Thursday, 24 February 2011

WWI research trip

I'm just back from France. I was there to do some research on a book I am writing with George Myerson about the Footballers' Battalion in WWI.

I had never been to that part of France. I've passed through it on trains to Paris, but never stopped. I'm glad I did this time. Not just for the book, but for my understanding a bit more about WWI.

The thing that struck me most was, yes, that millions of men hurling millions of bombs at each other for years in the mud is about as dark a passage in the history of mankind there could be. But that the thousands of cemetries and monuments, all perfectly looked after 100 years on, represent the best side of mankind: that the French and others keep the hundreds of thousands of graves in such perfect condition.

This is the monument recently put up to remember the Footballers' Battalion.

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