This striking photo is a rare, intimate look at a person in the military context. Often we see photos of anonymous faces and uniforms, reinforcing the impression of the military as mechanical — almost sterile. We don’t think of the people behind the uniforms, we think in terms of soldiers and units. But this portrait of British Army Pvt. J. George is something completely different. Pvt. J. George was one of the South Wales Borderers (”Howard’s Greens”), 36th Infantry Division. This photo was taken after a week on patrol for enemy Japanese troops near Pinwe during the Burma Campaign. With a cigarette in his lips and a Bren gun on his soldier, it’s an arrestingly nonchalant photo.
Near Pinwe, Saigang Division, Burma (Myanmar).
19 November 1944.
Image taken by Lt. W. Austin, No. 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit.