Kodak Vest Pocket Autographic Camera with original box : Private H V Reynolds 1 Field Ambulance, AIF

Accession Number REL41494
Collection type Technology
Object type Optical equipment
Physical description Aluminium, Brass, Cardboard, Glass, Paper
Maker Eastman Kodak
Place made United States of America: New York
Date made c 1915-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Rectangular shaped Kodak Vest Pocket model Autographic camera. It has rounded ends, a white metal alloy body and has been finished in black. The lens housing is mounted to a blackened white metal plate which is connected by a chromed brass lattice to a collapsible, black paper bellows. Some of the black paper has torn away, revealing brown cardboard. The shutter speed can be altered for clouds, marine view, average view, portrait, moving objects and shadow. There is a swivelling glass prismatic view finder that allows photographs to be taken in landscape or portrait format. At the rear of the camera is an attached, pressed and raised steel disk with an oval shaped, amber coloured viewing window fitted to the centre. Text has been impressed into this raised disc which reads 'U.S. PATENTS MAR 4 1902 MAY 6 1913' Fitted next to the disk is a raised, rectangular hinging panel that has been impressed with the text 'VEST POCKET AUTOGRAPHIC KODAK'. This rectangular panel covers and protects a window which is designed to be scribed onto using the attached steel scribing tool. This process exposes the text onto the negative. Fitted to the underside of the camera is a spool winder and clasp to open and lock the camera body. An empty film spool is fitted to the inside of the camera.

The original box comes in two halves which slide together and is covered in red and black textured paper. On the top of the box embossed in gold writing is 'VEST POCKET AUTOGRAPHIC KODAK'; on the front are 'AUTOGRAPHIC VPK' and 'EKC'. On the bottom of the box is a white sticker with the numbers '248779' written on in pencil.

History / Summary

Herbert Vincent Reynolds was born in 1896 at Sebastopol, Victoria. He enlisted for service in the First World War on 16 September 1914, his 18th birthday. Allocated the service number 622, he was sent to Broadmeadows Training Camp and was allotted to 4 Field Ambulance as a stretcher bearer.

He embarked from Australia with his unit on 22 October 1914 and disembarked at Alexandria in early February. Not long after arriving in Egypt, Reynolds transferred to 1 Field Ambulance. He spent the next two months training before sailing for the island of Lemnos on 5 April.

Reynolds landed at Gallipoli at 9am on 25 April and was immediately set to work. The beaches were still under very heavy fire and many Australians, and even some Turkish casualties, were given treatment before being sent to the hospital ships off shore.

During the August offensive, Reynolds became ill and on 16 August, was evacuated to Mudros with enteric fever. His illness was so severe that he was transported to England and on arrival was sent to King George Hospital in London. Reynolds recovered slowly and did not return to Gallipoli. While recovering in London Reynolds bought this camera. He was sent back to Egypt in late February 1916 and returned to his unit in early March. In late March, Reynolds and his unit were shipped to France, arriving in Marseilles on 30 March.

Reynolds served throughout Pozieres and the following battles in both France and Belgium. He was wounded on 20 September 1917 during fighting on the Menin Road, receiving a gunshot wound to his left ear. He was evacuated to England on 23 September and spent over a month recovering, before being sent to an overseas training unit for the remainder of 1917.

Reynolds returned to France and rejoined his unit on 26 April near Hazebrouck. The men of 1 Field Ambulance remained in this position during the German spring offensive and did not relocate until the Allied August offensive began to push the German forces back.

Reynolds and 32 other men from 1 Field Ambulance left the unit on 3 October for a holding camp before embarking for Australia from Le Havre on 13 October. They had been granted a special six month leave for having enlisted in 1914. He disembarked in Melbourne on 23 December and returned home to Sebastopol. He was discharged from the AIF on 20 March 1919.

Reynolds went on to become Mayor of Sebastopol serving in this position from 1936-37, 1941-42, 1947-48, 1953-54 and 1959-60. Herbert Reynolds died in 1978.