My Vimy

Private Ole Berget late of the 31st BAttalion CEF. Missing in action Fresnoy 3 May 1917.

My Vimy. Private Ole Berget, 2007 Vimy Memorial Rededication.

It is as if Vimy is the start of what I do

Vimy is connected to family. It’s personal.

This I learned many years ago from my grandmother who told me stories about her father…..which were…..upon reflection…..stories her mother had told. This was the man Grannie knew…..memories…..passed from one generation to another. Grannie was two years old or thereabouts when her Papa left this plain for another place, at another battle – known as Fresnoy – now so near to a 100 years ago.

Watching this past Sunday, I learned of many who followed this desire that rises in some of us to see for ourselves. I did not go this time but have been before and will go again. There is peace in what I do. I am at home here – walking, cycling, feeling these places as they ache into the heart and allow me to find connection through the space of years from conflict to calm. What noises, sites and smells were here then and what is here now? Patient, continuous observation without the chaos, within my own plain.

There can be no doubt that the consideration to remain at home was for a reason. I did not go. I did not speak – but found solace in words and thoughts from the wreckage of this past. My Vimy was 2007 at the rededication of the Vimy Memorial when I took my Great-Grandfather’s portrait with me and upon that ridge looked into this man who somehow brought me here. That day Private Ole Berget, late of the 31st Battalion CEF seemed to say, “I have been here before……………take me home”……….he just wanted to come home.

Somehow, I like to think that this is what many of us feel when we watch amongst this emotion and search for our peace. We find ourselves, our Vimys, our Fresnoys…….…it’s personal.

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.


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