I try to imagine the feeling at this battlefield. One where bodies are still surfacing from almost 90 years ago, eroding out of the soil. Standing alone in a field where 3 major battles have raged, a field where hundreds of thousands died, or are still missing under the farmer's crops, an Archaeologist's goldmine, and a place where past sorrow hangs in the fog by the North Sea in Ypres, Belgium .
Nearly 90 years after the guns fell silent, the mud of Flanders is still giving up its secrets.
This week, in a farmer's field near Ypres, a group of amateur historians found the remains of three soldiers from the First World War.
Two of the bodies bore no identification, although one still had half its uniform, as well as a spoon, fork and a bayonet.
On the third, the historians found an identification tag. The chain had been broken and the tag pushed forward into the skull, probably by a farmer's plough passing over it.
The tag was badly corroded, but they were able to decipher a number, 8372, and a surname, Lancaster. They also found a cap badge and shoulder titles.
Such finds are not uncommon, although identifications are rare. The battlefields around the Ypres Salient covered 25 square kilometres. More than 250,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers died there in three major battles. Around 90,000 are officially missing.
In this time where ground invasions are on governmental lips, it's interesting to think to earlier, massive ground campaigns, before missiles and sterile precision air strikes. Where the soldiers dug in and tried to hold their ground...where a generation of 19 through 21 year olds sank into the dirt and were swallowed by the trenches, only to resurface 90 years or more later.
I don't think potential invasions were talked about as lightly back in those days, when you had to wait till you saw the whites of his eyes.
Our tendencies revolve around the circle of history to slam us in the face every so often, we have no escape, locked inside the human mind, half alien half ape...or choose what you would like to mix with primate. It gets me thinking about how the Earth is a closed system, a bubble keeping all the energy inside, the ground we walk on compiling memories.
The biggest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world is at Tyne Cot, near the site of the Third Battle of Ypres (1917), also known as Passchendaele.
There are 12,000 headstones there: some with names, some without. The names of the missing are carved on a wall at the back. The wind whistles in off the North Sea. The clouds hang low over the land.