The photographs below were made on the Somme and near Messines with vintage Vest Pocket Kodaks from The Great War period. More of these images can be seen here: The Great War
Two of the locations pictured are very much associated with football.
In 1914 opposing armies observed a Christmas truce close to Prowse Point, gathering together in no man’s land to celebrate. It was also reported football was played. To this day, many footballs are left at the cemetery to commemorate a truly remarkable and peaceful event.
Montauban was the scene of an attack led by Captain Wilfred ‘Billie’ Nevill, who instructed the 8th East Surreys to kick a number of footballs out into no man’s land as they went over the top. It’s believed Captain Nevill said he would award a prize to the first man to kick a football into the opposing trenches. Sadly, he died during the attack. Two of the footballs were recovered and are held in museums.
Lieutenant Siegfried Sassoon, the poet, was involved in action at The Quadrangle for which he was awarded the Military Cross. Sassoon described the scene a ‘sunlit picture of hell’.
The mural depicts the statue of Mary and the infant Jesus in a precarious state, having been shelled in 1915. The statue remained in this position until 1918 when the tower was destroyed by further shelling.
© Simon Howlett 2015. All rights reserved