We have been travelling almost parallel to the trench lines of the first World War in a France that has had almost no mention that we can see of the fact that the war began exactly a hundred years ago this month. But we have been to both Fromelles and today to Vimy Ridge to see the Australian and Canadian memorials. Fromelles was a disaster but Vimy Ridge was a famous turning point during the war (famous in Canada anyway). The interesting point made by the guide today was that it was always seen as a great source of comfort to have either the Canadians or Australians on ones flanks since everyone felt a kind of security in knowing that such reliable forces were at their side. I can still see why that would be.
But the absence of any particular reflection about the events of a hundred years ago – and I don’t mean just at these sites but in the whole of France – is truly striking. I don’t know what I did expect but I didn’t expect nothing at all.