05 June 2005

Tangent time: WWI Brit found in 'exceptional' condition...


It's amazing in itself-- a dead WWI officer found with much of his personal effects--but another amazing thing is how much of the story you have to piece together from multiple sources. Each contains a new fact. Fascinating.

I have been to Ypres, Beligum, by the way-- as a Canadian, it holds as much significance as WWII's Dieppe, where over 4000 Canadians died (In the 1920's France gave a parcel of the battlefield to the Canadian people-- check out this AWESOME page done by a fellow Canadian). Except, of course, it's a WWI battlefield. Look up this guy's June 17th day-- the exact day I had, back in 2000, I believe. I also saw the church (since rebuilt, however) and visited the Tyne Cot cemetery.

The cathedral, by the way, holds a museum/interpretive center, jointly created by everyone that participated in WWI, hence, it's REALLY watered down and totally fails to capture the barbarism that was Ypres.

    After visiting the Hill 62 monument, we toured the trench museum at Sanctuary Wood. Worth the price of admission is the collection [Note: Not actually "stereograms"-- these are red & blue 3D, but still, SERIOUSLY cool -M]of stereo photographs displayed on several antique viewers. Most of the images are French, and were unknown to me. They depict trench life in gruesome detail. The trenches “preserved” by the museum are more dodgy as they have been quite obviously reinforced over the years. They do, however, provide a good picture of the layout of a typical trench network.
And... READ THIS: This came from my searching for stuff to show you more about what I'm talking about. It's amazing how many sad and even poignant stories continue to come from WWI...

3 Comments:

Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

WOW, that is a great story... I like that they kept listing more and more stuff found with him... and it sounds like they'll be able to find out who he is, which is great.

It's always kind of amazing to me how some people don't rot -- it's rare, but it's a known condition. I'm not sure what causes it, though... probably just a combination of interrment conditions, body chemistry and luck. But that stuff is just really neat and interesting.

And, yeah -- looking back at that kind of stuff is always interesting and sad. One of my favorite things is an old telegram I found and framed: "Dear Gail: Your letter came too late; Ronnie had an accident with a gun, only memories left." It's that sort of thing -- the ephermeral made permanent that's really neat and often sad, as it's usually tragedy that makes that conversion.

10:03 PM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger CatsFive said...

That's a magnificent telegram.

I wish I could have found some postable photos-- I saw them, but could not find any online that I could point to.

10:08 PM, June 05, 2005  
Blogger CW Crisman said...

For an idea of what an officer would have worn.

http://www.knottypineantiques.com/events/2005/apr3/photos/lot2.jpg

8:14 AM, June 07, 2005  

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