A mammoth panoramic photograph featuring over 600 members of the '49th Course of Physical & Bayonet Training. Officers & N.C.O.s of the British Army, Overseas Contingents & Royal Naval Division, Headquarters Gymnasium, Aldershot, September 1918'
London, Panora Limited, September 1918.
A vintage gelatin silver photograph (visible image size approximately 178 × 1408 mm), matted and behind glass in a period-style moulded wooden frame (external dimensions an impressive 330 × 1565 mm).
A couple of tiny blemishes to the sky near the left-hand edge, and a few vertical creases with light surface cracks do not detract from this impressive display item.
'In the pre-war period, an officer or NCO seeking to become an instructor would have attended a six-week preliminary course at a Command gymnasium followed by an intensive and wide-ranging four-month course ... at the HQ School Aldershot; this in turn was followed by a three-month probationary period back in his unit before fully qualifying as an instructor. September 1914, however, witnessed a dramatic truncation ... the pressure to dispatch [the men] to units to begin physical and bayonet training meant the AI Course at HQ Aldershot was cut to 21 days ... These HQ courses would run for the duration of the war, with the numbers of trainees in each class soon raised from just under 200 to 500' (Nikolai Bogdnovic: 'Fit to Fight - A History of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, 1860-2015', Bloomsbury, 2017). Bogdnovic makes clear that these courses included Territorials and Commonwealth Dominion troops (Canadians, New Zealanders, Indians and Australians), and later, Americans as well.