Posted by: sommecourt | 19/12/2011

A Year Of Battlefields: 2011 in Review

While I spend most of my professional, and a good portion of my personal life on and around battlefields, this year has certainly been a busy one. I started in January going backwards and forwards to Arnhem and Normandy getting things organised for Dig WW2 and then went into the filming for that in Belgium, France, Holland, and Germany, with our last overseas shoot in July. I also found myself in Italy for a month this year either working on TV projects or guiding groups. But for the Great War it was  a quiet year, as time only permitted me to do a handful of Recces or tours on the Western Front; in fact in twelve months I only found myself in Ypres twice, something that hasn’t happened for more than 20 years. The autumn into the winter saw the start of two new TV projects, one we have started filming for Channel 5 – Hero in the Family. As snow descends on the old battlefields in Europe, it certainly is time for a break.

On the writing front, Your Family Tree  have kept me busy, and 2011 The saw a reprint of my first book Walking the Somme and I finally finished my first WW2 book, Walking D Day.

But there have been tragic times, too. Spending time with veterans is a blessing, but it is heartbreaking when they fade away and it was a hard loss when Don Carter died just after our visit to Cassino. We owe men like him so much, and their quiet heroism is humbling. I know where my new years toast will be directed in a couple of weeks time.

Next year promises to be just as busy, with two WW1 TV projects looming close, the publication of another book and two series go to air sometime in the Spring.

For now the walking boots are stashed away, the last few words of the year written, and I take my leave from the Old Front Line, as much as it ever leaves me, or I it.



  1. Enjoyed your article very much

  2. This is a very nice piece, Paul. I admit to severe jealousy when you say you could only get to Ypres twice in a year. I’m still working towards at least once in a lifetime! In any event, best wishes for your upcoming projects in the New Year. I’m very keen to know more about the particular subject matter you’ll be focussing on with the film works you mentioned. Could we set up an e-interview for my column based on your current body of work and upcoming projects? At the very least, I’m going to post a link to your above thoughts on “If Ye Break Faith’s” Facebook page.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Very kind regards,

    Christopher J Harvie

  3. Hi Christopher – would be happy to do an e-interview. Let’s talk in the new year.

    • Fantastic. We shall speak in January, then. Enjoy your holidays.

  4. Walking D Day in July really inspiring, a bit of a life changer. Looking forward to walking Arnhem?

    There’s a dedication to Paul’s work that inspires.

  5. Thanks Nik, much appreciated.

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