Vanishing points: The Sad Angel of Kemmel

The French Memorial at Kemmel. She sits next to a steep road in a cup in the trees, standing a fair way up the slopes of the mount on a clutch burning incline. Known as Mont Kemmel, Mount Kemmel or Kemmelburg depending on your nationality, all of...

Vanishing Point: Stumbling through Ploegsteert

I'm a virtual veteran of two world wars, one in particular; The Great War, the one to end all thingummys... as an anomalous title for a war as there could possibly be. That aside I do a lot of, or as much as I can afford and fit into life without...

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...

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...

Trench Fever

I thought it was about time I did a bit of quantifying, I've done a something in a previous piece here, which scratches at the back of a story but only tells the penultimate episode of it not the rest, there's other bits clanging and banging about...

Vanishing Point: Essex Farm, The Eve brothers

I'm fortunate, I get to go to Ypres and the Somme and indeed various other bits of the Western Front fairly often, I do it mostly for my own vicarious pleasure/misery or whatever you find you want to call it. If I face facts it is I suppose a...

Mystery: Albert and the returning troops 1916

A mystery photo. Last week Bethan Holdridge who works for the Museums service in Norwich invited me to have a look through her Great Grandfather Oliver Isaac Brown's collection of photos. He was a Suffolk man but lived in Great Yarmouth, a sapper...

Vanishing Point: The Redoubt

There are areas of the Somme where you can really feel the past; where the landscape whilst modified hasn't been essentially changed. This is one of those places. What remains isn't difficult to spot and is easy to get too a walk down a grass...

Found photos: The lost boys of Cromer

I go through people's leftovers, their old clothes, the maps of lines on their faces, sit in their seats and eat from their plates; strangers' stuff. They are people I can't know nor ever will in the vast majority of cases, nearly all of them are...

Football, Xmas, WW1 & misinformation

  This is a photo of Officers and men of 26th Divisional Ammunition Train playing football in Salonika, Greece on Christmas day 1915. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christmas Truce of 1914 at all, in any way whatsoever, so I'm sticking it...

WW1: Aerial Trench Ghosts Part 3 – Lens

Someone asked if I'd done any Loos aerials, I hadn't, it's not an area I'm hugely familiar with, it does tend to get forgotten in between all the noise about the Battle of the Somme and The Ypres Salient. There's plenty of front in between and some...

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...

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...

WW1: Aerial Trench Ghosts Part 1

I did one of these to explain something to someone, then tweeted it and it all went a bit nuts, so it makes sense to put some of them together into posts on here rather than having them scattered to the 00000100 corners of the digital world....

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...

Colourising: The Great War

A couple of years ago I did a series of these, mainly individual soldiers from my private collection of postcards, I also did a few of these, now ubiquitously crayoned in, see 'em everywhere type images, so I thought I might as well add my...

Vanishing Point: The Ridge

It's quite an apposite moment, the ridge being what it is, a symbol of so much thrashing about in the earth trying to gain a foothold, somewhere that looms large in Canada's psyche and it's nearly Canada Day, a day that symbolises so much about the...

Ghosts: Hawthorn Ridge the Somme

I feel like a bit of a slacker, I'm tired, having gallivanted through The Somme for most of three days, I'll leave you with this; a starter for ten. The photo is a ghost of one of the Somme mines that were set of at precisely and critically 7.30...

Jagger Swagger

All cities are full of nexus points, the crossings of networks of roads that run the city. Because most of our major ant colonies grow irregularly, they form and coalesce around point sin the landscape and those points shift and change over time,...

Vanishing Point: Vladslo – Mother and son

Deutscher Soldatenfreidhof Vladslo. The Cemetery is about a mile and half north east of Vladslo which sounds like it should be on the steppe somewhere but isn't, it's in Western Flanders towards Diksmuide, Belgium, itself about 20 miles North of...

Vanishing Point – Langemark

Langemark is I feel one of the most desolate corners of the Western front. As I mentioned in another piece on Vladslo there is something so desperately bleak and sad about German cemeteries. They don't lack in any of the respectfulness of the loss...

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...

Great War: Blinded

A set of six postcards produced by the National Institute of the Blind, now RNIB for St Dunstans in Regent's Park. These were fundraisers for the trust. A slightly mawkish view of something fairly horrific, but then how do you honestly portray...

The long walk

Not the most thrilling set of photographs, but the one above shows how a field with some lumps in it, tells a story or doesn't. And of course it also tells how history is there, I'm just the princess who knows where that particular pea is under...

Here are the young men

I've been rescuing these boys from Junk shops for years, those 50p unknowns, the Great Uncles who maybe died and had no children, they become orphaned from their families, so I've ended up with an old biscuit tin full of these lads. Mostly Brits,...

Vanishing Point: Out of sight

Genealogy is an inconsistent science and growing a family tree quickly becomes an obsessive work of semi-fictional detective work. The urge to push further and further backward heading into our peasant laden past, hankering after the occasional...

Vanishing point: Berlin Sap

It looks like a field, because it is a field, one that slopes gently up to a low ridge, 60 metres at its highest point, best appreciated either from a mile or so back in the open areas behind the old line. It looks like nothing much, close up it is...

Cambridge – persistence of memory

My mum grew up here. Her and 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...

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...

Vanishing points: The Bull Ring, Etaples

Etaples was one of the main base camps along the coast of Northern France, being a port, a lot of men, thousands of them would have disembarked here. Many more would have embarked. It was known as "The Bullring", as were most of the base camps, but...

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....

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...

Vanishing Points

Landscapes of the Western Front

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: 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,...

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 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...

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...

Vanishing point: Berlin Sap

It looks like a field, because it is a field, one that slopes gently up to a low ridge, 60 metres at its highest point, best appreciated either from a mile or so back in the open areas behind the old line. It looks like nothing much, close up it is just a slope and...

Vanishing Point: Essex Farm, The Eve brothers

I'm fortunate, I get to go to Ypres and the Somme and indeed various other bits of the Western Front fairly often, I do it mostly for my own vicarious pleasure/misery or whatever you find you want to call it. If I face facts it is I suppose a strange thing to want to...

Vanishing Point: Rosebeke

A strange day. I've been working very loosely on an ongoing project called 'Vanishing Points' for a while. I'm a bit of a fan of VPs, lots of artists are as a way of leading the eye into compositions, focussing the viewers mind. Kubrick for...

Vanishing Point: The Ridge

It's quite an apposite moment, the ridge being what it is, a symbol of so much thrashing about in the earth trying to gain a foothold, somewhere that looms large in Canada's psyche and it's nearly Canada Day, a day that symbolises so much about the gradual joining of...

Vanishing Point: The Redoubt

There are areas of the Somme where you can really feel the past; where the landscape whilst modified hasn't been essentially changed. This is one of those places. What remains isn't difficult to spot and is easy to get too a walk down a grass clotted, tyre rutted path...

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: Mining the front – Messines 1917

The anniversary of the massive mining attack passed at 3.10am on Saturday the seventh of June, ninety-seven years since. This year rather overshadowed by the 70th anniversary of D-Day on the sixth of June and justly so. But this is one of those events that in a...

The Great War

Jagger Swagger

All cities are full of nexus points, the crossings of networks of roads that run the city. Because most of our major ant colonies grow irregularly, they form and coalesce around point sin the landscape and those points shift and change over time, one centre can...

Mystery: Albert and the returning troops 1916

A mystery photo. Last week Bethan Holdridge who works for the Museums service in Norwich invited me to have a look through her Great Grandfather Oliver Isaac Brown's collection of photos. He was a Suffolk man but lived in Great Yarmouth, a sapper in the Royal...

Found photos: The lost boys of Cromer

I go through people's leftovers, their old clothes, the maps of lines on their faces, sit in their seats and eat from their plates; strangers' stuff. They are people I can't know nor ever will in the vast majority of cases, nearly all of them are unreachable; dead,...

Ghosts: Ypres in the Great War

This is an ongoing series of Ghosts that I tend to do on an as and when I'm in the right areas to do them and can find where they were taken. The difficulty being the extend of the damage to the front and the 100 years mean sometimes it's difficult to place anything...

Football, Xmas, WW1 & misinformation

  This is a photo of Officers and men of 26th Divisional Ammunition Train playing football in Salonika, Greece on Christmas day 1915. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christmas Truce of 1914 at all, in any way whatsoever, so I'm sticking it on here and saying...

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...

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...

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...

WW1: Aerial Trench Ghosts Part 1

I did one of these to explain something to someone, then tweeted it and it all went a bit nuts, so it makes sense to put some of them together into posts on here rather than having them scattered to the 00000100 corners of the digital world. Schwaben Redoubt Early...