Captured Germans soldiers, about to be put through a clearing station. It is likely that this photograph was deployed for propaganda purposes. Indeed, the propaganda angle is highlighted by the original captions contentious claim that 'Every day a batch of prisoners of this size passes through one of the British Armys POW clearing stations. Towards the end of the war, however, large numbers of German soldiers were captured or chose to surrender.
The huge number of soldiers captured in this image helps to give an idea of the epic scale of the conflict on the Western Front. Germany mobilised a total of 11 million soldiers during World War I, of which 1.1 million were captured or posted missing. Another 1.7 million were killed while 4.2. million were wounded. From the 11 million German soldiers who were mobilised, 65% were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
[Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Every day a batch of prisoners of this size, taken on the British Sector of the Western Front, pass through one of the Clearing Depots.']
Owner: National Library of Scotland
Source: Flickr Commons