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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.

Those Faking Combat Photographers in the Boer War - 15 of 95 Fake Combat Photos - 1

Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Fake 8 Fake 9 Fake 10
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure This obviously faked photo - a bugler who is dying would hardly use his last breath to blow a bugle even if he could.

But the sentiment wildly appealed to the Victorian sense of patriotism during wars.

This photo obviously seeks to trade on the enormous popularity of Bugler Dunne who was shot and lost his bugle during a disastrous charge across the Tugela River at Colenso, in December, 1899.

Queen Victoria visited him in hospital and presented him with a new bugle.

There were, in fact, numerous very brave young bugle boys putting their lives on the line. Some died in combat.

But this photo is cheesy and fake, as are all the ones that follow, created by photographers who staged all kinds of battle scenics for their big cameras, way behind the lines, where the Boers weren't, and lots of available resting troops were...

Note the five fake bodies also draped for effect.

In fact we cannot recall ever seeing British photos of genuinely dead British soldiers published in the British press.

The only ones we've seen were the photos of the aftermath of the Battle of Spion Kop, and these were taken by Boers and publicized in the European press to show the devastating British casualties.

Which should have been another alert that the British "dead" we feature on these photos, were phony from the beginning.

So what we have here is clearly "theatrical news," to massage the public, not truthful reporting, on any level...

You know, like in the China of Chairman Mao...

And in the Canadian media in 2011...

Fake #2 - The dying Bugler's last Call - a battlefield incident, Gras Pan - 1900 (Exposure #2)

Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON

Ooops... There is another problem with this caption. Methuen lost only 17 killed at Graspan. And sorry, none of them were a bugler... So much for "a battlefield incident..."

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Ooops... #22

Here is another very slightly different exposure to the first Fake #2.

The bugle is down quite a bit here, and the care-giver has leaned forward more, and tilted his head down considerably.

In other words, we have a posed situation here, with multiple exposures taking place, not just a candid battlefield grab shot.

More compromising info is still ahead.

Fake #78 - The dying Bugler's last Call - a battlefield incident, Gras Pan - 1900 (Exposure #3)
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Ooops... #23 - A rare discovery is a third exposure of the same scene that shows conclusively what fakes all are.

No one noticed in this exposure - but then it's such a tiny, unobtrusive part of the image - that the dead man has taken a split second after lying there for ages, to adjust his helmet.

Just as the shutter went.

And he went back to his dead man's hand...

In fact we can prove Fake #78 was taken first...

Oh, and did you see, the cameraman has demanded that the caregiver also, quickly, reverse the way he's wearing his helmet so the badge shows up?

Fake #83 - The dying Bugler's last Call - a battlefield incident, Gras Pan - 1900 (Exposure #1)
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON

A Dead Giveaway - By detecting movements by the "dead" - all of these, in fact, make minute body and limb adjustments between exposures - you can prove these are fakes.

And you can also find out which picture was taken first...

The top dead man has his helmet cover standing up in this photo, and has then lowered his head slightly, causing the cover to collapse down over his ear. His arm has also dropped to a more comfortable position.

The closer actor makes fewer changes but his helmet cover has moved too, as he tilted his head back, ever so slightly, crimping it up, while the photographer diddled. He has also adjusted his right leg, and drooped the rifle a bit.

Another dead give-away are the rifles. Notice how the Tommies - endlessly barked at by the Sergeant-Major to never let go of your rifle - do so in "death," closely grasping their weapons which would, of course, never ever happen under real battle conditions. Both grip their rifles even more firmly in the second exposure.

In fact, in death throes the first thing falling from the hands of a dying soldier - even before he hits the ground - is his rifle. Note Bob Capa's 1936 "Loyalist" actor, in the moment of death, throws his rifle away.

It's a great shot but totally faked, except the death of the actor...

Go to Bob Kills his Actor








In fact war photographers like Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner in the US Civil War, bemoaned this fact when photographing real corpses there in the 1860s. So they carried prop rifles which show up photogenically draped across numerous corpses in their photographs.

Go to Prop Rifles on Dead Bodies


But these are not prop rifles nor dead or wounded Tommies.

The Tommy draped over a rock on the left also offers clues on which exposure was shot first. He is still adjusting his helmet, when the shutter goes.

