D C Harries' First World War Military Portraits

David Harries or D C Harries (the ‘C’ was fictional to distinguish him from others with the same name locally) was a Welsh photographer who primarily operated from his studios in Quay Street, Ammanford and 48 Rhosmaen Street, in Llandeilo from the beginning of the twentieth century until his death in 1940, aged 75.

His images are remarkable in that they provide us with a glimpse of the past as he recorded the details of everyday life through his camera. His extensive collection of glass negatives donated to The National Library of Wales following his death included around 800 studio portraits of individuals and groups who served in the armed forces during the First World War.

Unfortunately, no corresponding details of the identity of these men were kept with these negatives and to this day, the majority of them remain unknown. What we can conclude by looking at these photographs however is that many were soldiers who served with the Welsh Regiments and were photographed with their loved ones, which suggests that they were local men. Also, by looking at the soldiers’ uniforms, some of which display overseas service chevrons and wound stripes, it has enabled us to more accurately date the photographs. Again, some of the soldiers have their medals on display which suggests that they had their photograph taken after the war.

D C Harries’ military portraits are undoubtedly invaluable as they document life and photography in Wales during the period of the Great War. Our gallery below shows a selection of 200 of these portraits that were digitised as part of the Wales Remembers programme.

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