Each year the Alpine Journal features the work of an artist or a collection in the frontispiece of each section. This year is different. In the Alpine Journal for 2018, just published, we feature portraits of almost all those who died in the First World War to commemorate the Armistice signed on 11 November 1918.
Alongside the photographs is their story, told by Peter Foster, of who they were and how they died. Some Alpine Club members were already in the armed forces as regulars or territorials, many others volunteered. The youngest was 24 and the oldest was 62. Pictured here is Lt J R Denistoun, elected to the AC in 1912 and one of the few members to serve in the Royal Flying Corps. A New Zealand sheep farmer, he had been a volunteer on Terra Nova’s voyage to supply Scott’s polar expedition and had made first ascents in the Southern Alps. At the outbreak of war he travelled to Britain as a deckhand on a ship and enlisted in the North Irish Horse and then in June 1916 was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps in June 1916. Ten days after his transfer, acting as observer and bomb thrower in an aircraft piloted by his cousin, three German aircraft attacked and their main fuel tank caught fire. They crash-landed behind enemy lines and were captured. Denistoun died of his wounds several weeks later.
Text by Ed Douglas