He had probably put his head down first when the brim of his helmet hit the rock and came off his head. He was readjusting it when the camera clicked, catching him with his hand replacing it.

Then, when everything was comfortably set, he put his hand back on the rock for his "dead" position in the second photo. In fact the photographer may very well have sworn at him for the move, necessitating a second take. It was the editorial staff in London who picked the photos for publication, and never noticed the tiny gaffe in the photo.

Note too, like the cowboys in the old West, who keep their hats on during fisticuffs or falling off their horses, these dead Tommies all keep their helmets on.

None of them are wearing chin straps. When a Tommy falls down in battle, absolutely the first thing that flies off when his head hits the ground is the helmet. In every case.

Just after the rifle... Here, in an execution scene illustrated by George Soper, he documents the hat flying off at the moment of death.













All these "dead" Tommies are wearing their helmets, staged by a cameraman who had never seen dead on a real battlefield.

Below is another Boer War image by George Rowlandson that also shows that, invariably, falling or shot troopers loose their hats in mid air.

They're only following instructions.

"Bill you go lie over there." And helmet firmly planted on his head and rifle closely tucked in, Bill goes and carefully lies in his spot, comfortably adjusting hat and rifle.

And that Death Grip... - Even if none of the other slip ups had occurred - like if they were all real bodies - there is one dead give-away, that by itself, would show what a fake the photos are: the death grip.

There is no way that any corpse, in death, can end up draped over a rock like this one is, with hands gripping the stone. Even in total relaxed mode - like all corpses are - this pictorialization of a dead body would never be possible.

Absolutely, there is some muscle activity that maintains the man on top of the rock like that and his arms in the forward - anti-gravity - position and clutching the rock.

In the close-up you can clearly see that these fingers are animated, acting in concert by a living mind, and definitely are not in the relaxed mode of a dead person, or they would be collapsed.

Or they might be under ultra tension of an extreme claw form which they are not either.

They are mid-way between "dead body" ultra-loose and ultra-claw, in a position that a thinking actor believes is necessary for the effect he's after. He's a failure. This is his first, and last, acting job.

And we have a typical Boer War combat photograph, faked in every detail.

We won't mention that the cameraman changed lenses and moved back further for the second, wider angle photo... The narrow, tighter, field-of-view was not cropped from the wider exposure. Because he moved back with the camera, more of the near man's puttee is covered by the rock in the second exposure Fake #2.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Fake #3 - The Last Drop - A Scene on the Battlefield at Dordrecht
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Paris, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Fake #4 - The Last Drop - A Scene on the Battlefield at Dordrecht - (Our Ooops... #1)
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Much more poignant, than a canteen running out is the "Last Drink" he'll ever take on this recycled image for the Aussie and New Zealand, down under trade.

The same photo as Fake #4, just retitled for more sales punch and pathos.

The whole scenario is explained in detail down below.

Fake #77 - The Last Drink on the Battlefield
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Sydney, AUS
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Lying down on the job
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Kingston, ON
Poor Action Photo - Closer to the action than the vast majority of Boer War photos. But - rifles are lying on the ground; the men are looking around or down. And the photographer high above them all. You can be sure no Boer snipers are in the county... Poor candidate for action photo of the year..


During the Boer War people wanted action pictures at home, especially ones showing the pathos of war.

Though there were more cameras at this war, by far, than any previous war in history, and thousands of images were exposed, it is virtually impossible to find one that shows real action on the front lines.

Right is not one of them. Nor the the one below

Fright - The reason is simple. The Boers were phenomenal shots and their Mauser rifles could pick off anyone making himself available a mile away. No photographer was being paid enough to stand up there in the midst of the fighting men and compose a picture with a camera in his hand.

Which is why Lt. James Cooper Mason's photo taken at Paardeberg is such an amazing achievement. It stands alone, and tall, in a welter of mediocre war photography.

Since it was impossible to get action shots for real - few men were willing, like James Mason, to stick out their necks with a camera while the Boers were firing - so these were faked.

The Last Drop - Among the most famous are the supposed Last Drop pair of stereoviews that we feature here.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

On the March
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Chatham, ON
Poor Action Photo - This is what passes for an action photo during the Boer War - men marching. They are packed close together, their rifles leisurely perched, while transport wagons trundle peacefully along the horizon. One thing sure - no Boers within a 100 miles...

These are not candid, off-the-cuff photos, shot by an out-of-breath photographer worried about a good action shot that may disappear. In fact these photos were made with a tripod-mounted camera. The camera point of view is precisely the same in both views with the photographer not moving an inch between photos.

Had only one exposure been made the photographer and publisher might have been able to carry off the deceit. In fact many people today mistakenly think these were taken during a real action. The myth persists because few people have ever seen both, made by the same photographer, standing in exactly the same spot, only moments apart.

The pictures feature five bodies - one the presumably dying soldier and four corpses, obviously recently deceased. We can buy that the dead would still lie there when the photographer arrives. We cannot buy that the photographer would have got to the spot ahead of the stretcher bearers to take wounded to the hospital.

So these are definitely supposed to be "dead" bodies.

Unfortunately for the photographer and the veracity of the picture, ALL the corpses have moved in the short time lapse between the pictures. In fact the only one who has moved least is the dying soldier himself. The others, bored with being fringe players, tried to make themselves more comfortable by moving heads, hands, arms, and legs to new positions.

Below the corpse has completely repositioned the helmet and also brought both arms in to a more comfortable position.















the corpse has lifted its elbow - probably to scratch an annoying itch just when the shutter went - creating a new shadow, and also moved its foot further forward and off the rock. Remember, cameras don't lie; only photographers do...















The middle corpse has moved its hand closer to the Michael Jackson position.

The top corpse has further drooped its head.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

In Camp
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Port Hope, ON
Poor Action Photo - Photos shot in camps - obviously far from Boers and danger - account for the vast majority of Boer War photographs, especially the commercially produced and sold pictures issued as stereo views.

These commercial photographers wanted a peaceful place to set up a tripod - like for the Dying Bugler - so their images would be sharp, steady, and well exposed. Hard to do when bullets are whizzing around your head. Besides, no one could pay me enough on a sober day.

Of course the photographer might have moved the corpses himself. Famed US Civil War photographer, Alexander Gardner, did exactly that, moving corpses several hundred yards to get better compositions. But that is clearly not the case here with the movements serving no further photographic purpose.

Now, do you believe this soldier is dying?

Notice how a second photo can spoil the effect and fantasy of what looks like a first class effort in the first one.

Clearly, photographers should destroy their seconds and keep only the best. It makes for a much better, believable story.

As Robert Capa found out when someone noticed a duplicate picture of another dying loyalist shot in the exact same place, the same background, the same grass in both photos. Now how likely is that to happen in real life?

The supposed dead body does not show up in other pictures. There are no records of anyone else, than Garcia, dying there that day.

Which all goes to show - it's better to destroy compromising evidence when you're trying to make a photo op set-up look like the real thing.

Which may also explain why those who've gone to search for the negatives,.of Capa's work on the day he shot the Loyalist, or more accurately, got the Loyalist shot - to try to establish details in the action pictures, etc. - have found them missing.

When you've got dupes kicking around of what are supposedly real "one-ofs" it could ruin a reputation. In fact one of those dupes turned up, apparently slipping through the cover up.

Above a real action shot of an army. Hurry up and wait. These men refused to take part in the tomfoolery for the photographer.

ebay hucksters are, of course, the most prominent promoters of these old fake pictures as "real," to stimulate sales. Every week these images go up for sale, often accompanied by purple prose about bodies, fighting, and pathos.

ebay sellers are notorious, around the world, for tarting up listings so they can get top dollar from gullible buyers, who, once caught, have no way to recoup their losses. (Note: the No Returns Accepted cautionary.)

These old stereoviews are just another ebay example of things hyped up to be something they are clearly not, so they can catch a live one...

capt_harry_flashman AKA wilbos_daddy and war-department and joel8281 on ebay is an old hand at this... His many handles are all attempts to escape his creepy ebay reputation.

Go to fake bugle

"A very touching scene," "a mortally wounded friend." Please, spare us...

The ebay hustler says he'd like to think it wasn't a fake, staged after the battle...

Sorry, but this was not even staged "after the battle."

This was reenacted "instead" of a battle, as we have clearly demonstrated. By no fewer than six very healthy actors with nothing better to do on that day.

One of a large series of fake combat images staged by Boer War photographers on order for the commercial trade, to profit from war hysteria back home.

As everyone knows, ebay hucksters, are, of course, the bane of this online auction service, where people all over the world are suckered into buying stuff they're told is "real" when it is often fake, phony, or not as described.

Followed by "No Returns Accepted."

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Fake #5 - The Warwicks Skirmishing with Boers near Weppener, east of Bloemfontein
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Napanee, ON
Poor Action Photo - When everything is beautifully composed, the men wonderfully placed, the image well exposed, and sharp, suspect a fake, and ask, why is the camera on a tripod, and a photographer, standing tall, and not scared - like the men appear to be, cowering behind boulders - of being shot by Boers.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Getting Water in Camp
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Napanee, ON
Real Action Photo - Nothing phony here. These men are not posed. They really are lining up and scooping water from buckets brought up from the local slough.

This, like all the other stereoviews featured here, was the typical "war photography" done by Boer War commercial photographers. To them it was a job. No need to get killed at the battle front when there were so many great camping shots to get, far from any danger.

Some of these were war correspondents, doing photography as a sideline. But mostly they hung around with command headquarters which, during battles, was well behind the lines of lethal fire. None of them marched into battle with generals who commanded attacking columns like Wauchope, Woodgate, or Hart. Too dangerous. Correspondents were unanimous, no photo is worth that risk.

Another Boer War faked stereo view action picture, complete with corpses draped over rocks.

Looks exciting but it's bad theatre at best. Everyone eager to do his part...

Notice how the men in back are shooting their mates in the back. One man in the middle ground left, is aiming at the heights were at least two British soldier clearly see no danger from Boers. Perhaps he's fragging an unpopular officer. And why are the men below holding back and acting aggressively when the enemy has long gone.

Theatre, that's why. Bad theatre.

So far from being good examples of war photography these images are worse and less authentic than the fuzziest camp shot of a camp cook peeling potatoes in a tent.

Those are real people doing real Boer War things.

These guys are just taking part in a bad school play.

All for a photographer on contract hoping to win fame and fortune.

Well at least no one is in danger of dying during this photo shoot...

Right another genuine Boer War action picture, getting water...

It makes one realize how utterly rare, and brave, was the accomplishment by Lt. James Cooper Mason DSO, in taking his real action photo, while under heavy Boer fire, during the most vicious battle of the Boer War.

He showed the same courage in the battle that followed until he was shot through the shoulders and lungs. For his exemplary conduct in the field, Lord Roberts, the British Commander-in-Chief, who came to visit him in his hospital tent at Paardeberg, recommended him for the Distinguished Service Order.

Go to Lord Roberts
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Ooops... #3 Here is a virtually identical "combat" photo copy of the one above, and taken only moments apart.

But the photographer, or somebody, now says it is a skirmish by the Worcesters, not the Warwicks, and the location is Colesberg, not Weppener...

Seriously now, it can't be both. The units aren't related, and the two locations are a very long way apart, not even part of the same campaign. This is a doubly egregious captioning error.

"Skirmish"? Not on your life...

There is faked action here as well as a fake unit and a fake location.

In real battlefield action the men in front, closer to danger, move less than men coming up in the rear. The opposite is true in these two photos, with the men at the rear, closer to the photographer, and more responsive to his directions, holding their poses while the men further away move forward, more unsure of how to act...

Likewise men up front have a clearer view of supposed targets, and would be more likely to have their rifles up to shoot. Not men at the rear, who are further away, can't see as well, and risk shooting their pals. Yet here three men at the back are aiming their rifles while those in front are not... In fact they appear to be in serious danger of being shot in the back...

And these mistakes are not unique. We publish fourteen identical photos with captions that ascribe the action to completely different units and at widely different supposed "battlefield" locations...

Fake #6 - Worcesters skirmishing with Boers near Colesberg on Feb 12th - the Boers drove them back
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Napanee, ON

If you're still not convinced at the totally hokum battle skirmish here and think the Boers are dangerously close enough for the foreground figures to shoot them, look at the top right.

