The Great War Exhibition

The Great War Exhibition This is a dedicated page to WW1. All the photos and been taken and developed by Stewart F Bond. We urge people to read the stories behind the pictures.

This is not a ‘photographic’ exhibition, but an exhibition on The Great War using documentary style photographs as a means to that end. Any photographs that have the appearance of being pretentious have usually been brought about by my visiting the larger sites in the early morning. I try to avoid people in my photographs and the best time to visit sites which have a high visitor footfall is early in the morning. This practice does have its drawbacks as early morning mist in July rising from the ground can prove a hindrance to the clear type of photography I am seeking. I wish my photographs to be straightforward and honest; no nonsense, no drama, just the truth as it was when the motifs presented themselves to the camera. This is no place for ‘pretty’ pictures; serene and beautiful is good. The subject of the picture is in this case far more important than the picture. However, the one liberty I have taken is with regard to some of the panoramic photographs. Without going into the technicalities, a photograph with an angle of view in excess of 140 degrees will be distorted when displayed on a flat print. If the print is viewed curved, as say the new curved TV screens, the picture loses the distortion. A few prints are provided for demonstrating this phenomenon. A ‘panoramic’ photograph is usually either of a scene with a wide angle of view and/or with a letterbox style presentation where one side is, say, at least twice the size of the smaller side. I prefer an aspect ratio of 3 to 1, but not all subjects suit this format. When something excites me, I am eager to share my enthusiasm with others. For me, the best way of communicating my passion for the whole of the Western Front is through my lifelong interest in photography. My only wish is that I had discovered the spell which the Great War has cast on me much earlier in my life. One problem I have had in preparing this exhibition has been choosing the subjects of the exhibits from approximately 6,500 photographs covering over 200 locations on the Western Front. Notably missing include, Newfoundland Memorial Park, 80 acres of the Somme battlefield where the actual trenches remain as they were left in 1918; many other trench sites; Sanctuary Wood and its trench museum; stained glass windows dedicated to the war; Talbot House; the Christmas truce; some fine monuments; other stories such as Lt-Col Emile Driant and many many more. Of course, the Great War covered a much greater field of operations than Flanders and France; it was after all a World War. There is so much to see and generally within a small area that there is no need to travel great distances. Ypres, centre for the northern battlefields, is less than 80 miles from the Channel Tunnel, an easy 90 minute journey. Amiens or Albert, central to the Somme battlefield sites, are less than 120 miles. The roads are good and unbelievably quiet which makes for pleasant motoring. The visitor does need to plan ahead in order to make the best use of the time available. There are many good guide books with planned routes. Major and Mrs Holt’s Battlefield guide books are a good basis for planning a trip and there are many other specialist battlefield publications. With the aid of Satnav, getting around is a doddle!

Operating as usual

Panorama of the Cemetery with central, the Cross of Sacrifice, in the early morning sunlight.
29/06/2016

Panorama of the Cemetery with central, the Cross of Sacrifice, in the early morning sunlight.

The graves of Private Albert  Ingham and  his mate Private Alfred Longshaw, shot at dawn for desertion.In the communal c...
29/06/2016

The graves of Private Albert Ingham and his mate Private Alfred Longshaw, shot at dawn for desertion.

In the communal cemetery at Bailleulmont there are a group of military headstones and unusually they are of brown stone. Four of these soldiers were shot at dawn for desertion or cowardice, of whom two of them, Ingham and Longshaw, were friends who served together, deserted together, were executed together and now lie together.

For years Ingham’s family believed that he had ‘died of wounds’ as the inscriptions on the headstones of other executed men maintain. However, when Ingham’s father found out the truth he insisted on the inscription in the photograph being added to the headstone.

