Vanishing Point: High Wood

The way to start these things is difficult sometimes so here is a Piece of Mackintosh, not perhaps his best poem, but he can sum up the general situation in the area of High Wood better than I can. He knows what it was like because he was there in 1915 and wounded...

Shot at Dawn: John Abigail

John Abigail; A local lad, local to anyone in Norwich It's a longer story than I can write, and a sad tale too. Born in Thorpe Hamlet, they moved to Oak Street shortly before the outbreak of The Great War. John was one of eight children, the family were poor one with...

Vanishing Point: Dartmoor – father and son

There's a focus, out there. You'll see it in most cemeteries on the old front. The famous dead, the men, and boys who achieve some infamy by dint of their bravery, age or circumstances. Sometimes it's a footballer who scored big in 1912 before signing away four years,...

Vanishing Point: Mash Valley and Ovillers

The Somme is exceptionally beautiful. For me a landscape which feels like home. It is chalk downland, when you get up onto the solitary heights of the Redan Ridge or the plateau where Thiepval sits it feels so similar to parts to the southern downlands. Below lies the...

Vanishing point: The Leaning Madonna

She's not leaning anymore obviously, originally designed by sculptor Albert Roze and dubbed the 'Golden Virgin' - she stands holding aloft a golden baby Jesus on the very top of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières in the middle of Albert. In fact she's very shiny...

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...

Vanishing Points

Landscapes of the Western Front

Vanishing Point: Dartmoor – father and son

Vanishing Point: Dartmoor – father and son

There's a focus, out there. You'll see it in most cemeteries on the old front. The famous dead, the men, and boys who achieve some infamy by dint of their bravery, age or circumstances. Sometimes it's a footballer who scored big in 1912 before signing away four years,...

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Vanishing Point: Bernafay Wood

Vanishing Point: Bernafay Wood

After Carnoy the cloud started to drop, a shield of it obliterated the sun. Within twenty minutes the light had almost completely failed, the air filled with prickles of moisture. It took a good hour to lift as the edge of a small front slid in from the South West. It...

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Vanishing point: Courcelette

Vanishing point: Courcelette

I've been fortunate at times out on the front, walking the levelled trenches, across the flattened shell holes and in the regrown woods. You meet people, some you know via the curious enmeshed world of social media, shared interests in a shared space eventually made...

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The Great War

The Wilderspins

The Wilderspins

Suffolk regiment - Thiepval memorial. I just thought it was worth recording this little collection of grief, rolled down through 100 years, a whole family and one friend all commemorated at Thiepval, under the Suffolk Regiment's Panel. Whenever you go to any of the...

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Cambridge – persistence of memory

Cambridge – persistence of memory

My mum grew up here. Her and therefore my ancestors were here for hundreds of years working as maids and cleaners, labourers, cartmen, and brickies, laying the railways, further back pulling the root veg through the surface of the peaty soils to the north or tending...

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Trench Ghosts part 4

Trench Ghosts part 4

Langemark A few trench ghosts I did last week then got distracted and forgot about. One of Langemark and one of the Sugarloaf salient at Fromelles. The Langemark rephoto leaps out straight away. It's also familiar to anyone that's ever visited the German cemetery...

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