The man at the top, with the best field of view sees nothing to shoot at. Exactly what you'd expect in a faked photograph done when no real Boers are around.

If he, on top of the hill with the best viewing vantage point, can't see the enemy to shoot at, just what are the foreground men, whose view is blocked by the hill, see to shoot at...?

And if the Boers, who were supposedly once close enough to kill these two dead Tommies, and are now miles away why are the men still putting up their dukes - bayonets on rifles yet - in the exact same spot, instead of giving chase?

Why are the "corpses" around the fighting Tommies always fellow Brits, and never Boers?

Was it because Tommies were more readily available as actors, and Boers were not, either as actors, or corpses on bogus battlefields?

We have actually seen a very few candid British photos of dead Boers but never on stereoviews, just from pocket Kodaks.

It destroys the credibility of all the foreground action of men with their rifles up.

The cameraman/director of this laughable battle scene has no future in Hollywood...

Fake Dead - Duplicate, almost simultaneously exposed, stereo photos of this view shows that the corpse, after he died here, readjusted himself between takes, actually lifting his head into a more comfortable dead position. Or maybe the photographer wanted him to expose his "dead" face more for the audience. We know this because his helmet cover which was elevated in the first picture and therefore propped up at first, finally fell down because of gravity. Other actors moving forward also confirms the sequence of the photos.
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The location, says the photographer, or somebody, is Belmont.

Could be, though the boulders at Belmont are not such huge piles on the skyline like this.

Methuen's troops fought at Belmont in November 1899, and may well have fired rounds at the departing Boers who sensibly fled on horseback when they saw the overwhelming numbers of infantrymen who were marching on them.

Poor Action Photo - Note how the photographer is, again, highly exposed in a supposedly supremely dangerous place, while all the men are cowering, big time, behind big boulders, supposedly for good reasons - the blaze of bullets zinging through the air...

Note the photogenically positioned "corpse."

If the photographer is that close to the action you can be sure of another thing: the army medics would have been there long before, and taken away the dead or wounded man, to a safe location, where medical care was dispensed.

Exposed on the Skyline - Note the two idiotic rlflemen on the skyline, posing their profiles and rifles high into the air against the sky so any Boer within two miles can see them and easily pick them off. Which alone tells you there is no Boer within fifty miles of the place.

The man on the top left has failed to hear the instructions from the photographer, that the enemy is to the left. So he is clearly aiming and sighting his rifle to the right. But then he may be getting ready to frag one of his own officers, behind the lines...

Fake #7 - Some of Methuen's Infantry firing on retreating Boers from the Boer Stronghold at Belmont, South Africa
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Ooops... #4 The location, of this completely identical photo, says the photographer, or somebody, is Modder River, which is a very long hike from Belmont, especially if you have to fight Boers, like Methuen did.

The Battle of Graspan intervened and only then did his army advance further to Modder River, where, true enough, Methuen fought another battle.

But hold it. The photo can't be both places. It's either Belmont or Modder River.

We can be absolutely certain it is not Modder River. There are no hills of boulders there that look like that.

The land on both sides of the meandering river, where the battle was fought, is flat, alluvial plain, much of it cropland.

The British suffered a momentary setback there exactly because the Tommies were exposed on flat fields while the Boers fired from trenches concealed along the river banks.

So the caption is fake; the place is fake; the action is fake; the dead man is alive.

Someone must ultimately have seen the captioning mistake and approached the photographer about it. His reply:

"Look, I can't remember. We had the lads do some action photos when the poor blokes had a couple of days rest after the Battle of Belmont, or Graspan. Hell, I can't remember. The rock piles are all the same. Just leave it. No one will ever know. Count your blessings; it's a great action picture. I think the lads did a great job."

Fake #8 - A desperate Stand at Modder River, SA.,, Dec. 18th, when Methuen was badly defeated
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON

A classic illustration of how the media can misguide an unwary, unthinking, and uninformed public with false pictures and information about what its military forces are doing overseas.

