That Wait Upon the Clouds

St. George's Memorial Church. (P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

St. George’s Memorial Church.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

St. George’s Memorial Church

It is one of many places to commemorate the Great War. Filled with memorials to soldiers, regiments and associaitons. President Sir John French, Earl of Ypres and the president of The Ypres League led the appeal. The town of Ypres (Ieper) gifted the property and on 24 July 1927 Lord Herbert Plumer laid the foundation stone, the same day that Plumer inaugurated the Menin Gate Memorial.

Foundation Stone, St. George Memorial Church. (P. Ferguson image, April 2007)

Foundation Stone, St. George Memorial Church.
(P. Ferguson image, April 2007)

The church, part of the Church of England commemorates more than 500,000 soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth who died during the Battles of Ypres. Completed in 1929 the church did not include bells until 2016 when the project became part of the many centenary projects 2014-2018. Having successfully raised funds by September 2017 a set of change-ringing bells were cast by John Taylor & Co., Loughborough and by January 2018 the Ypres Bell Ringing Guild actively began seeking individuals to peal the bells. Eight new bells were installed and they were first heard 10 January 2018 when eight bell-ringers from the United Kingdom played the first campanology.

St. George's Sunday Services plaque. (P. Ferguson image, April 2004)

St. George’s Sunday Services plaque.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

At times I find myself thinking about my first visit to St. George’s. Having spent the previous evening visiting new found friends at the Ariane, where I first met Reverend Ray Jones, St. George’s then chaplain, the evening provided my initial insights into this town that has become friend to a visitor from Canada. The evening was filled with good chatter about his work, the on-goings of the communities of Belgium and the many others who take part in some way to remember the Great War.

This was the start to this knowledge journey that continues to this day. Now some time has passed…last there November 2018…where good fortune allowed myself and others the opportuniy to volunteer with the event oganizing committee. One day I will visit Ypres (Ieper) again, recline and relax at my Ieper (Ypres) boutique hotel and wander to the Ariane for the evening. But, during the in between, I will wander to those many places, the war graves, the memorial, Cloth Hall, Saint Martin’s Cathedral, Saint George’s and others to be with this place and to find those stories that wait upon the clouds for one visitor from Canada.

Interior St. George's Memorial Church. (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Interior St. George’s Memorial Church.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)


About The Author

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, Gallipoli and Salonika. 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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