1917 and the Long Reach of War: Three Stories from the Salient

Bruce Scates, Rebecca Wheatley

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


    Battles, by their very nature, are fixed in time and space. Paradoxically (as several historians have observed) they defy the constraints of linear time and their effects can be felt well into the future. This article explores the way the third battle of Ypres changed the lives of three men caught up in the carnage. It charts the way their stories have changed over time and considers the fraught politics of remembrance. All three stories are part of the 100 Stories project, a counter narrative that challenged the dominant mode of commemoration in Australia throughout the centenary of the war. Its aim was to broaden the ambit of remembrance, emphasise the human cost of conflict and examine the way war reaches into and damages the social fabric. Thus far, the 100 Stories have produced a book, inspired musical compositions and performance, formed the basis of several public exhibitions, and led to a host of public and academic presentations in Australia and overseas. They were the centrepiece of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) fielded by Future Learn and provide the framework of a new website hosted by the Australian National University, https://onehundredstories.anu.edu.au. The stories in this article suggest the scope of the 100 Stories project, spanning the lives of an Indigenous soldier as well as those of British descent. Two of the men examined here were killed in the precinct of Glencorse Wood on the Ypres salient. The third took his own life well after the fighting had ended.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45-52
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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