It’s #PhotoFriday! Today’s image, “The Glorious Dead at Peace” features Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, France.
Caterpillar Valley Cemetery is located just west of Longueval, France. In the autumn of 1918 a small cemetery was created at this site containing 25 graves. It was not until after the Armistice in November 1918 that this cemetery was greatly enlarged to accommodate the graves of more than 5,500 officers and men who where brought from the battlefields of the Somme and from other smaller cemeteries to be interred here. The memorial and the cemetery was designed by the architect Sir Herbert Baker.
Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! To celebrate the return of one of Britian’s most loved to Programmes, The Great British Bake Off, I thought that it would be fitting to have a culinary inspired image for this weeks image.
A cup of tea and a biscuit or slice of cake is integral to our national identity. Like all our different counties and varying accents what we enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee varies from place to place. Not only does this custom ease our hunger in between meal times, it is a source of comfort after a difficult day, or during a sad time. It serves as a token of hospitally as people visit your home, often this is when the nice cups, and more expensive biscuits make an appearance. Sometimes if time persists before hand a little home-baking is done in advance to show that a conscious effort has been made for a guests arrival. So whether is a quick cup of tea and a rich tea busicuit out a packet, or a cappuccino and a large slice of carrot cake from your favourite coffee shop, taking a short break from your day to enjoy something nice is never a bad thing.
In 1922 the entry by Walter Seymour Allward was announced as the winner. Allward’s design would be later erected at Vimy Ridge, France (you can read more about my visit to this memorial here. The runner-up was the design submitted by Frederick Chapman Clemesha which you see in today’s photograph. Also known as the “Brooding Soldier,” Clemesha’s design was built at St Julien, Belgium.
This striking granite memorial, which stands at 11 metres (35ft) tall, can be seen from miles around. The bowed head of the Canadian solider at the top of it stands as a powerful symbol of remembrance. On the memorial is a small plaque which reads:
“THIS COLUMN MARKS THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE 18,000 CANADIANS ON THE BRITISH LEFT WITHSTOOD THE FIRST GERMAN GAS ATTACKS THE 22-24 APRIL 1915 2,000 FELL AND LIE BURIED NEARBY.”
Standing in front of the memorial surrounded by its beautifully kept grounds, you cannot help but take a moment to stop and think of what horror faced those brave men during April 1915. Like so many locations we visited during my trip to Belgium and France earlier this year, this site at St. Julien brings home to me the importance of remembrance, what happened should never be forgotten and it is up to us to keep the memory of of those brave men, and what they fought for alive.
This week’s image is of the Menin gate, Ypres, Belgium. This magnificent structure is dedicated to the British and commonwealth soldiers who were killed during the First World War, and still to this day are missing in the Ypres Salient.
Once completed, the gate appeared to be not large enough to contain all the names as originally planned. It was then decided by the Commonwealth Graves commission that the 54,395 names of those who had died before 15th August 1917 would be inscribed on stone panels of the Hall of Memory within the Menin Gate. The remaining 34,984 names of those who were killed and are still are missing would be commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing instead.
In an act of gratitude to the brave soldiers who fought for the freedom of Belgium during the First World War, every night at 8pm buglers from the local fire brigade close the road which passes through the memorial and sounds the “Last Post.” With the exception of the German occupation during the Second World War, this evening ceremony has been carried out each night since the 2nd of July 1928.
When visiting Ypres earlier in the year, I had the privilege to witness this ceremony for myself. Standing alongside hundreds of people within the Hall of Memory surrounded by all the names of the missing etched onto the walls, knowing that the ground I stood on was were hundreds of thousands of brave men made their way to the front line, was a very overwhelming experience. Even now, recalling it now as I write this makes me emotional. The dignity, gratitude and honour shown to all those who fought all that time ago was extremely poignant and humbling. The memory of the night will live with me the rest of my life.
Dominating the skyline near the Villiage of Thiepval, France, stands the Thiepval Memorial which commemorates the 72,246 missing, or unidentified British Empire soldiers who have no known grave who died during the the battles of the Somme which took place between 1915 and 1918.
This magnificent memorial was constructed over a period 4 years, from 1928 and 1932. This edifice which is the largest commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens who is well known for designing the Cenotaph in London, Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Viceroys House) in New Delhi, as well as many more well known structures.
The memorial is also the Anglo-French battle memorial which commemorates the 1916 offensive where Britian and France fought side by side. At the foot of the Thiepval Monument lies a cemetery containing the 300 British Commenwealth and 300 French graves which recognises further the relationship both countries had during the Somme offensive. When I visited this site earlier this year I was in awe of the sheer scale of this structure. I had seen many images of it, but it wasn’t until I was standing inside the main arch that I truly realise the sheer scale of this magnificent memorial. Surrounded by the thousands of names of the lost carved in the newly restored Portland stone I stood overwhelmed. As physically monumental in scale this structure is, it does not compare to the scale of sacrifice and horrific loss of human life that took place between the July 1915 and March 1918. Like many of the sites visited on the trip, visiting the Thiepval Memorial is something I will never forget.
Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! This weeks instalment is an image of the entrance to the Essex Farm Cemetery, Belgium.
It is here at Essex Farm that the Canadian Physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields.”
A close friend of Mcrae’s, Alex Helmer, was killed in battle and Macrae himself performed the burial. The following day, just by the Essex Farm Advanced Dressing Station, Macrae sat in the back of an ambulance and wrote his famous poem. Sadly Alex Helmers grave is now lost, but he is remebered with his name carved on the walls of the Menin Gate, Ypres.
Among the many graves here there is one that really that really effected my as I read the inscription on the Grave. It is the final resting place of Private Valentine Joe Strudwick of the 8th Rifle Brigade (1900-1916). He was one of the youngest casualties of the First World War. Enlisting at Lambeth, Surrey, he was to become a rifleman at only age 14. On Friday 14th January 1916, at Boezinge, West Flanders, he was killed in action. Valentine Joe Strudwick died when he was 15 years and 11 months old.
Visiting here is something that I will never forget.
Yes you guessed it, I was on my holidays again!! But don’t worry this trip has filled the ReClick Photo pool so much that there will be enough material to keep #PhotoFriday going for the next couple of years! As I have mention before I always shoot images in Raw Format so every image is processed individually so all these new images, combined with all the other images I have taken this year has created a vast ReClick Photo stockpile! In order to give you a tiny preview of my latest images (the rest of them you will see in the coming months) I am going to share an extremely special image of mine which captures a moment I have been waiting for all my life. Today’s #PhotoFriday image is of the Secession Building, Vienna, Austria.
Ever since I new what art truly was, I have known about the Secession and those who created and inhabited it. All throughout my secondary school education and then later on to art school, I learned all about the great secessionists such as the Great Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner, Egon Shiele, Joseph Olbrich, Koloman Moser etc. Through time these great artists became my own personal creative heroes.
On Friday the 1st of June 2016, I finally had to chance to stand on the steps of the great Secession Building which is situated near Karlsplatz, Vienna. Looking up I was so overwhelmed by what I saw. For at least the past two decades I looked at various images of this building but to be there, to take it all in, to touch its wall with my hands was a dream come true.
Above the magnificent entrance in bright gilded lettering is the phrase which is synonymous with the secession movement “Der Ziet ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Frieheit,” which translates to “To every age its art. To every art its freedom.”
These great artists believed that there should be no barrier between art forms. Their belief was in the gesamtkunstwerk or the total work of art. This means an art work encompassing all types of art forms. A great example of this is the Palais Stoclet in Brussels where every thing was designed and created to form a total work of art. From the architecture, to the paintings inside, right down to the egg cups and teaspoons.
This image, along with the others I took that day are a great reminder of the day my dream came true, and I hope you enjoy looking at the image just as much as I enjoyed taking it.