Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A covenant with death

For the first decade of its existence, Culturissima was commissioned largely to write and research in the fields of the fine arts and architecture, music and the theatre, as well as archaeology and the natural world.

More recently, however, we've been asked to broaden our portfolio, to embrace the history of the First and Second World Wars, with one of our latest pieces appearing under the title of The Battle of The Atlantic and British Bunkers.

In this anniversary year, of course, the First World War still resonates deeply in the British psyche, and we've just finished putting the finishing touches to an article on the Somme for a British client; here's a taste:

The detonating of the mine at Hawthorn Ridge on the morning of July 1, 1916 marked the advent of the darkest day in the history of the British Army, a covenant with death that saw 58,000 British troops killed or wounded before nightfall. 

By the time the Somme offensive came to an end four and half months later, the lives of more than a million men - British, Commonwealth, French and German - were shattered. 

As well as treading lightly over the physical relics of the Somme battlefields - the trenches, shell holes and mine craters - our journey to northern France echoed to the musical strains of the Great War, from the 1914 recruiting refrain "Oh, we don't want to lose you but we think you ought to go" to Ivor Novello's Keep the Home-Fires Burning:

They were summoned from the hill-side; 
They were called in from the glen, 
And the Country found them ready
At the stirring call for men.

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