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R. E. Officers at Lunch

Five Royal Engineer officers having lunch off salvaged tables in the middle of the rubble of a shelled building. It is an interesting illustration of the class-ridden society of the period, as they are being served by a soldier, who is a conscious or unconscious parody of a civilian waiter with a cloth over his arm.

 

The majority of officers, who were from middle- or upper-class families, would have been used to servants at home and would have regarded this servant relationship with a fellow soldier as normal. Contemporary attitudes are well illustrated, for example, by the relationship of Lord Peter Wimsey and his ex-soldier servant Bunter, in the stories of Dorothy L Sayers.

 

[Original reads: 'R. E. Officers at Lunch.']

 

digital.nls.uk/74549498

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Taken circa 1918