I’m not far from here now. Sitting in a hotel room on a laptop, watching a dubbed film which was bad enough in English in the first place. So I thought I’d start work. Carnoy is just to the South West of Albert in the Somme region, maybe five miles from the town. It is a village in fields, twisted around a hollow at a join in some roads. Tidy gardens and houses wind up the roads , a solitary barking dog and the sound of a chainsaw and the occasional passing car are all there is to hear.
Up above the village the road heads towards Montauban; another village quietly having its weekend. In between are fields, they feel like the fields of home. Which in one sense they are for some families as the 8th Norfolk Regiment jumped off here on the 1st of July. A friend pointed me at near enough the spot where the trenches were. Standing in a empty road with just the sound of larks, the advance is clear. Three photos, the first at the top looks roughly along the trench line across the heads of the trembling sweating ghosts and then on, over the heads and white faces of the neighbouring Queens Regiment in the field beyond. Now just concrete hard-standing and some piles of tyres used for weighting down tarpaulin on marl or manure, the second looks across the ground they advanced over. The last one looks up along the road, where they headed to towards Montauban, across the churned-up dusty fields into nowhere.