View of wrecked Chaulnes
Image by National Library of Scotland
This bleak and depressing scene in Chaulnes was most probably captured on camera by John Warwick Brooke. In his capacity as a British official photographer, Warwick Brooke followed the British Army in and around the area of the Somme. Chaulnes was just one of many towns and villages in the Somme area to experience such a degree of devastation. As there was heavy fighting in this area for much of the war, it is difficult to determine the date or even year this was taken.
In the year 2001, a dispute raged over proposals to build an airport at Chaulnes. The controversial plans suggested an area of the Somme battlefield as an ideal location for the airport. This would have involved the exhumation of many war graves in this area. The opposition to these proposals has been on a national and international scale. Many of those who oppose it, do so because they believe disturbing the ground will dishonour the memory of the soldiers who fought and died there.
[Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. View of wrecked Chaulnes.’]