgian aide de camp pay their respects at the grave of a British soldier, between Fricourt and Mametz.

2585160, Thursday, 10 August 1916 – recorded as C.514:
The King at the wooden entrance to a German dug-out, with the back views of three officers looking towards the entrance, between Fricourt and Mametz. This is the dug-out the King decided not to enter as it still had the corpse of a German soldier deep inside.

2585161, Monday, 14 August 1916 – recorded as C.511:
The King and General Sir Herbert Plumer (recorded as “Plum” on the photograph) at the open gun pit with its 6 inch howitzer at Locre.

2585162, Thursday, 10 August 1916 – recorded as C.504:
Shells bursting over Pozieres. Four soldiers can be seen in extended line close to where a very large calibre shell is bursting.

2585163, Sunday, 13 August 1916 – recorded as C.520:
The church service within La Patronage, Cassel, a modified sports club, attended by the King, the Prince of Wales, General Plumer and officers and soldiers of his Second Army Headquarters. Malins filmed the Royal party entering La Patronage but was unable to film within during the service.

2585164, Monday, 14 August 1916 – recorded as C.507:
The King and General McCay watching an Australian bayonet practicing within a dummy trench with other officers looking on. (The event was not recorded in the cine film).

2585165, Friday, 11 August 1916 – recorded as C.522:
The King talking to one of the two wounded soldiers on camp beds outside the bell tents at No. 18 Casualty Clearing Station, Lapugnoy, with Colonel Ryan and a nurse standing by.

2585166, Monday, 14 August 1916 – recorded as C.523:
The King chats to French women “cottagers” with General Plumer standing nearby. This meeting probably took place at Locre where the King visited the 117th Siege Battery. (The meeting was not recorded in the cine film).

2585167, Sunday, 13 August 1916 – recorded as C.530:
The King talks jovially to King Albert of the Belgians, on his visit to the Belgian Royal Family’s home at La Panne, about the incident three days before when trying to get out of the remains of the German trench on the Somme. Also walking through the sand dunes are Prince Alexander of Teck and General Plumer.

2585168, Sunday, 13 August 1916:
The King investing Belgian General Officers with medals, with Prince Alexander and General Plumer observing the ceremony.

2585169, Sunday, 13 August 1916 – recorded as C.527:
King Albert and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians congratulating the Belgian medal recipients. The Queen is dressed in white and is wearing a white hat shaped like a helmet. (This part of the ceremony was not recorded in the cine film).

2585170, Sunday, 13 August 1916:
The King and the Belgian Royal Family (including their two sons and their daughter) stand quietly in contemplation around a stone circle.

2585171, Sunday, 13 August 1916:
The King looks out over the English Channel from the 12 inch naval gun position, as mentioned in his diary. The gun was firing on Ostende. (This event was not recorded in the cine film).

2585172, Tuesday, 15 August 1916:
The quay at the port of Calais, as seen from the S.S. Invicta, lined with civilian and military dignitaries. The Prince of Wales waits by his car for his chauffeur, Lance-Corporal John Brenton, to drive him away.

THE KING AND QUEEN VISIT HIS ARMIES IN FRANCE, FROM 3 JULY 1917

2585173-178, Thursday, 12 July 1917:
Photographs of parades and sports events held by the 5th Australian Division at Henencourt with the King observing.

2585179-180, Thursday, 12 July 1917:
The King meets General Henri-Philippe Petain, the new Commander in Chief of the French Armies, and knights Major-General Arthur Currie, the Commander of the Canadian Corps. Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and the General Franchet d’Esperey, who commanded the French Fifth Army at the Battle of the Marne, are also present.

2585181-182, Sunday, 12 July 1917:
The King at Thiepval and the Ancre valley, the Somme, with Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng and Sir Derek Keppel.

2585183-184, Tuesday, 03 July 1917:
The King and Queen mingling with the military and civilian dignitaries after disembarking at the port of Calais. (This event was recorded in the 1917 cine film sequences).

2585185-186, Saturday, 07 July 1917:
Photographs of the British and Belgian Royal couples at the chateau of Framecourt. Recorded as C.2062, the King and Queen with the Prince of Wales. Recorded as D.1686, the King and Queen with King Albert and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians.

