Thursday 18 May 2017 at 6.30 p.m.
Museum Café, In Flanders Fields Museum
1917 – The Passchendaele Year
The British Army in Flanders: The Diary of Achiel Van Walleghem
Edward Everett Root Publishers
This unusual work offers a personal documentary and highly individual witness to the terrible events in Flanders in 1917.
The author, who kept a detailed record of events and attitudes, was a village priest, Achiel Van Walleghem. He lived in Reninghelst, just west of Ypres, and kept an extensive day-by-day account. He was very well informed by the officers lodging in his presbytery. Urged by his innate curiosity, he witnessed and noted the arrival of the first tanks and the increasing importance of the artillery. He also visited the camps of the Chinese Labour Corps and the British West Indies Regiment. On 7 June 1917 he awoke early to see the enormous mines of the Battle of Messines exploding. And he was present when a deserter was shot at dawn. He records all this - and much more - with an unusual humanity.
This diary, on display at In Flanders Fields Museum, is not just a forgotten source of the western front, it is one that will forever change our views on the conflict, and on how men and women tried to cope.
With the support of the research project Memex WWI - Experiences and Memories of the Great War in Belgium (financed by BELSPO), Van Walleghems writings from 1917 have now been translated from the original Dutch by Professor Guido Latré Professor of English Literature and Culture, and Susan Reed, researcher in English Linguistics.
Free entry, after registration through firstname.lastname@example.org