Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I had a weird small job last Thursday - Armistice Day - to take some pictures of the Australian WW1 War Graves at Harefield. They're within the parish church graveyard - the same church where I got married back in 1987.
Harefield was the site of an ANZAC war hospital. Originally created with the expectation of 60 summer patients and up to 150 in the winter. By 1918, the hospital was regularly stacked to the gunnels with over 1,000 patients.
More than 100 who made it back from the front never recovered from their wounds and were buried with full military honours in this quiet corner of Middlesex.
Last Thursday was appropriately dank and grey and all the more poignant for the fact that a funeral - I think for a child - had just taken place a few yards away in the main cemetery. The raw aching despair of loss was palpable as friends and relatives left flowers, balloons and toys on the grave.
My photographic subjects lay in neat rows tended, but cared for only impersonally. Young men denied a life by the machinations of those far from the front.