2585185, Tuesday, 10 July 1917 – recorded as D.1681:
The King and Queen with the President of France and Madame Poincare. Standing behind are the Prince of Wales, Field-Marshal Haig and Lord Bertie (British Ambassador to France). The British Officers’ Club, Abbeville. (This event was recorded in the 1917 cine film sequences).

2585186, Thursday, 05 July 1917 – recorded as D.1655, D.1652 and D.1654:
The King lunches with King Albert and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians at their wartime home, in La Panne.

2585187, Wednesday, 04 July 1917 – recorded as D.1649, D.1646, D.1647 and D.1648:
The King visits the Wytschaete Ridge and the Messines battlefield with General Sir Herbert Plumer.

2585188, Saturday, 07 July 1917 – recorded as D.1670 and D.1674:
The King accompanied by General Faulkes (Director of Gas Services) observing demonstrations of gas weapons at Helfant.

2585188, Thursday, 05 July 1917 – recorded as D.1671 and D.1672:
The King sees demonstrations of Stokes mortars and other weapons provided by General Du Cane and the XV Corps at Plage, close to the Channel coast.

2585189, Thursday, 05 July 1917 – recorded as D.1651:
Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Rawlinson showing the King a large calibre (12 inch howitzer or 9.2 inch naval) gun position at Coxyde.

2585189, Friday, 06 July 1917 – recorded as D.1664, D.1662 and D.1663:
The King and General John Ponsonby observing his Brigade of Guards practising and training for their next battle.

2585190, Friday, 06 July 1917 – recorded as D.1666:
The King talking to the French farmer who had lent the Brigade of Guards his fields for their training ground.

2585190, Saturday, 07 July 1917 – recorded as D.1668:
The King and Sir Derek Keppel photographed at British General Headquarters, Blendeques.

2585191, Friday, 06 July 1917 – recorded as D.1657, D.1679 and D.1659:
The King visits the 4th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, showing pilots and their flying machines, including the wrecked plane crash landed after its controls were shot away, though with only a severe shaking up being suffered by its two ‘aviators’ as reported by the King in his diary.

2585191, Saturday, 07 July 1917 – recorded as D.1669:
The Gas Services range at Helfant where the King and General Faulkes observed demonstrations of gas weapons.

2585192, 193 and 194, unknown days July 1917:
These photographs are of battlefields and hospitals but it has not proved possible to identify the individual sites.

2585195, Tuesday, 10 July 1917 – recorded as D.1898 and D.1703:
The South African hospital and its native orderlies visited by the Queen.

2585196, unknown days July 1917:
These photographs are of hospitals but it has not proved possible to identify the individual sites.

2585197, unknown days July 1917:
These photographs are visits to hospitals by the Queen, accompanied by Lady Airlie, but it has not proved possible to identify the individual sites.

2585198, Thursday, 05 July 1917:
The Queen and Lady Airlie with British officers watch a gas demonstration at the Gas Services range, Helfant.

2585192-202, unknown days July 1917:
Hospital visits carried out by the Queen, but it has not proved possible to identify the individual sites.

2585203, Thursday 10 August 1916:
The King is driven to Franvillers along the road from Amiens to Albert where he meets Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Rawlinson, the Commander of the British Fourth Army fighting the Battle of the Somme. Also seen standing around the car are the Prince of Wales, Major Thompson and Lance-Corporal John Bushby, the King’s chauffeur. The King is talking to a young officer but it has not proved possible to identify him.

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM 1918

2585204, unknown date in 1918 perhaps during the Advance to Victory:
A photograph of an unknown German cemetery holding many graves, some being identified as the dead of 1918.

2585205, 02 October 1918:
Brigadier-General J.C. Campbell VC is seen standing on the bridge over the St. Quentin Canal at Riqueval, north of the town of St. Quentin, addressing the troops of the 37th Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division, after they successfully crossed the heavily fortified canal, an integral part of the Hindenburg Line, on the 30th of September. Once this Line was broken, the German field armies were in retreat until the Armistice six weeks later.

Of interest is that this photograph is not the same as that catalogued as IWM Q 9534 at the Imperial War Museum. In that photograph, General Campbell and his staff on the bridge look towards the photographer on his bank of the Canal. In this photograph they are instead looking towards the soldiers resting on the opposite bank of the Canal.

This guide was completed on 21 August 2007