Month: November 2014

Vanishing Point: Flatiron Copse

There are parts of the Somme where you can and do suddenly feel remarkably isolated in the sun, bits around Serre in the tractor tyre marks and up on the swallowing heights of Redan Ridge with the wind and the larks. For me Mametz is one of the most curious of these, because you’re not really very far from life. I’ve been there quite a few times heading down into the dusty dyffryn to watch the line from the road, kicking clods to find shards or shrapnel balls, the odd rotted bullet husk among the dried corn heads. There’s...

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Lost in a landscape: Worstead

  I was looking for something else, I didn’t actually find what I was after, because of gates and no access signs and the sound of people murdering wildlife in Westwick woods, but as I pootled down another dead end this vista was there, so I hopped along the lane a bit further in the drizzle and took a shot of it. In Domesday Worstead is Wrdesteda/Ordested an old Saxon word meaning place or ‘gaff’ presumably Wirda’s place. King Cnut/Canute (back waves back etc) gave the village to the abbots of St. Benet’s, the one with the mill in...

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Coasting: Morston

This isn’t really my home Coast, I grew up with The stretch from Mundesley in the middle, awareness stretching from Sheringham to Winterton, the bits beyond were different, Great Yarmouth to the South was the stuff of fevered dreams and slot machines, impossible hoop throwing games and bumper cars, if you were lucky finished off with a candy floss, it was cheap and tawdry, past its best and brilliant when you were seven or eight and still is in my opinion despite the problems that a lack of investment and the disassociation of the towers of London which give...

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Vanishing Points: Tyne Cot

If and when you visit the Western Front, which a huge and growing number of people do partly because of the centenary and partly because you know, corner of a foreign field and all that family stuff, you are entering a piece of ground that is pretty much at the epicentre of the Northern extent of the front for the British and Commonwealth. It is redolent of so many things that exemplify what the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) actually do in a perpetual state of remembrance, day in day out, cleaning, pruning and preening, cutting grass, cutting stones,...

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Vanishing point: Before endeavours fade

I’d been meaning to go to Holborn and take a photo of this chap for years. This is my grandfathers regimental memorial, he was in the 1st RF (of which I have already posted plenty), I collect these things for some reason I can’t fathom. The memorial is a finely detailed Bronze by sculptor Albert Toft, 2.6 metres high on a large plinth, he’s a cracking looking chap. There are a few of these knocking about, not quite up there with Jagger and his sculptures where you can feel the pain; this one looks proud, surveying the sandwich eating...

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WW1 Aerial photos in colour: Water filled shell holes

I’m not sure where this is as I found it, it could be almost anywhere on the front at various times, a watery landscape where trenches are merely shell holes joined together, It could be Chateau Wood, it could be near Passchendaele or Hooge or somewhere on the front towards the latter part of the Somme, this was obviously taken on a day when it didn’t rain, either early or late, I’d hazard a guess at late as the shadows of the remaining tree trunks are long. It doesn’t really matter though, it’s almost abstract in it’s savagery ,...

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WW1 Aerial photos in colour: Messines

You start to doubt your sanity slightly when you spend an hour colouring in a photo brown that was, erm, brown, well sepia, but I’ve also tried to pull the detail out a bit as well. This is Messines Just to the South East of Ypres, This was taken on the 2nd of June 1917, just prior to the Mining attack, but presumably during the bombardment judging by the plumes of smoke. If you click on the preview above can see it much larger in your browser which gives some sense of the scale of it, I realised as...

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WW1: Trench Ghosts Part 2

Part 2 in a series of an uncertain number of these things. There’s no project like an open ended one… St Eloi 1915 St Eloi is just to the South East of Ypres on the Salient, not that far from Hellfire Corner, or Hellfire Roundabout as it is now. There are a number of Mine craters as you can see and a few of them are still in evidence even now, A particularly accessible one is just to the East of the Road next to a little tower, the others are kind of hidden by various houses and back...

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Vanishing Point: Thiepval

72,191 names. Rising up as it does above the trees on the Thiepval ridge on the Somme, it is by turns a beautiful, vast and horrifying edifice of brick and stone, coloured like blood and bone. A list, a huge frightening and sobering list. The number of names, the people, make it almost impossible to take in, spiralling off tortuously above you to laurelled portholes listing the physical prizes of the front. If you want an advert for not having wars, this is probably the closest you’ll find in France, sobering doesn’t adequately describe it. If you’re British (or...

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