Today’s Objective Was Passchendaele

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, 2016)

Imagine all the people…Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, 2016)

Ypres Day Three of Five

A shorter ride today though at times it felt uphill and against the wind. Determined to push on, today’s objective was Passchendaele – one spot on the high ground that is the Western Front. We were most familiar with Canada’s role in this climb to the top where today the Canadian Memorial at Passchendaele also attracts our nation to witness this ground that we mostly learn as mud and battle. Whenever I see visitors from our side of the pond I ask myself, What brought them here?…and perhaps it is as simple as…they have come to see for themselves.

Prior to reaching Passchendaele we stop at Zonnebeke to visit the Passchendaele Memorial Museum and the 85th Battalion CEF (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Memorial. Although we had viewed the museum once before, now on our own, we have more time to carefully discover the exhibits. Afterwards we pedal into Passchendaele Centrum and then soared down the hill towards the Waterfields and onto Tyne Cot Cemetery which never ceases to leave one imagining.

Hopeful of a trip to Hill 60, we simply run out of time and head towards Bellewaerde Ridge, where we wave to two seniors visiting at the P.P.C.L.I. Memorial. Afterwards we find an obscure narrow roadway that runs into the back of the amusement park at Bellewaerde. Here we discover our missing crows of the last two days who scramble taking flight from under the trees, our presence has surprised them. Then off to Hooge Crater for refreshments and with the two towers on the horizon we head toward Ypres. An eight hour day on pedals and the downhill, gentle rolling is welcome after being buffeted by the wind. One thinks of Canada’s troops here in this place known as Passchendaele, no doubt uphill, muddy, bloody and at times against the wind. All we can do today is imagine and remember them.

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 Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration 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 inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", 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 was 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, Paul 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.


One Response to “Today’s Objective Was Passchendaele”

  1. W.R. Paul Ferguson says:

    The cover of John Lennon’s Imagine is by Joseph Vincent, first heard at the Ariane Hotel, Ieper, Belgium, September 26, 2016.

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