Incredible 100-year-old photos reveal how injured WW1 soldiers were given MASKS to help cover brutal facial disfigurements by pioneering surgeons

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THESE photographs lift the lid on the life-changing work of a sculptor who made masks for horrifically injured soldiers.

Images taken shortly after the conclusion of the First World War show the terrible facial injuries suffered by French soldiers because of gunshot, shrapnel and blast injuries.

 Soldier G was left without a nose and eye but with the mask he could walk tall again

Soldier G was left without a nose and eye but with the mask he could walk tall again

One man has lost the entire right side of his face, another his nose. But in a second set of pictures the same soldiers after receiving masks.

This is thanks to pioneering sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd who created custom-made prosthetics for each of them to wear over their wounds.

Ladd was a well-regarded American-born sculptor who towards the end of 1917, with less than a year of the war remaining, founded the American Red Cross studio for portrait-masks.

The first of its kind, the studio was dedicated to helping men who had been badly disfigured during the war.

Soldiers would come to Ladd’s studio to have a cast made of their faces, which would then be used to help construct the prosthetic from very thin copper.

 Anna Coleman Ladd works on the mask of one of the soldiers

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Anna Coleman Ladd works on the mask of one of the soldiers
 Ladd's moulds are displayed on a wall in her studio

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Ladd’s moulds are displayed on a wall in her studio
 Soldier D had the top of his nose ripped off but with the prosthetic and clear lens glasses you'd hardly know

Soldier D had the top of his nose ripped off but with the prosthetic and clear lens glasses you’d hardly know
 Soldier B had a large proportion of his face ripped off by shrapnel

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Soldier B had a large proportion of his face ripped off by shrapnel
 Soldier B can be seen after surgeons tried their best to restore the right side of his face but with the mask he looks normal

Soldier B can be seen after surgeons tried their best to restore the right side of his face but with the mask he looks normal

The masks would then be painted to try and resemble the soldiers’ skin colour, and each piece would be adorned with some form of string or eyeglasses in order to keep it in place.

Speaking about her often difficult work, Ladd said: “I am not concerned with the outer obstacles, only inner ones.

“Artists are born with an inextinguishable love of life, and the need of expressing it.”

 Surgeons could only do so much at the time for veterans who lost their noses but the masks were used to great effect and often completed the job

Surgeons could only do so much at the time for veterans who lost their noses but the masks were used to great effect and often completed the job
 This man had to walk around with a bandage on his face to hide his disfigurement but the mask meant he could show his face again

This man had to walk around with a bandage on his face to hide his disfigurement but the mask meant he could show his face again
 The clear lens glasses held the noses on the patients

The clear lens glasses held the noses on the patients
 The soldier before and after the amazing work of Anna Coleman Ladd

The soldier before and after the amazing work of Anna Coleman Ladd
 Comrades ...The wounded soldiers at Coleman Ladd's studio for Christmas

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Comrades …The wounded soldiers at Coleman Ladd’s studio for Christmas

In recognition of her work, Ladd was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French government and the Order of Saint Sava by the Serbian government in 1935.

She retired in 1936 and passed away in 1939, at the age of 61.

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