All are gelatin silver prints on thick stock; eight are oblique photographs (207 × 154 mm); two are vertical views (approximately 165 × 220 mm); the larger ones are slightly creased at the corners (one of them a little more so); the others are in excellent condition.
All images are captioned in the negative. All eight oblique views carry the same date, 25 June 1918, preceded by 'A3 AEO *** 62°' (*** ranges from 110 to 121). Place names on them are Hamel, Hamel Wood, Somme, Accroche Wood, Tailloux Wood, and Vaire Wood. The vertical images are dated 3 May and 27 June 1918, and carry a larger set of alpha-numeric references (commencing 'A3 AE A 715' and '35 AE B 929' respectively). All ten prints have the signature 'Capt Sexton' in indelible pencil on the verso. Digitized service records indicate the signature is that of Eric James Sexton of the Adelaide suburb of Hindmarsh; shortly before his 21st birthday he enlisted on 14 August 1914, and was appointed to the 10th Battalion with the rank of lieutenant. He was wounded at the landing at Gallipoli, promoted to captain the following day, and later invalided back to Australia, disembarking on 6 August 1915. By January 1916 he was declared fit again for active service, and re-embarked in April for England, where he performed various training roles. On 14 February 1917, he transferred to the Australian Machine Gun Training Depot, with the rank of major. He embarked for Australia on 12 March 1918, arriving in Melbourne on 22 May 1918. Accordingly, Sexton did not serve in France, and was a major, not a captain, by the time these photographs were produced. We cannot explain the anomalies, but will let the photographs speak for themselves. Significantly, they show the area where the important Battle of Hamel was fought on 4 July 1918. 'Hamel was a big battle in miniature involving the experimentation of tanks and small ammunition drops as part of a broader all-arms offensive. While a coordinated offensive was not a new approach to warfare, Hamel represented the culmination of three years of learning and innovation on the Western Front, testing an all-inclusive approach to mobile warfare. The flawless execution of the operation resulted in Hamel becoming a model for future operations on the Western Front. In his account of the event, Monash famously wrote that "the perfected modern battle plan is like nothing so much as a score for an orchestral composition, where the various arms and units are the instruments, and the tasks they perform are their respective musical phrases' (Ellen Cresswell: 'The Experiment - Innovations at the Battle of Hamel', Australian War Memorial website). [10 items].