Combatting the Internet - In the 21st century, to the great dismay of the governing and media owning and manipulating classes, the internet, as an alternative source for information, of what is really going on in the world, has undermined, hugely, their version of the "truthful" narrative they and their stable of toadying calumnists want you to swallow. No wonder Wikileaks principal Julian Assange is being targetted and hounded with allegations of date rape of two women who were demonstrably loose and sluttish in their sexual behaviour to begin with - there are those who say these are rights that must be defended for the modern woman - and openly sought him out for sex - repeatedly. And only later howled when someone made it worth their while. It is an interesting modern sociological development, that lusting women, who act like whores, and openly target and attract notorious celebrities like Errol Flynn, Heffner, Sheen, Lowe, and Woods, are loudly defended, while the men who respond in like kind, are just as loudly derided and, like Assange, even prosecuted for crossing some kind of sexual boundaries with women who have few, if any...

So - the photo is not Modder River.

The photo is not of Methuen's men at Modder River.

The photo is not a combat photo, but a reenactment for the camera.

The scene is, in fact, a total fantasy of the actual battle that occurred at Modder River. So it even fails as a reenactment.

The date is wrong. The Battle of Modder River occurred on Nov. 28th, 1899.

The "desperate stand" never took place, The British were not in defensive positions, warding off a Boer attack. Exactly the opposite was true. The British were the attackers; the Boers were the ones making a desperate stand to halt Methuen's advancing army. The British were pinned down in their attack and had to dig in and wait till nightfall.

In fact after a day long battle the Boers withdrew, leaving the British in charge of the field. So Methuen was not "badly defeated;" he was in command of the field after the battle, the classic definition of victory in battle.

Though he felt his losses were enough that he waited for reinforcements before moving against the Boers again.

The Bacon print detail below got the scene right more accurately than the photo - not a rock in sight.

The British are advancing on the flat fields against Boers in trenches, which they abandoned during the night.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous lithograph of the Battle of Modder River.

Like the stereoviews Bacon prints were important propaganda publications designed to stoke the fires of jingoism on the home front so that the media owning classes could keep Joe Public on side as they inflicted their depredations on the local population of Boers who were - like the Taliban in Afghanistan - defending their homes and hearths against foreign forces invading their homelands.

So stereoviews and Bacon prints are fabulous documents that illustrate how the media-owning classes manipulate the population in democracies to get them to agree to foreign policy interventions that are advantageous for their business cronies, while getting the average Joe to think it's good for him and the country.

The Conscience of Canada - In fact the French-Canadian population of Canada has, for over a century, been the backbone of Canadians who say Canada has no business making war on helpless populations in their homelands just because the business and industrial classes want to get rich by doing so, and has lobbied to abstain from foreign military adventures that are not in Canada's best interests.

Bacon Print, Battle of Modder River, Nov. 28, 1899 (detail)
Orig. litho - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - London, UK
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The location, says the photographer, or somebody, is Modder River.

In fact this is very much like the battlefield there looked, from the vantage of the British troops, looking north towards the Modder River.

So compare this view of Modder River with that of the previous photo, which was absolutely not taken at Modder River.

The fake caption of the "desperate stand" above looks ludicrous. The British, in fact, were stalled, while lying on the flats, digging holes for cover as best they could, exactly as shown left. They were pinned down there all day, till night fall.

The British did not make a desperate stand, which is generally a holding action to maintain a position from attackers.

In truth the British, far from "making a stand" at Modder River, were, in fact, stymied in striking home their attack on the Boers who, in reality, were the ones making the stand, and quite successfully so, along the banks of the river.

"The fighting line" is dubious. The photographer is standing tall, while the men hunch down. Is he risking his life? No way.

It's certain that the Boers are a long way away, and cavalry and artillery units may very well be manoeuvring into positions ahead, with these infantrymen holding the perimeter line for the supply wagons in the rear.

So a cameraman unpacked his tripod and made the photo, and provided the caption to please his boss.

Captions often make pictures fakes.

Fake #9 - On the Fighting Line with the Queen's bravest, Modder River
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Ooops... #5 The location, says the photographer, or somebody, is Driefontein, not far from Bloemfontein.

But hold it. Look how the men have dug themselves in with their entrenching spades, lying beside them. They're digging in to get away from the Boer rifle fire, especially the snipers.

The only one who doesn't look afraid is the damn photographer with his huge rig, standing high above the action, fiddling with his focus, exposure, and glass plates...

It should tell you how close the Boers are and whether this really is men "creeping on the Boers."

