Friday Photo: World War I: Personal Photos of the Battlefields

One week ago was the anniversary of the end of World War I — the Great War which took 10 million lives.  On November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed in a train car in the woods east of Compiègne, France, a train car which I visited by bike with Lynn Palermo during our backpacking trip in July 2010. This trip took us along almost 270 miles of the Western Front, 76 of which we walked.  Through our footsteps, I realized that war is not just an event on the news or in the history books; it is disease that cripples a nation in a way that is only still visible in its landscape.

To fully appreciate the following post, first read this article by Mail Online which showcases some stunning photography by British photographer Michael St. Maur Sheil of the scars left behind in present-day France.  I recognized many of his scenes and have duplicated my own photography below.

shadows shifting on the grass-grown trenches at Beaumont-Hamel, France
Thieval Memorial, one of the largest British war memorials, commemorates 17,000 dead or missing
early evening twilight at the Thieval Memorial, one of Great Britain's largest war memorials, commemorating 73,537 fallen English and South African troops
Hawthorn Ridge mine crater near La Boisselle, created by the detonation of 40,000 pounds of explosives
underground trenches at Arras, France, underneath la Grande Place
explosives dug out of the field of Philippe, a farmer and a Couchsurfer near Albert, France, with whom we stayed for the night
a German national cemetery along la Chemin des Dames north of Reims, France, of 6,000 crosses marking 12,000 dead


5 thoughts on “Friday Photo: World War I: Personal Photos of the Battlefields

  1. Claire Laranjeira November 19, 2011 — 11:33 am

    great pictures Sylvia… The ones by Michael St. Maur Sheil are amazing too.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. it’s so important for all of us to remember…and so difficult for us as Americans to really understand what happened on foreign soil, even if it was our great-grandparents who fought. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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