Vignacourt - Lost Diggers photographs: frequently asked questions
When will I be able to see the photos?
The exhibition Remember Me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt is on display at the Memorial from 2 November 2012 until 31 July 2013. The exhibition features prints of 74 of the over 800 glass-plate negatives which were generously donated to the Memorial by Mr Kerry Stokes AC in August 2012.
Will the photos be available online?
The photographs in the Memorial's collection - over 800 images in all - are on our website.
Why can’t I find a particular image in the exhibition or on the Memorial’s website?
The Louis and Antoinette Thuillier Collection contains almost 4,000 glass-plate negatives depicting British, French, Australian, US, and Indian soldiers, Chinese Labour Corps, and French civilians. More than 800 of these glass-plate negatives featuring Australians were generously donated to the Memorial by Mr Kerry Stokes AC in August 2012. You can view all the Thuillier images in the Memorial's collection on these webpages.
The Australian War Memorial’s exhibition Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt showcases 74 photographs specially hand-printed in the Memorial’s darkrooms from the original glass-plate negatives. You can see more images from The Louis and Antoinette Thuillier Collection on Seven Network’s Lost Diggers Facebook page. The Memorial’s Remember me exhibition and website complements the collection of Thuillier images seen on Seven’s Sunday Night programs and in Ross Coulthart’s recent book The Lost Diggers.
Where can I see the photos now?
The images in the Memorial's collection can be seen on this website. If you visit the exhibition at the Memorial, you will see 74 prints made from the glass-plate negatives, as well as digital versions of the more than 800 negatives donated by Mr Kerry Stokes AC.
Can I get a copy of a photo if I find one of my relative?
What do I do if I find a relative in one of the photos?
If you think you have identified a relative in one of the photographs, please contact our curators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of our curators will help you to determine if the photo is indeed of your relative. Be prepared with as much information as you can. They will ask you for some more information, for instance, a name, rank or unit that your relative served under.
They will also ask you for a comparative photo. A positive identification will only be made when a comparative photograph can be supplied. It is best to provide a photo of your relative that was taken during or before the First World War.
How do you make identifications?
The Memorial’s curators research a person’s service history before making a positive identification against a photograph. Comparative photographs are also used to confirm an ID. We cross-reference individual service records with official unit records, embarkation listings, and nominal roll databases.
We also look at the photograph in question for any clues that might help, such as:
- colour patches
- badges and rank insignia on uniforms
- medal bars or ribbons worn on uniforms
- the type of uniform they are wearing (i.e. Officer’s uniform or belt)
- kit or equipment they may be carrying or wearing.
Why don’t you just use facial recognition technology and run it over the collection?
Contrary to popular belief, facial recognition software is not 100% accurate, and when dealing with historical photographs that have wear and tear, fading and other marks, the ability to get an accurate result is even further reduced.
Not all photographs are taken in the same way or in the same conditions. Factors such as lighting, exposure, angle of the face, age, and whether the person is wearing a hat or not all contribute to the variances that can make the results inaccurate.
My Great Uncle served on the Western Front; are there any photos of him in the collection?
Unfortunately the photographers did not record any names against any of the photographs, so most of the soldiers photographed are unidentified. The Memorial is unable to search the collection for your relative. It is up to you to browse the collection and notify us if you think you find a photo of your relative.