WW1 Photos Centenary Website: 2014-2018 By Paul Reed

French Front: More Horror in the Trenches – Verdun 1916

We began this week’s look at French images of the Great War with horror, and we end with horror.

Nearly a century after the Great War, it is hard to imagine what a charnel-house the battlefields were during the conflict. Images that give an insight into the horror are rare. This one from the Verdun battlefields of 1916 was taken in the aptly named ‘Ravin de la Mort’ – the Ravine of Death. The caption states the skull was nick-named ‘The Crown Prince’ – after the Kaiser’s son who had commanded German forces at Verdun that year.

Today the skulls of Verdun are just as visible; under the ossuary at Douaumont are the bones of more than 120,000 soldiers who fell in the battle and could not be identified. The ossuary has purpose built glass windows so visitors can look in and see the piles of bones and skulls all positioned so they look at the inquisitive. It is one of the most extraordinary places I have ever visited.

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2 responses

  1. Genevra Charsley

    Powerful image Paul especially when you realise that this is someones relative…and still bodies being found today. Very sad.

    24/02/2012 at 13:13

  2. Phil Andrews

    Hi Paul . I agree with what you say about Douamont, but I find the Monument du Squelette quite disturbing too. If I remember correctly, the hill was a few metres lower after the war because of all the shelling. Horrible to think of the suffering in all that area.

    25/02/2012 at 20:14

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