Yesterday was the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, for this week’s #alphabetphotography project, it’s only appropriate that my “M” stands for Memorial.
A famous American War Diplomat referred to the First World War as “the most seminal catastrophe of the 20th century, even worse than the WW2”. And indeed it is evident in countries like France whose beautiful landscape became a horrifying battleground, you will know this as you drive around the French countryside where many graves will be seen dotted all over the fields. Many times, I find myself holding my breath as we drove by and a lot of times, the mood inside our car became solemn driving past all those WWI cemeteries.
During the last day of our holiday in France, we visited the Thiepval Memorial in the Somme, which is probably one of the most important war memorials where 72, 195 British and South African men perished in the famous battle. These fallen soldiers’ bodies were never found.
Little T looking out into the beautiful French landscape that has witnessed so much death in the past.
If you visit, you will find an inscription that reads:
Here are recorded names of officers and men of the British armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrade in death.
My husband found two of his Uncles names on the list of the dead soldiers whose bodies were never recovered.
At the back of the memorial, you will find a cemetery where many of these graves were unknown soldiers, 300 British and also 300 French graves.
Above photo is a gravestone of one of the unknown British soldiers and in the French side, a single word is written, Inconnu (Unknown).
And on the cemetery’s cross of sacrifice are the words:
That the world may remember the common sacrifice of two and a half million dead, here have been laid side by side Soldiers of France and of the British Empire in eternal comradeship.
We left the Thiepval Memorial quiet, lost in each others thoughts, thinking of all those lives lost and all those bodies that still remaining missing today.
Have you visited a World War I memorial?
This post is linked-up with PODcast’s #alphabetphotographyproject.