Two men standing in a muddy field. They are both wearing steel helmets, and long overcoats over their uniforms. The man on the right, smoking a cigarette, is carrying a rifle and a pack over his shoulder. Both men are standing on duckboards caked in mud. To their right is a water-filled hole, possibly a shell hole. The area surrounding them is a churned-up mass of mud.
During World War I, ‘Poliu’ was an informal name used for a French soldier. From the French word meaning hairy, it was not well liked amongst the French. Despite what the caption says, Houthulst Wood is actually in Belgium.
[Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. THE BATTLE OF THE RIDGES. An Officer chatting with a French "Poilu". This interesting meeting is on the extreme left of our line. The combined Anglo-French attack on the outskirts of Houlthulst Wood was successful [sic].’]