English


Above: French road D929 from Albert (far left) to Bapaume (behind my back). Upwards along this road British, Canadian, and Australian troops struggled against fierce German opposition. The village to the left is Pozières.


28 April 2015 - will be revised periodically




In Pozières the memories of the Somme offensive of July to November 1916 are kept alive in this restaurant named, Le Tommy (Tommy is a name that has stuck in the collective memory of France - and, I believe, of Germany). The place is mainly Australian in concept - you understand this when you see ANZAC Tommy with his typical slouch hat. The food is adapted to the preferences of the patrons. Not very French, but good. At the back of the restaurant, the owner has created an outdoor museum with two parallel trenches and a lot of hardware he probably found on (or under) the grounds. It must be seen to be believed.


The untidy heap in the below picture was once a windmill. The Australians captured the place which is now a monument close to the Pozières - Bapaume road.


Last edited: 26 February, 2018


ARCHIVE: this link offers pdf-files of a number of scholarly papers I have written on various subjects within Classical, Medieval , and Neo-Latin. It seems more convenient to re-publish them in this way, that allows for future emendations, than to find a commercial or academic publisher. The papers are in English, the presentation and grammatical studies are in Swedish.


The TOLKIEN link above now offers a recent essay in English. I have been a Tolkien fan for  exactly 50 years and believe my majority now entitles me to formulating theories.


A real find I made in the shop at the WWi museum in Kobarid (Caporetto), Slovenia this spring was Mario Simić's guide "Auf den Spuren der Isonzofront" (On the tracks of the Isonzo Front), translated from the Slovenian. At last a book provided with really good and relevant maps! Europe before WWi and after WWi - all in German and brilliantly clear in colouring, captions and layout! And - if you read German - the book offers a wealth of information on all the eleven sanguinary battles fought along the Isonzo river, until the Germans pushed the Italians back to the Piave.


Right now, I am busy reading Winston S. Churchill's three volumes entitled The World Crisis (his account of the Great War), and comparing his account with those of modern monographs on the German invasion in August and September, 1914, and the Gallipoli campaing in 1915.



This is my new (well, fairly new) homepage, created when my ISP decided to discontinue the previous web editor, that I had learned to use, offering a new one that I am still learning. A rather disturbing consequence is that I cannot edit the old pages, as their format is no longer supported.


The old homepage is still in existence and can be reached by this link: old homepage, but I cannot any longer make any changes to its material. But I am glad the stories are still there to be read!


Changes come slowly right now - the two items I am working on are in my Bibliography that I update regularly in the pdf format, and a review of the two WW I books authored by Professor John Mosier of New Orleans.


Any comments will be gladly accepted by email to:


hans@hansaili.se


All photos on these pages are my own. They may be copied, but please mention that I am the photographer!


There are a lot of Australian monuments, because the Australian divisions fought on many stretches of the front. The largest memorial is located south of the river Somme, in the area where the Australians pushed the Germans back during the hundred days' offensive in the summer and autumn of 1918.


But the highest tower of all is offered by the US memorial of Montfaucon, commemorating the bitter fighting on the Argonne front.


The main American effort was in the autumn of 1918, when the Germans were pushed out of the Argonne sector. There are many monuments devoted to US troops, but the most magnificent one is that in Montfaucon (above) and the great cemetery further north, at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon. The stones are so white that they seem to shine with their own light.


The American monument area of Romagne is vast, bissected by a French country road (D123), and very impressive.


Below, a view of the US monument at Romagne, seen from the east to the west. The road circles the pond.


The pure monuments are much rarer than the cemeteries, which are usually located on the sites of first-aid posts close to the front line. This picture of British Roclincourt Valley Cemetery (CWCG 329), seemingly offers a view of a country idyll in early spring. In reality, a brand new motorway runs just behind the wall, shattering the quiet of the dead. The cemeteries certainly form part of a living landscape. The woodland in the background is the eastern part of Vimy Ridge, the greater part of which is now Canadian property (a concession from the French people). Even in March, the British lawns are perfectly mown and trimmed.


The whole countryside west of Vimy Ridge is full of cemeteries. At La Targette, the French have dedicated a place for the numerous German fallen - La Targette German Cemetery, here seen when the cherry trees were in blossom. The film I used, a colour negative film of French manufacture (brand unknown), gives both this picture and that above dramatic and poignant qualities that I did not really intend or expect, but they do improve the pictures.


So, what about the French themselves? What do their cemeteries look like? Strangely enough, considering the very impressive sites the French created for the German dead back in the Twenties, their own places, although vast, are rather meagre in execution. The Cimitière national in the picture below, which neighbours CWGC 318 La Targette British Cemetery, is so vast that the concrete crosses, some crumbling with age, form strange geometrical patterns. Every fallen French soldier has his own cross (as do the British, whereas the Germans share their black iron crosses, which usually bear the names of four soldiers, one on each arm, back and front). The lawns do not meet British standards (nor, of course, do the German ones). Like the two pictures above, this was taken on March 24, 2007 (during my very first battlefield tour). Spring brings cherry trees in bloom for the Germans and the French, daffodils for the British.