The Blighty Project
Some Fields and Stones in France
London 020 8239 9955 | 9263
Since their creative collaboration on the Thiepval Visitor Centre and the publication of their books The Somme Ninety Years On, Somme90 and Tommy Atkins in the Great War, Duncan Youel, Keith Lillis and David Edgell have been drawn back time and again to the Somme battlefields, making pictures of the landscapes that still hold an emotional connection for many villages and towns back in the British Isles. This site publishes for the first time some of the many pictures they have taken on these trips. The grid is organised geographically and historically—for the next few months this first set of pictures concentrates on the landscapes and places of the First of July, and the locations
from Foncquevillers to Maricourt, finishing near to the valley of the River Somme. Each picture includes supporting notes on the local British Battalions and the men who saw action there. The rural landscapes of the Somme are largely unchanged since the cataclysm of 1916, and the country lanes that hundreds of thousands of Tommies marched down are still there to be experienced today. From rarely-visited cemeteries to the sweeping, grandiose chalk landscapes of hills, valleys, woodlands, hidden gullies and ravines, these pictures call us back to Britain’s Citizen Army of 1914, and the poignant Sites of Memory that so many died in during “the biggest battle in the world”.
All photographs copyright Duncan Youel and Keith Lillis 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2016.
For prints and reproductions see the page on this site.
For anyone approaching the enormous subject of the British 1916 Somme Campaign, there are several “go to” books that are indispensable: Kitchener’s Army and From the Somme to Victory by Peter Simkins (both P&S); Somme90 by Duncan Youel and David Edgell (M2 Books); The First Day on the Somme by Martin Middlebrook (Penguin); Somme: the Day-by-Day Account by Chris McCarthy (Brockhampton Press); and all the Pals and Battleground Europe series (P&S).
A site we have found especially useful is The Long, Long Trail by Chris Baker (longlongtrail.co.uk)
All the graves and cemeteries photographed and mentioned in the text are exquisitely maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with an enormous degree of purpose and affection. For casualty and cemetery information go to cwgc.org.
The Western Front Association is a terrific organisation for those wishing to take further an interest in the Great War. The Association has over fifty branches in the British Isles, including Ireland. See their site at westernfrontassociation.com
Duncan Youel, David Edgell and Keith Lillis would like to thank Professor Peter Simkins and Michael Stedman for their
enthusiasm, and generosity in sharing their great knowledge of all matters 1914-1918.
Big thanks also to Rod and Jackie Bedford at the Battlefields Experience. See their site at thebattleofthesomme.co.uk
Site research, text, design and build by Duncan Youel and Keith Lillis for the Blighty Project