At Adanac Military Cemetery

Piper James Cleland Richardson VC, Adanac Military Cemetery, France. (P. Ferguson image, September 18, 2017)

Piper James Cleland Richardson VC, Adanac Military Cemetery, France. (P. Ferguson image, September 18, 2017)

Before and For All Time

On a rainy day towards the Somme, we stop at Beaumont-Hamel and Thiepval before heading a short distance to Adanac Military Cemetery, to observe the day at the graveside of Piper James Cleland Richardson VC. Although we have been before, time and time again, our observances here strike a new note amidst this battlefield cemetery, amidst these farmer’s fields.

There is nothing about, save for speeding cars and the occasional large tractor and farmhand lumbering about the small roads to tend one of their fields or to return home for the family dinner. As I stand by the Piper’s graveside I look towards Thiepval visible on the horizon, only disturbed by the passing cables of hydro lines. The buzz of modernity a dim contrast to the sounds once heard here of an earlier modern – weapons of the day heard in between the calls of men. One does not wonder here why the second b in bomb is silent.

Time and time again I return to the Piper and with each squishy step I take I mash myself between the rows of muddy grass and headstones, looking and listening, always searching here amongst those who have been before and remain for all time.


About The Author

pferguson
In April 2007 Paul met Casey and Ian Williams of the Paradigm Motion Picture Company in Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul has worked with Paradigm since 2009 as Producer and Historian. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was amazed by films such as David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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