Military band, Lorraine 1915 , photographer unknown, Rolf Kranz / Europeana 1914-1918, CC BY-SA

Many of the pictures that were sent home from the front were intended to give an impression of normality. Even though some of these pictures may have been "faked", the distractions and leisure activities on display were actually an indispensable part of the soldiers' every day life. 

Drinking some wine while listening to grammophone music, photographer unknown, Rolf Kranz / Europeana 1914-1918, CC BY-SA
Drinking some wine while listening to grammophone music, photographer unknown, Rolf Kranz / Europeana 1914-1918, CC BY-SA

The time spent out of the line at least offered the opportunity for the frontline soldier to enjoy some “quality time” with music and wine or beer. Tobacco was also central to the lives of most European soldiers. Pipes or cigarettes offered a pleasure that could be enjoyed in almost any circumstance.

A soldier smoking a cigar and reading a newspaper while seated on a latrine , photographer unknown, Rolf Kranz  / Europeana 1914-1918, CC BY-SA
A soldier smoking a cigar and reading a newspaper while seated on a latrine , photographer unknown, Rolf Kranz / Europeana 1914-1918, CC BY-SA
Staged photo of some officers putting out a fire in the barracks, photographer unknown, Rolf Kranz / Europeana 1914-1918, CC BY-SA
Staged photo of some officers putting out a fire in the barracks, photographer unknown, Rolf Kranz / Europeana 1914-1918, CC BY-SA