SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

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Up in Ypres: 1917

Up in Ypres: 1917

October 27, 1917. "Western Front (Belgium), Ypres Area -- an observation balloon about to ascend." Glass negative by James Francis Hurley. View full size.

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Balloon School

My grandfather was stationed at the Army balloon school in Arcadia, CA during WWI.

A few years ago we saw a one man play in NYC about an Army Balloon school.


Which the Brits took great pains to pronounce "Wipers," was the scene of much carnage during the Great War, especially to the poor sods in the trenches, but obeisance to the sacrifice of the unfortunate balloon observer must also be paid. Save for a rifle, perhaps, the poor chap sat defenseless under a big bag of hydrogen and was a favorite target for any enemy fighter plane in the vicinity. On the plus side, you could consider such men to be the forerunners of today's airborne forces, being the first to parachute into -- or away from, rather -- combat.

Pleased to see you

Is what this balloon is.


James Francis "Frank" Hurley, was an Australian photographer and adventurer. He participated in a number of expeditions to Antarctica and served as an official photographer with Australian forces during both world wars.

What's that


SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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