An Albanian volunteer in January 1916


Debate about how the UK should commemorate World War I has been hotting up in the UK in recent days. On one side are those who suggest it was a ‘just’ war with Britain occupying the moral high ground. On the other are those who believe it was all the ghastly consequence of Imperialism and deranged dynastic power struggles.

One fact that shouldn’t be forgotten, however, is that the war was not confined to the Western Front. It spread from Africa, to Russia and across the oceans. One particularly forgotten area is the Balkans, where this Albanian soldier was photographed – looking rather more like a bandit than a regular soldier – in January, 1916.

His clothing and general demeanour can perhaps be explained by the fact he was a volunteer serving with the Albanische Legion, that had just been set up by the Austro-Hungarian army.

Photo: IWM Collections

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3 Responses to An Albanian volunteer in January 1916

  1. irinadim says:

    My father was a volunteer in the Serbian Army after defecting from the Austro-Hungarian Army during the Battle of Drina in October 1914. How can the Balkans be forgotten when the war started there?

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