Online gallery reveals faces of the Great War

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Private Tickle was “one of the very best”, according to a hand-written note on the back of an old photograph by the mother of a young man killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The haunting image of the fallen soldier is just one of a 100 portraits of those who served in the First World War published today by the Imperial War Museum (IWM).

The museum is appealing to the public to help find out more about all the servicemen whose images make up the online exhibition but about whom very little else is known.

The collection of photographs – Faces of the First World War – is part of the IWM’s preparations to mark the centenary of the war.

The snapshots of servicemen has been sourced from thousands of portraits acquired by the museum when it was founded in 1917 and some are accompanied by just a name, rank and unit.

Captain Percy Ernest Bass cuts a handsome figure in his portrait and even though he is believed to have survived the war, there is no further information about him.

The body of Lieutenant Maurice Sharpe was never found after his aircraft was disabled as he flew over the Front Line during the Battle of the Somme. Yet his photograph remains and is included in the exhibition.

Visitors to the website can see a young-looking Stoker Petty Officer Harold Jordan. He was aboard HMS Strongbow when it was sunk during an attack on a merchant ship convoy on September 17, 1917.

The IWM will continue to upload a new portrait to picture website Flickr Commons every weekday until August 2014.

The museum was able to build a portrait collection following an international public appeal between 1917 and 1920 which was advertised in both the press and ration books. The exhibition can be viewed at

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