Walking These My Own Footsteps

Hedge Row Trench Cemetery, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

Hedge Row Trench Cemetery, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

The Registers

We ride, we bike, we walk one road to another through country fields, forest (les bois) and urban centres. Some of the sites are near to our path while others meander off the larger trail. Many are destinations, others we find happenstance. There is always something to learn at each war graves cemetery. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), previously the Imperial War Graves Commission, these silent cities have voices larger than any actual speech.

The latched bronze door to a Cemetery Register. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

The latched bronze door to a Cemetery Register.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

The CWGC provides to its many visitors at these sites of gathering a printed record of those who remain here…for these witnesses their actual warring days are over but their peacetime vigil about battles, men and women of their time continues. We are the dead…short days ago…I turn the bronze latch to find the Register and now within my hands each page I read…Acton, Ambler…Bakehouse, Belsham…Collins…Currin….and elsewhere Khan…Shui…Singh…Wolff…

The Register and Visitor's Book...welcome resources in the field. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

The Register and Visitor’s Book…welcome resources in the field.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

The registers provide details as to the cemetery layout, some history, a record of design and details of those whose torch is beyond the flame but instead perpetually releases the dove in flight…in search of peace…we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. Additional, to the registers are visitor’s books where friends and family can record their visits, their thoughts, and sometimes sketches. So often in walking these my own footsteps I learn I have traced the walking steps of others. Those who long visited long before (or just before)…perhaps we share the same thoughts here with those who loved and were loved.

A family name is found in one volume of the Menin Gate Registers, Ypres (Ieper). (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

A family name is found in one volume of the Menin Gate Registers, Ypres (Ieper).
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)


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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