Tweets from the Trenches was a collaboration with the past and the present. From the Great War era, we heard from the (often long-dormant) letters and journals and photos of those who were in it. Much more on that in the book! There are a number of people whose names are in the acknowledgments section of the book, and I’d like to make a note of them here.
From the present, contributors include people like British author and researcher Lucy London, whose marvelous books are bringing the heart-felt words of long-dead poets sing once more.
And then there’s Annette Fulford, the Maple Ridge, B.C. genealogist and researcher, so generous with her extensive knowledge of the war brides who journeyed far for love (and the lovely picture of her grandparents.)
On the photography side, the aerial perspective provided by Stephen Kerr of SK Photos gave a bird’s eye view of today’s scenic sites along the Western Front. Daphne Vangheluwe’s brilliant captures of social media and present-day memorial events truly captured the anachronistic feel I was looking for in my opening poems. Johan Declef’s great picture of Max Pelgrim’s gravesite was a superb opening image for the war stories. There were several super shots of the Newfoundland memorial’s caribou; I chose Andrew Mackay’s for its moody contrasts. I’ve seen some wonderful images of The 42nd Rainbow Division Memorial at Croix Rouge Farm, but Nick Mol of Fotoshoot WO1oo brought the detail needed while really showing the sky over France. Richard Houghton’s memorial stained glass still gives me goosebumps (the colour version is seen on this website); Lies Depuydt’s fantastic still life work grabbed the boots and the SRD jug I was looking for. Paul Chapman is a storyteller at heart, and his image of the luthier’s gravestone speaks volumes. Steve Douglas and his staff helped bring the grave of Lt. Col. Dr. John McCrae into the present. I was so happy to get a picture from the haka performed at the Menin Gate from Kevin Raistrick, as the ANZACs were very much on my mind after a visit to the Auckland Domain Memorial Museum earlier this year. Geerhard Joos came through for several photos, for the Shot At Dawn project and the Beechey story, as well as the Welsh cromlech memorial and the Bully-Les-Mines tribute to Fernand Marche and Vimy at dusk. Nora Platt beautifully captured the Shot At Dawn memorial’s depiction of the terrified young Herbert Burden. Many thanks are due Ian Fletcher for the heart-tugging image of Pte. John Chookomolin’s grave. Thanks, too, to Andy Wright for his work on the photo illustrating biting trench humour near Prowse Point Military Cemetery, and to Peter Kervarec for his smashing photo of the bronze memorial at Ballarat, Australia which honours horses and mules killed in World War I – as well as poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. And a special call-out to tattoo artist Mariska Van Lissum, whose work is turning Steven Van Den Eynde into a sort of living tribute to soldiers of a century ago. Which brings me to Steven Van Den Eynde whose jaw-dropping shot of Canada Bereft transformed the cover of Tweets from the Trenches: Little True Stories of Life & Death on the Western Front.