Peter Towers. There was hardly a family in Britain that did not suffer either directly or indirectly through friends and...
29/06/2016

Peter Towers. There was hardly a family in Britain that did not suffer either directly or indirectly through friends and/or neighbours some casualty in the Great War. Our own office administrator, Becky Greaves, had three ancestors killed. Peter Towers left Preston to be killed in action in France whilst serving in the Kings (Liverpool Regiment). Little is known about his life other than that he was born in Preston and died on the 31st August 1918 a few weeks before his brother Thomas. (see below)

8th and 9th  Devons Memorial.
29/06/2016

8th and 9th Devons Memorial.

Panorama (140 degrees) of the French National Cemetery of Douaumont and Ossuary, near Verdun, where 16,143 men lie burie...
29/06/2016

Panorama (140 degrees) of the French National Cemetery of Douaumont and Ossuary, near Verdun, where 16,143 men lie buried (541 unidentified). The photograph shows approximately half the graves, the other half being beyond the flagpole situated in the central avenue in front of the Ossuary. To give an idea of the scale of this enormous site; the building is nearly 150 yards long and contains the remains of over 130,000 men.

Grave of Private John Parr, who is believed to be the first man to be killed in the Great War.
29/06/2016

Grave of Private John Parr, who is believed to be the first man to be killed in the Great War.

Grave of Lieutenant Henry Webber in Dartmoor Cemetery who at the age of 68 is reckoned to be the oldest man to die. He w...
29/06/2016

Grave of Lieutenant Henry Webber in Dartmoor Cemetery who at the age of 68 is reckoned to be the oldest man to die. He was killed by a single stray shell on the 21st July 1916.

John Hunter’s grave.
29/06/2016

John Hunter’s grave.

Nieuwpoort Lock Complex. The Memorial to King Albert situated beside the six lock gates; two of which were opened on sep...
29/06/2016

Nieuwpoort Lock Complex. The Memorial to King Albert situated beside the six lock gates; two of which were opened on separate occasions by the lock-keeper in 1914 thus completely flooding the lower reaches of the river Yser and stemming the German advance. The lock-keeper Hendrik Geeraert, whose idea it was to open the ‘flood gates’, became a Belgium national hero. King Albert has a similar place in Belgium remembrance of the Great War, as Churchill has to the British in the Second World War, as a great leader.

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in the Ypres Salient. Work began on this monumental gateway in 1922, built on the...
29/06/2016

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in the Ypres Salient. Work began on this monumental gateway in 1922, built on the smashed ramparts of Ypres on the ‘Menin Road’ leading east, where many soldiers passed to the front line never to return. The architect, Sir Reginald Bloomfield, designed the memorial to incorporate stone panels to allow for 57,000 names to be inscribed on them of those who disappeared; this proved to be totally inadequate, so the architect Herbert Baker designed an expansive curving wall at Tyne Cot Cemetery for the remaining 35,000 names.

Langemark German Military Cemetery. Immediately through the entrance of the cemetery the visitor is confronted with the ...
29/06/2016

Langemark German Military Cemetery. Immediately through the entrance of the cemetery the visitor is confronted with the mass grave, ‘Kameradengrab ’, of 24,917 men. Bronze pillars flank the grave bearing the names of the dead and at the far side stand four mourning figures silhouetted against the sky, imparting a sense of utter desolation to the place.

The cemetery is typical of the style of the four German cemeteries found in Flanders- Teutonic, gloomy and sombre. There is no colour, only greyness under the oak trees.

One problem facing the German architects who designed their cemeteries was the lack of space allowed them by Belgium and France. This cemetery contains over 44,000 buried men.

There is a chapel by the entrance to the cemetery containing, amongst others, the names of members of the German student battalions’ killed at Langemark in 1914. For the German visitor, the fate of these students brings about a similar sense of feeling as the volunteer army of the Somme does to the British; it is referred to by the Germans as ‘the massacre of the innocents’.

Path to Queen’s Cemetery where Harry Dixon is buried, nearby the Sheffield Memorial Park. The 50 yard long pathway is be...
29/06/2016

Path to Queen’s Cemetery where Harry Dixon is buried, nearby the Sheffield Memorial Park. The 50 yard long pathway is being tended to by the CWGC men. The unfortunate farmer has to work around the Cemetery and pathway!

