Photographs Uncover Another Side of WWI


Henry Charles Teitzel was a soldier who served with the 2nd Light Horse Brigade during the First World War. These personal photographs were taken during the war and they had recently been released by his son, Lionel Teitzel. The black and white photographs were taken with a pocket vest camera made by Kodak and were developed in the sun while they were on the shores of Gallipoli and in Egypt.

Lionel Teitzel said that his mother kept the photographs in a drawer and she wanted to throw them away; however, his daughter was there and she rescued them from the garbage.

Personal photos taken by Henry Teitzel have been released by his son Lionel (pictured) ah

Lionel lives at Raby Bay, said the photographs were important to him, especially since his father was killed when Lionel was only 17 years old. His father was only 49 years old when he was killed in an explosion on his farm. Lionel also contacted the relatives of Sergeant Shanahan, whi was his father’s commanding officer at the time and was also captured in one of the photographs.

Lionel shared a story with the Herald Sun how Shanahan used to give the soldiers a hard time for sleeping during the day. Well one day, someone asked if they had a camera because the Sergeant was asleep under some palm trees. That photograph was taken without the sergeant knowing.

Major Shanahan was Henry Charles Teitzel’s commanding officer.

Henry was working on Warburton Station near Gympie when he enlisted in the war. He was known as a scallywag and was tasked to document military movements, the marshalling of his comrades, and even the movements of his horse, Joe. He was then sent to NSW to choose horses before becoming a member of the mounted infantry brigade of the Second Australian Imperial Force. This task force served in the Middle East and left Australia on December 20, 1914 aboard the HMAT Boorara.

Henry’s regiment was later sent to Egypt in 1914 and headed to defend Gallipoli in May of 1915. Lionel said his father was promoted to lance corporal but he couldn’t see his mates digging trenches, so he declined the promotion.

The photo set includes one of the soldiers lining up to be praised for their work in Pale

Henry continued to take pictures even after he suffered an injury when he was hit by a sniper at Gallipoli. The set of photos include one of the soldiers being congratulated on their work in Palestine. Granted, not all the photographs Henry took survived he years. Several were lost when a fabric wallet which was full of photos, was thrown out many years ago. Since then, Lionel put the photographs onto a disk so that they would be preserved and he could share them with as many people as he could.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE