Sam was away on a school history trip last week, to Belgium and France to visit World War 1 sites, and he took my camera with him. This, in part, explains my absence from these parts, and I did feel surprisingly lost without a camera. Anyway, he got back late yesterday, slightly tired, starving hungry, with extremely muddy boots and clothes, 7 very muddy pieces of shrapnel he'd found in the Somme area, a (happily intact) camera full of photos and a head full of poignant images, information and memories that I think will stick with him for life.
And although it's a few days late for Soulemama's weekly moment, it feels appropriate to post some of Sam's photos on here, as his moments. These are just a few of his photos, ones which seemed to have stuck most in his mind...
|This is an Allied cemetery.|
|This is the grave of a 15 year old, just a year older than Sam.|
|Sam was very struck with how different in appearance and feel the German cemeteries were from the Allied cemeteries. The one above is German.|
|This small area within that cemetery has, apparently, 22000 bodies buried in it.|
|Their names are written on both sides of these stones, which, as you can see in the photo above, surround the area.|
|These are trenches, they would have had sandbags piled up either side and then the corrugated iron coverings, but even so they seem surprisingly small and shallow.|
|This is a reconstructed trench - incredibly narrow too.|
|This is a memorial on the site where the famous Christmas football was played.|
|In some areas the opposing trenches were a couple of miles apart, but in others, as here, they were unbelievably close.|
|This is a huge memorial to French soldiers who were lost in the war but whose bodies were never identified.|
|Each of those sections of the wall in the photo above have names written on just like these here.|
|Here is a photo of just a section of a French cemetery.|
|They visited underground bunkers and tunnels, some of these have drawings made by the soldiers - the one above is of a Mammoth.|
|This is a huge crater at the Somme, you can just see poppies at the centre, but, to give you an idea of scale, these are large poppy wreaths rather than single flowers.|