The final cost of the CWGC memorials and cemeteries was £8,150,000, a huge sum of money at the time. However, to put this into context, the cost of the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917, that was to become better known as the horror of Passcchenaele, was put at £22 million; one day’s shooting and shelling in 1917 cost £3, 750,000.

The Notre Dame de Lorette French National Memorial and Cemetery, which covers 62 acres, is the world’s largest French mi...
29/06/2016

The Notre Dame de Lorette French National Memorial and Cemetery, which covers 62 acres, is the world’s largest French military cemetery. The Great War burials in this cemetery total 39,985 and include the remains of 19,998 casualties who are laid to rest in seven ossuaries in the cemetery grounds. Described by the writer Geoff Dyer,” Crosses stretch away in lines so long they seem to follow the curvature of the earth. Names are written on both the front and back of each cross. The scale of the cemetery exceeds all imagining. Even the names on the crosses count for nothing. Only the numbers count, the scale of loss. But this is so huge that it is consumed by itself. It shocks, stuns, numbs. Sassoon’s nameless names here become numberless numbers. ....There is no room here for the living.”

The bones of the dead seen through glass panels of the Ossuary.
29/06/2016

The bones of the dead seen through glass panels of the Ossuary.

Deborah, an original British Mark IV tank, one of the tanks that fought in the Battle of Cambrai and lost in the histori...
29/06/2016

Deborah, an original British Mark IV tank, one of the tanks that fought in the Battle of Cambrai and lost in the historic tank battle on 20th November, 1917. This D51 female tank ‘Deborah’ was knocked out on the first day of the battle; four of the eight men crew were killed. For no known reason the tank was buried in a shell-hole before being recovered by a Cambrai hotel owner. The "Female" tank was a category of tank prevalent in World War I, which featured multiple machine guns instead of the heavier armament seen on "male" tanks; all the tanks were given names.

Grave of Private George Ellison, thought to be the last man to die on the 11th November, 1918, both buried at St. Sympho...
29/06/2016

Grave of Private George Ellison, thought to be the last man to die on the 11th November, 1918, both buried at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery which is not really surprising, in view that nearby the first and last battles of the war were fought.

Grave of Private John Condon at Poelkapelle British Cemetery which was created after the war from battlefield graves. Jo...
29/06/2016

Grave of Private John Condon at Poelkapelle British Cemetery which was created after the war from battlefield graves. John Condon was an Irish soldier long believed to have been the youngest Allied soldier killed during The Great War, at the age of 14 years, as shown on his gravestone.

The Last Post being played under the Memorial, as it is every night when the roads are closed by the police for the cere...
29/06/2016

The Last Post being played under the Memorial, as it is every night when the roads are closed by the police for the ceremony. This tradition has continued continuously since 11th November 1929 apart from the German occupation of the town during the Second World War. The day the Germans left Ypres, the Call sounded out that evening.

The execution post.In the courtyard next to the prison cells, which was used for the last of at least eight executions t...
29/06/2016

The execution post.

In the courtyard next to the prison cells, which was used for the last of at least eight executions that took place here

Panorama photo of the Hooge CraterA large crater was blown at Hooge on 19th July 1915. This occurred during a time of re...
29/06/2016

Panorama photo of the Hooge Crater

A large crater was blown at Hooge on 19th July 1915. This occurred during a time of relative quiet on the British part of the Western Front, when few major assaults were made. Nonetheless, the average casualty rate for the British and Commonwealth forces was around 300 per day. The mine was laid using the explosive ammonal for the first time, as well as gunpowder and guncotton.

The Great War Exhibition's cover photo
24/06/2016

The Great War Exhibition's cover photo

The Great War Exhibition
17/06/2016

The Great War Exhibition

The Great War Exhibition
17/06/2016

The Great War Exhibition

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