When We Are Absent One From Another

An empty chair at Menin Gate. “Have you news of my boy Jack? Not this tide. When d’you think that he’ll come back? Not with this wind blowing, and this tide” (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

An empty chair at Menin Gate.
“Have you news of my boy Jack? Not this tide. When d’you think that he’ll come back? Not with this wind blowing, and this tide”
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Thread Four

Near to the early evening the bells call, an announcement of faith or on this day of the Great Pilgrimage a note for every unit, every battalion. The notes grow faint as if to start speaking the names of all who are recorded here.

Standing near to four Yorkshire men, their banter speaks to their time with the service. As the parade moves by they speak the names and nicknames of regiments, light infantry, cherry pickers and others.

I move on, across the canal to bring myself closer to the British Legion flag bearers who have carried with them their identies from across the United Kindom. The branch names are many, the people are many, they have come to remember, they have come not to forget. I watch them struggle with spoken words, come to terms with names on the wall…well done boys, well done girls…to absent friends…this day at Ypres (Ieper).

——-SNIP——-


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time 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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