Epitaphs of The Great War: Passchendaele by Sarah Wearne
Epitaphs of the Great War Passchendaele is an edited collection of headstone inscriptions from the graves of those killed during the Third Battle of Ypres - Passchendaele. Limited by the Imperial War Graves Commission to sixty-six characters - far more restrictive than Twitter's 140-character rule - these inscriptions are masterpieces of compact emotion. But, as Sarah Wearne says, their enforced brevity means that many inscriptions rely on the reader being able to pick up on the references and allusions, or recognise the quotations - and many twenty-first-century readers don't. Consequently she has selected one hundred inscriptions from the battlefield cemeteries and by expanding the context - religious, literary or personal - she has been able to give full voice to the bereaved. This collection, the second in a short series, will be published to coincide with the centenary of the opening of the Passchendaele offensive on 31 July 1917. Together with Epitaphs of the Great War The Somme, published on 1 July 2016, these books cover the epitaphs of the ordinary and the famous, the privileged and the poor, the generals and the privates and, after a hundred years, give us an insight into what contemporaries believed they had been fighting for and how they viewed the loss of the men they had loved.