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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Ghosts On the Somme


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At the end of December at the height of an annual festive event with both Christian and Pagan origins called...

i received a copy of this book. Written by Alastair Fraser, Andrew Robertshaw and Steve Roberts, it traces Malins and McDowell as they filmed the now famous scenes of the opening day of the Somme offensive. It is full of still photos taken at the same time as the film and I must say gave me a whole new perspective on where many of the famous scenes were filmed. As someone with a (hopefully healthy) obsession with the area around White City, the Sunken Lane and the New Beaumont Road I was intrigued to discover that the shots taken in that area were all really within a few yards of one another. I had never even seen some of the stills published in the book before. And well-known photos are given a helpful perspective. For example, in the well-known shot of soldiers in King St. fixing bayonets, on the horizon you can see Hawthorn Ridge and Marlborough trench from where the 2nd RF attacked. I did not realize that the shots of White City were taken from almost the same vantage point looking the opposite way. Also, there is a description of the shots taken of the wounded man being carried across the New Beaumont Road. I won't spoil it any further but would add that some nice photos around Mansel Copse also provide a more definitive picture of the topography of the battle ground.

The film and the still photos have taken on a whole new life for me and it is breath-taking to experience these photos in a whole new light and perspective.

For those interested in the story of the filming of The Battle of the Somme and the "back-stories" of many a famous photo, this is a worthy investment. I believe there is a series, different titles depending on whether it is shown in Canada or the UK, that is covered in one of the chapters concerning the use of a lip-reader to "interpret" the words of the young lad in the Sunken Lane who says, "I hope we are in the right place..."

Anyway, great book and great Christm.........eewwps.....gift.

It's a Pen and Sword book, ISBN 978 1 4415 836 2



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