World War One - First Known Boyles Photos

During the first World War, Boyles travelled to New South Wales. His photo, taken at Parkes, of the 'Boomerang' recruitment drive is in the New South Wales State Library Collection. The Boyles Collection at the National Sports Museum also includes a WW1 photo - an image of a group of soldiers around a tent captioned "What Billie Hughes got from Mundooran & Dunedoo We Dont Think." (ref 1986.1170.774). These are the earliest known Boyles photos, although the Boyles family have indicated to us that Charles spent a long period in NSW taking photos of soldiers at the WW1 camps. During this time he also met his wife Vera.

The Boomerangs recruitment march 1916 at Parkes Showground - Source: Wikipedia - Photographer Charles Boyles
The Boomerangs recruitment march 1916 at Parkes Showground - Source: Wikipedia - Photographer Charles Boyles


World War Two

Charles Boyles derived most of the family income from football photography, selling to players, clubs and supporters. During WW2, attendances at football matches dropped dramatically. People had less cash and less spare time. Charles had to find other sources of income. With his limp, he was certainly not eligible for the Armed Forces. (To add to the pressure on the family, several of Charles's children served in the Armed forces).

Don Boyles - SLV H2008.122/445 - Source: State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection
Don Boyles - SLV H2008.122/445 - Source: State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection


Australian Soldiers

Early in World War Two, Boyles took photos of soldiers as mementos, very much in the tradition of World War One.

Interestingly, there does not appear to be any crossover with football. Boyles does not appear to have taken any photos of footballers who joined up, even though many clubs had farewells for their players.

During World War One, Darge Studios had the permit to take photos at Victorian Camps. The Australian War Memorial has over 25,000 Darge photos of soldiers, most posing in front of various standard backgrounds. Charles Boyles was well aware of this work and modelled his WW2 photos on one of the Darge backgrounds. The layout and phrase 'For the honour of both' used in the Boyles WW2 photos can be seen in a Darge example at the Australian War Memorial. The Boyles photo Collection at the National Sport Museum in Melbourne also contains a Boyles photo of a Darge photo (NSM ref:1986.1170.164) similar to the one from the Australian War Memorial Collection below.

Private Raymond Sidney Rohner - Source: Australian War Memorial - DACS0298 - Photographer - Darge Photographic Company
Private Raymond Sidney Rohner - Source: Australian War Memorial - DACS0298 - Photographer - Darge Photographic Company


Boyles took many photos of Australian soldiers.
SLV 2008.122/261
SLV 2008.122/261
SLV 2008.122/307
SLV 2008.122/307
SLV 2008.122/331
SLV 2008.122/331
SLV 2008.122/329
SLV 2008.122/329
SLV 2008.122/329
SLV 2008.122/329
SLV 2008.122/305
SLV 2008.122/305
SLV 2008.122/257
SLV 2008.122/257
SLV 2008.122/317
SLV 2008.122/317
SLV 2008.122/312
SLV 2008.122/312


Officers were predominantly taken with a different style of backdrop.
SLV 2008.122/349
SLV 2008.122/349
SLV 2008.122/342
SLV 2008.122/342
SLV 2008.122/262
SLV 2008.122/262
SLV 2008.122/345
SLV 2008.122/345
SLV 2008.122/263
SLV 2008.122/263
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SLV 2008.122/291


Outside the formal portraits, there are many shots of relaxed groups in different settings. Many photos appear to have been taken at a racecourse. Based on the 1940 date for the portraits, it is probable that these photos were taken early in the war.

SLV 2008.122/266
SLV 2008.122/266
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SLV 2008.122/267
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SLV 2008.122/340
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SLV 2008.122/303
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SLV 2008.122/336
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SLV 2008.122/346
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SLV 2008.122/339
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SLV 2008.122/302
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SLV 2008.122/288


SLV 2008.122/258
SLV 2008.122/258
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SLV 2008.122/300
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SLV 2008.122/271


Football

In the 1930's, Boyles had taken photos of teams from both major Victorian football competitions, the Victorian Football League and the Victorian Football Association (VFA). The VFA however shut down in the middle war years - 1942, 1943 and 1944 - and this marked the end of the photographer's VFA photos. There appear to be virtually no Boyles VFA photos after World War Two.

But even with smaller crowds at the VFL, new Football Leagues were created within the Armed Services, and Charles extended his activities to include these new leagues, especially the intra-service 1943 RAAF Competition, and the 1942 Inter-Services Competition.

Source: SLV H2008.122/244
Source: SLV H2008.122/244

122_244 - Army Services team in Richmond style
Source: SLV H2008.122/242
Source: SLV H2008.122/242

122_242 - RAAF Stores Depot in RAAF style at St. Kilda circa 1941-45
Inter-services premiership team 1942 Source: SLV H2008.122/241
Inter-services premiership team 1942 Source: SLV H2008.122/241

RAAF Inter-services premiership team 1942 (SLV 122_241)



U.S. Marines at Ballarat

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States entered the Second World War. At this time, the United States did not have a huge military and while resources were built up, Japan had a run of astounding military success (Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia etc). Eventually code-breaking efforts allowed the U.S. to regain the initiative at the Battle of Midway. Then, as Australian troops bore the brunt of fighting on the Kokoda Trail, American Marines and the U.S Navy fought an extended series of campaigns in the Solomon Islands, most famously around the island of Guadalcanal.

Brutal close-quarter fighting was waged for months at Guadalcanal. The statistics provided on Wikipedia are horrific. The U.S. forces (of around 60,000 men) lost 7,100 dead (more than one in ten). Of the 36,200 Japanese involved, over 31,000 were killed (over eight in ten). The fighting lasted from July to December until the U.S finally prevailed. A number of diaries exist from Guadalcanal, including that of Corporal James ‘Rube’ Garrett online at http://www.nettally.com/jrube/@guadaug.html .

The U.S. First Marine Division did much of the fighting at Guadalcanal. Their war was tough and eventually carried over onto many Pacific Islands. It would only end with the Battle of Okinawa. Today the Division continues to be a part of regular U.S. forces deployed overseas.

After the battle of Guadalcanal, the shocked, starved and weary U.S. soldiers were transported to Queensland, and then, after a month, brought down to Victoria. The Division would never forget this time and their bond with Australia is remembered still. The First Marine Division marching song ever since has been ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

In Victoria, the Division was split up, and a number of soldiers, including our diary writer ‘Rube’ Garrett, were taken to Ballarat. Other American soldiers proceeded to Dandenong, Mt Martha, or stayed at Camp Murphy at the MCG. Charles Boyles, recognising that the well-paid Americans would want mementos to send home, packed himself off to Ballarat and took many photos of the Marines.

Possibly 11th Marine Regiment (Artillery) who were stationed in Ballarat - SLV 2008.122/338
Possibly 11th Marine Regiment (Artillery) who were stationed in Ballarat - SLV 2008.122/338
‘Rube’ Garrett holding a Sword - SLV 2008.122/253
‘Rube’ Garrett holding a Sword - SLV 2008.122/253


The Marines played baseball, including a baseball carnival in April 1943.1 Boyles's photos of the Marines team appears to be that of a Marines representative team rather than an internal scratch team.
SLV 2008.122/276
SLV 2008.122/276
SLV 2008.122/277
SLV 2008.122/277


Boyles took a number of group photos in the park.
SLV 2008.122/274
SLV 2008.122/274
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SLV 2008.122/278
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SLV 2008.122/286
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SLV 2008.122/282


Some of the more informal group shots display a humour rarely seen in Boyles football photos.
SLV 2008.122/285
SLV 2008.122/285
SLV 2008.122/2
SLV 2008.122/2


Other Photographers

Charles Boyles created portraits and group shots of a high quality for the soldiers to send home, whereas other photographers/photo journalists attempted to capture the story, the mood and experience of the soldiers. Charles Boyles treated the U.S. soldiers at Ballarat as a source of business. There are no general images of marching soldiers, nor are there sports or action shots.

The First Marine Division history The Old Breed (published 1949) contains a number of photos from the visit of the Marines to Victoria. These photos provide a contrast to Boyles's style. The images in the Division history below were sourced from a 2006 post by PeterH on http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=109251 where other images can also be found.

Marines arriving in Melbourne Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired
Marines arriving in Melbourne Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired
Marching through Melbourne Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired
Marching through Melbourne Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired
Sport at the MCG Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired
Sport at the MCG Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired
Entertainment at the MCG Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired
Entertainment at the MCG Source:The Old Breed,1949 via forum.axishistory.com - Copyright Expired



Conclusion

The wartime photos of Charles Boyles are different from his usual football photos. The style is still rather formal, but the photos are more relaxed. Although the images appear more relaxed, they are carefully posed and always well lit. They are taken with care, with the objective of selling the image to the soldiers.

Throughout World War Two, Boyles never stopped taking football team photos. He also took shots of individual players during the war: there are, for example, a number of South Melbourne individual player photos taken at training at the Junction Oval (rather than at the Lake Oval home base).

The Charles Boyles photos of U.S. Marines enjoying themselves in Ballarat are a rare collection, especially considering censorship meant that the Marines were virtually not mentioned in the local newspapers and there are very few other photos available.


Note:- If you can identify any of the persons in any of these World War Two photos, or if you happen to have your own copy of one of them, we would love to know.


Further Reading


A relevant work (albeit not Boyles-related) with photos is:
Melbourne's Marines: The First Division at the MCG 1943 by Alf Batchelder, Melbourne Cricket Club Library, 2002
Online at: mhhv.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Marines-Book.pdf‎



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End Notes