Fonds Photos Première Guerre mondiale

First World War photographic collection

  • Access and consultation : The collection can be consulted in digital form on the computers of the reading room of via Pallas. Its content is freely available.
  • Reproduction :  The content of the collection may not be freely reproduced in the reading room. For any reproduction request by the CegeSoma teams, practical information is available here.

Collection description :

Whether you are a journalist, a researcher or just have a keen interest in history, you may be looking for iconographical documents on this subject. We would therefore like to present you with an overview of our First World War photo collection.

The greater part of our collection comes from private photo albums. These have been collected over a long period through an active acquisition policy by Cegesoma. All the documents have been digitised but only part of them are kept in their original form. The emotional aspect of the images and their close link with private life often go hand in hand with a strong sense of attachment which makes it difficult to part with them.

The majority of the documents we have collected concern military aspects of the war.  The main fund “First World War” includes for example images of the air force, the Belgian artillery, the French cavalry and the different battlefields. The collection De Bremaecker and the fund Blondeel complement this wide spectrum with behind the front images: Oostkerke, Ramskapelle, Veurne, Lampernisse, etc. We also received photographs concerning the day to day life of the soldiers.  Particularly interesting are the albums of the families Ponchau, the collection Louis Chantrenne as well as the funds Greindl, Timmermans, Loxhay and Willemaers. Finally, the granddaughter of Gustave Duchesne has donated more than 300 photos taken by her grandfather during the voyage of the autocanons from Brest to Zbarraz and Gladki Zborow.

Certain collections, though less voluminous, allow us to contemplate other aspects of the period 1914-1918, such as those concerning the political, social and economic life. Thus, the 475 photographs of Janine Binon bear witness to the life of the nurses in the hospital de l'Océan in De Panne as well as in the school of Queen Marie-José in Wulveringhem. The collection of André Drouart illustrates life in captivity in the camp of Alten-Grabow. 

Besides photographs, CegeSoma also keeps a large collection of postcards of the First World War (collections Jacques De Vrient-Mores Roza, Pascalle Van Dinter, Thiebault, Dochain and Léon Schillings) as well as some posters.

The complete list of funds is available via the Pallas catalogue by introducing “Première Guerre, Eerste Wereldoorlog, First World War” in the search engine and by choosing “All (combined) + Photo Library”.

For more information on the reproduction  and lending conditions, or if you possess photographs of the First World War, please contact Gertjan Desmet (archivist).

For more information :