Wisbech First World War family portrait by Lilian Ream part of major new The Army Children Archive collection

A Wisbech First World War family captured by photographer Lilian Ream. Picture: THE ARMY CHILDREN ARCHIVE A Wisbech First World War family captured by photographer Lilian Ream. Picture: THE ARMY CHILDREN ARCHIVE

Thursday, June 19, 2014
3:03 PM

A photograph of a Wisbech family during the First World War taken by celebrated Fenland photographer Lilian Ream is featured in an project which sheds light on the plight of children during the conflict.

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The image forms part of the The Army Children of the First World War collection, established by The Army Children Archive (TACA), which is made up of photographic portraits of army children and their families taken between 1914 and 1918.

The family pictured on the front of this postcard comprises a small girl flanked by her soldier–father and her mother.

The brass shoulder title on her father’s right shoulder appears to bear the initials ‘RGA’, which stands for the Royal Garrison Artillery, and he wears a white lanyard.

Printed on the reverse of the postcard is the name and address of the photographer Lilian Ream.

During the First World War, an enormous number of British children became temporary army children when their civilian fathers joined the British Army as volunteers or conscripts.

A significant proportion of British families today will count such children among their ancestors, but may not appreciate fully how having a soldier–father affected their lives.

Diane Lees, director general of the Imperial War Museum, which is involved in the project, said: “We are all connected to the First World War, either through our own family history, the heritage of our local communities, or because of its long-term impact on society and the world we live in today.

“TACA, through its The Army Children of the First World War project, is enabling people to understand the impact of the Great War on society today.”

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