During a classic World War Special of Antiques Roadshow, Fiona Bruce took BBC viewers to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. However, two photo albums from World War One grabbed the attention of one expert who was blown away by their contents.
Although, when it came to the valuation, the military expert issued a stark warning to the guest. The guest also brought along his grandfather’s diary, who was a sergeant in World War One.
He explained his grandfather died when he was a small boy, but when he discovered two photo albums, his grandfather was “reluctant to talk about”.
The expert inspected one photo of the guest’s grandfather and his brother Jim from the trenches. The guest pointed out that his grandfather had told him he had to take the photos in “secret”.
He explained: “Before the war, he had emigrated to Australia and in Australia joined an Australian merchant, and then purely by chance they ended up in the same trench.
“The rather poignant thing from my point of view is that they both survived the war. “The brother went back to Australia, my grandfather stayed in England.
“Those pictures are from their final meeting would you believe.”
Discussing why the guest’s grandfather would have had to take the photos in secret, the expert shared: “Well, you’ve got to remember, in the early years of the war, it wasn’t such a problem.
“As the war progressed, it was obvious that the war wasn’t going to end by Christmas. Then things started to change.
“And the politicians realise that if Mr Smith was sitting over his breakfast table and reading the newspaper, and the headline said, ‘Geat ally push forward’, and underneath was a photograph that was sent in from the front showing the opposite or showing dead bodies, for example, that could be politically very damaging.
“So the government decided that actually, it wasn’t a good idea to have soldiers taking photographs.”
When it came to the valuation, the military expert pointed out that the albums were one of a kind. “Well, there is a value to these photographs,” he explained. “There are no others like this.
“And I think they’re going to be worth somewhere in the region of £400 to £500.” However, the guest was quick to point out he would never sell them.
“The monetary value is, of course, no consequence. It is nice being two albums so both my daughter and my son will have something passed down to them.”
“Oh no,” the expert interrupted as he issued a warning to the guest. “Don’t split them up, whatever you do never split them up. “Once you split these two albums up, I guarantee they will never find their way together again. Find one custodian.”