a Magazine for Great Britain and the Empire
see a collection of covers of 'The War Illustrated'
'The War Illustrated' was one of the most succesful British war magazines published during the 1914-1918 conflict. Edited by J. A. Hammerton (see photo below), it was a newly created title upon outbreak of war. 'The War Illustrated' was more of a popular working class magazine, containing many hand-drawn illustrations of the more adventurous and heroic type. Not quite a 'war-tabloid', the reporting was in the early years of the war less factual than it was sensational and above all fiercly patriotic. Nor did 'the War Illustrated' hesitate to print accounts and illustrations of German atrocities, some true, but for the most part invented. After 1916, reporting took on a more serious appearance, with more importance being placed on veracity and facts.
The magazine was profusely illustrated and did not belie its name in this respect. In fact from an illustrative point of view, 'the War Illustrated' was an excellent publication, being full of entire pages with six or more photos per page, each usually on a single theme or subject. Many of the photographs were originals, not the usual run-of-the-mill newsagency material. The hand drawn illustrations were very striking and eye-catching, though not always meant to be taken at face value. Many covers and illustrations were done by Stanley Wood in his incomparable dramatic style. Most bound editions of the weekly editions did not contain the outer coverpages, these being removed prior to binding.
But aside from the photographic and illustrative contents, the magazine also published quite interesting journalistic accounts of events and battles along with opinion pieces and summeries of war chronologies. From 1916 onwards, famous (and less-famous) war-correspondents wrote short but surprisingly amusing and readable accounts of their most interesting or harrowing experiences in the war. These make for interesting reading, as do the accounts written by the rank and file of their own battle experiences. Veteran reporter Hamilton Fyfe was a particulary interesting and prolific writer of such pieces. His war-time wanderings took him all over northern France in 1914, into Russia and Rumania in 1915 and 1916 and then back to the Western front afterwards.
'The War Illustrated' was published till 1919. The paper quality was generally on the poor side as was printing. Smaller deluxe editions of the bound volume collections were also printed on better and thicker quality paper. This magazine is one of the Great War magazines which has aged well through the years, the general contents containing much of interest to modern readers.
During the Second World War another series of magazines with this title was published. During the inter-war years, editor J. A. Hammerton also produced two Great War magazine series called 'I Was There' and 'The Great War'. The first was a very fine collection of some 50 issues, all containing wartime accounts of special occurences and memoirs by officers and other ranks. 'The Great War' was a general history publication.
a collection of texts taken from 'The War Ilustrated'
by Lovat Fraser
a collection of full pages taken from 'The War Ilustrated'
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