“The country needs dignity and refined taste”: 100 years of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has been celebrating the centenary of its founding since May 21st, with events across the Commonwealth countries, including one at the Canadian War Museum this past week. One of the most striking sites when travelling in northern France are the CWGC managed cemeteries; they are quiet places, with rows of white headstones, and perfectly maintained grass walkways.  Continue reading ““The country needs dignity and refined taste”: 100 years of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission”

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“The Dead Marshes”: The Post-War Landscape of France and Flanders

In the second book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, “The Two Towers”, Frodo and Gollum pass through the Dead Marshes where, “The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark greasy milky surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long forgotten summers.”. The author of the trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien later attributed his marsh landscape to the fields of Northern France after the Somme, where he had fought as a second lieutenant with the Lancashire Fusiliers.  Continue reading ““The Dead Marshes”: The Post-War Landscape of France and Flanders”