Humf’s album

The College marked the centenary of the end of WW1 with an exhibition featuring items from the Archive as well as the private collection of Julian Mitchell, Clerk of Works. The exhibition has benefited from donations received in the last year, including one item which came very recently.


Last week, a photograph album from a private collection was loaned to the Archive. The album was given by Douglas H W Humfrey (OM 1907) to his family friend Betty Dawes. Beginning in 1911, it chronicles the idyllic pre-war existence full of country house parties, hunts, horses and dogs. In 1914 Humfrey joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion; later he transferred to the 2nd Battalion.

Humf2Known to friends and family as ‘Humf’, he brought his camera to the front lines and photographed his colleagues in and out of the trenches. This pictorial diary gives a first-hand account of his war experience, showing scenes of soldiers having morning coffee and breakfast rations in the trenches, his battalion on the march, and the newly-dug graves of his comrades in French cemeteries. Douglas Humfrey was killed in action on 16 May 1915 during the attack on Fromelles during the Battle of Aubers Ridge, aged 27.


As the centenary commemorations draw to a close, I wonder what is still yet to be discovered about the wartime experiences of those who once strode through Lincoln’s quads.



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