Click preview image to see larger file.
1) After the Battle
1996 Oil on Panels, 213 x 244 cm
2) In Flanders Fields
2005 Oil on Panels, 183 x 244 cm
The First World War
MOST YEARS we drive from Zeebrugge to south-east France. It is impossible to travel through Belgium and northern France without being aware of the scattered memorials and graves glimpsed through fields and trees. Signposts reveal place-names that are synonymous with grief and destruction focusing the memory on the unprecedented casualties from ‘the war to end all wars’.
Over the years we have often stopped for a couple of nights in Arras, Cambrai, Reims or Ypres. We visit museums and pay our respects to those who lie in the acres upon acres of military cemeteries sited where the fighting took place.
In 1995 I enrolled on my first battlefield tour, ‘The Battlefields of the Great War’ run by Milestone Tours and organized with military precision. Information came from the tour guide interspersed with bursts of such music as ‘Hang our your washing on the Seigfried Line’. Fellow travelers included war veterans, those wishing to find the graves of relatives and others, like myself, who had a genuine interest in the war and wished to see at first-hand where history had been made.
In Ypres, you could buy chocolate helmets and dark grayish-green candles formed at portrait busts of a British Tommy, yet to light one now would seem almost sacrilegious.