Monday, 30 March 2015

This Moment

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.


  1. Wow, thank you for sharing. What a wonderful trip for him to go on.

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  3. Wow - it's very sobering when you see it all laid out like that isn't it, on the one hand such a waste of life and on the other I'm thankful that they were prepared to stand up and be counted for what was right.

  4. My son did the same trip last October and it made him see the world in a different light. He left looking at the world in black and white, and came home realising there are also many shades in between. A really valuable experience for him. I'm sure your son will never forget his experiences either X

  5. Wow, what an amazing sobering thing to see. I remember the first time I visited an allied cemetery (on a European school trip) it blew me away and totally changed how I view so much of life.
    He has a great eye for pictures too

  6. Incredible, evocative photos, Sam. Well done.

  7. What a powerful experience for a boy! And your Sam certainly has an eye, great images.

  8. What amazing pictures, filled with so much emotion. Your son is really talented!


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