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Remembered Today:

'The Western Front Then and Now'


keithjk
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Most members of the Forum are no doubt familiar with ‘The Western Front Then and Now’. For anyone who is not, it is an abridged version of the 3-volume set

‘Twenty Years After’, published by George Newnes Ltd. in 1938, and contains about 180 pairs of photos. The first photo was supplied by the IWM and is a war-time

shot. The second photo was taken by A.J. Insall, G.T. Watson and the Keystone View Co., and shows the same view in 1938. (A certain amount of artistic licence

was taken as some of the war-time shots are of nothing more than a pile of rubble !!)

I purchased a copy of this book about 12 years ago, and as a sideline when I am visiting the battlefields I attempt to take modern photos from the same vantage

points. Some are very easy, others more complicated. Trees have grown, blocks of flats and offices have been constructed, old buildings have been demolished. It

is quite surprising, though, that so many views are very similar to the 1938 shots. A house in Armentieres had a bricked-up window in 1938 – it still has !! I have

about 20 shots left to locate, so completion is nigh.

An interesting thought is that a lot of the relatively new buildings shown in 1938, constructed on land that was previously shell-holed and cratered, probably

suffered damage 2 years later when the Germans once again fought their way through Belgium and Northern France.

Keith

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Somewhere on here are a few threads devoted to pictures people have taken as you describe. I can't find them by searching but someone else cleverer probably can.

Mandy

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Two further items to add to my post.

1 The book is available on Amazon from £5 upwards, depending upon condition.

2 A reminder that my passion can lead to bodily harm lol. A lot of the 1938 shots are taken from the middle of the road, when traffic consisted of half-a-dozen horse-drawn

carts a day. I have several times risked injury to duplicate the scenes. The Bray-sur-Somme shot in particular was taken with a small Peugeot accelerating wildly towards

me, horn blaring, obviously intent on wiping me out !!

Keith

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There was also a book called "The Western Front Then and Now" written by John Giles published in about 1992, on a similar theme. He also produced "The Somme Then and Now", and "Flanders Then and Now" during the 1980's.

Martin

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Yes indeed Martin, I have all three, and mighty good they are too. Don't forget 'Gallipoli Then and Now' by Steve Newman in the same series.

Keith

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