It looks to us they're dug in to hold ground, not advance on anyone.

We're absolutely certain the three lying down supposed combat photos are taken at the same place featuring the same Tommies 1 and 2. The folds on their clothing and helmets, the position of their equipment, the amount they are dug in, the terrain around them etc., are identical from photo to photo.

They were taken at the same time in the same place. But we will never know if it was Orange River, Dreifontein, or Modder River.

But we will know that the photographer had no trouble taking all the time in the world to go to the head of the supposed firing line, and set up his big rig again, fully exposing himself for a considerable time to the hot fire of the Boers which the Tommies are supposedly escaping by being dug in.

Victoria Cross for the photographer? Naaah, all three shots are clearly fake combat photos. The Boers? Miles, and miles, away...

Fake #10 - Gen. Kelly-Kenny's Infantry creeping on the Boers at Dreifontein - on the march to Bloemfontein
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Ooops... #6 The location, of this completely identical photo, says the photographer, or somebody, is Orange River,

But hold it. The photo can't be both places. It's either Dreifontein or Orange River.

They are a very long way apart, indeed, especially if you have to fight Boers all the way.

And these boys also are neither "creeping" or "stealing" after the Boers, in either place.

Infantrymen never caught the Boers - who were highly mobile on horseback - sleeping or unawares.

The only ones who managed to do that were British mounted troops and often only by moving at night.

Whenever you see photos of infantrymen you can be sure the Boers are long gone from the slowly plodding, footsore Tommies.

In fact the biggest complaint of the foot slogging Tommies was that they never got to see a Boer let alone get a shot at one...

So another false caption; a wrong place; and you can be sure, fake action as well.

Varying the names of the units, for the same photograph, was helpful in sales, on the Home Front, as people would identify by seeing their local units named on the stereoviews.

But, since none of the photos were taken of real battles, but staged ones, no one could keep straight which battle was actually portrayed and publishers just ad libbed the captions to fit the most famous fight of the day.

Fake #11 - The Wiltshire boys stealing on the enemy at Orange River, but Boers captured them later at...
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure It's not the Worcesters leading the attack - it's the photographer...

Now how probable is that?

Clearly he was there ahead of the Tommies, got his rig set up, and when all was ready, gave the signal for his actors to begin the charge...

Good action picture though...

Even if it is fake...

In fact this kind of genuine photography of death-defying action at the front lines did not occur until World War II, when photographers who were as brave as the men they photographed were embedded with the front-line troops.

Then the soldier who fought was at last, one with the combat photographer who shared the danger.

The Worcesters here know that tomorrow they will be asked to charge into the real jaws of death...

While the damn photographer will be sitting in some bar, far behind the lines, quaffing a few while laughing about the fake action photos he took.

Fake #12 - The Worcesters leading the attack on a Kopje held by the Boers, Norval's Pont
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Ooops... #7 The soldiers, in this completely identical photo, says the photographer, or somebody, are the Gloucesters...

So, is it the Worcesters, or the Gloucesters? It can't be both... But here the word "fearless" has been added to give impact.

Fearless? When there are no Boers in sight...?

Really, it shows that when the media issues propaganda pictures or text, and the reader has no alternative source for corroboration etc. - like Wikileaks in our day - the propagandizing classes can, and will, say just about anything to further their cause.

These many fake pictures and captions show that the search for truth is not what it's all about, but to create an effect it will achieve among those you are trying to brainwash...

We have featured seven sets of completely identical photos where the locations, and military units, were interchanged willy nilly by the publishers, without the slightest concern about getting it right...

No doubt they convinced the Home Front to Stand Firm for Queen and Country.

In fact many of these heroic stereoviews motivated many young men to sign up to fight in World War I, just a dozen years later.

But this time they would die by the hundreds of thousands in the muddy hellholes of No Man's Land in France. No more "gallant" or "fearless" charges, or "stealing" or "creeping" up on the enemy, like they had in sunny South Africa.

Instead an entire generation of young men would be wiped out in the world's most stupid war that started with a quarrel between the Royal Houses of Europe, after the assassination of an heir to the throne.

Fake #13 - The fearless Gloucesters leading the attack on a Kopje held by the Boers, Norval's Pont
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON