Vest Pocket Kodak cameras were manufactured between 1912 and 1926. Many were carried into battle during the First World War, becoming known as the ‘Soldier’s Camera’ due to their popularity with the troops.
The camera pictured is from 1917 (having 2 soldiers’ service numbers etched on it) and I have another from 1914. In 2015 I plan to visit the Somme and Ypres battlefields with both cameras to photograph the landscape. Having done some research I can now put names to the service numbers.
My great great grandfather’s brother, Percy Siggery, died on the first day of the Battle of Langemarck, part of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). He was 22 years old and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.
A Vest Pocket Kodak was used by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine during their Mount Everest expedition in 1924. They did not return and the camera has never been found. If located it may provide evidence they reached the summit of Everest.
Frank Hurley also used a Vest Pocket Kodak during Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917.
More information about these fascinating cameras can be found at: http://www.vpk.staff.shef.ac.uk/
© Simon Howlett 2014. All rights reserved