During a recent visit to Belgium we took time out to visit the beautiful Bedford House Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery near Ypres. During earlier visits we have been able to capture moving footage of other cemeteries and memorials in the region but this was our first time at Bedford House. As we walked among the graves our photographer was able to create emotional photography and capture the serenity of the cemetery. The conifers standing tall like those they guard now are a truly striking image.
Unknown but not forgotten
Of the 5144 graves at Bedford House almost 2200 are unknown; a very sad indication of the horrible nature of the war. All of the World War One cemeteries in the area are beautifully kept and frequently visited all ages but they are also full of stories too. Even the graves of the unknown soldiers can hint at a tale waiting to be discovered.
A chance discovery
During an earlier visit we found on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing the name of a previously unknown relative. This moved us to create our own tribute to the fallen which can be viewed here With curiosity and a tinge of guilt stirred, we started researching his background to try and learn as much as possible. Using the wealth of research tools available, over a period of time we were able to gather an amazing amount of detail. The date and place of his death, the comrades who died with him, the events leading up to his death and even the amount of pension his mother received.
Maybe he is found
While some of his comrades killed on the same day have marked graves, he has none. A chance reading of the war diary of another unit gave confirmation of the location of his battalion. This is very close to Bedford House Cemetery and it is very likely our relative is buried among those unknown soldiers. Maybe this is the grave of S/4254 L/Cpl David Orrells, B Company, 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade, killed on the 9th August 1917, at least I would like to think so.
Emotional photography of the highest standard should create memorable images and stir the thoughts. For me this is most definitely the case and I hope you will fell the same as well.
David Orrells Copper Tree Media Ltd