Sunday, 22 May 2016

Remembering the Somme ................ a century on

A century ago we had reached the midpoint in the Great War.

In the May of 1916 military conscription was extended to include married men, the British and German fleets met for the big standoff that was the Battle of Jutland and the armies of the Ottoman Empire were on the defensive.

All in their way were significant moments in the conflict but for most people looking back on the events of that year it will be the Battle of the Somme which towers above them all.

On the first day there were 57,470 British causalities, more than the total combined British causalities in the Crimean, Boer and Korean Wars.

The battle lasted five months, accounted for over a million causalities and in the opinion of some historians broke the moral of the German army.

Its legacy is still so powerful that merely referring to the “the Somme” is enough to bring to mind that battle in all its carnage and its suffering.

Like most people of my generation the images that accompany the battle are very familiar and in the course of writing about the War I have often fallen back on one particular picture which was marketed by a newspaper during the battle.

It showed three British soldiers amidst a battle scarred landscape sharing a cigarette and carried the simple caption “A fag after a fight.”  It remains a powerful image and was one that attracted Peter who took the original photograph and turned it into a painting.

And in turn I think it will be a fitting image to use in connection with the forthcoming exhibition from David Harrop which commemorates the Battle of the Somme.

Entitled For the Fallen the exhibition will include letters medals and memorabilia from the period.*

Location; the Remembrance Lodge, Southern Cemetery

Painting; the Somme, © 2016 Peter Topping from an original picture postcard in the collection of David Harrop


Facebook: Paintings from Pictures

*Coming Soon ......... an exhibition in Southern Cemetery ........... remembering the Battle of the Somme,

No comments:

Post a Comment