The country would come back to life, the grass would grow again, the wild flowers return, and trees where now there were only splintered skeleton stumps.
They would lie still and at peace below the singing larks, beside the serenely flowing rivers. They could not feel lonely, they would have one another. And they would have us also, though we were going home and leaving them behind. We belonged to them, and they would be a part of us for ever.
Our project has now finished and we are now working to ensure that the work will accessible to future generations and accordingly we are donating the collection of over 17,000 images to an organisation of international repute.
Over One Million people viewed the exhibition on 5th Avenue in the heart of New York City.
Fields of Battle was on display on two separate occasions directly opposite Horseguards Parade.
Fields of Battle was the first exhibition to be displayed at the Guildhall in the City of London.
The exhibition was the first ever about the British Army in WWI to be exhibited in Ireland.
We have some extraordinary memories. We were the first such exhibition ever to be displayed in the Guildhall Yard in the City of London and were then invited back on two more occasions. In New York over one million people viewed the exhibition as it stood in the shadow of the Flatiron Building on 5th Avenue.
We exhibited twice in St. James’s Park and, most poignantly of all, when we became the first exhibition about the British Army in WWI to be exhibited in Ireland, we were placed in St. Stephen’s Green, itself a scene of fighting during the Easter Rising of 1916. We were moved and honoured when the exhibition was then extended with a display in Glasnevin Cemetery, adjacent to the plot where prominent Irish republicans are buried, as there could not have been a more significant gesture of reconciliation than this.
So our thanks to all who have helped and supported us.
Michael St. Maur Sheil
Click to the right for a video profile of the exhibition as it appeared in Guildhall Yard, London, between June 1st and July 3rd 2016.
Featuring interviews with Photographer Mike Sheil and Historian Sir Hew Strachan, this short video also includes moving public feedback together with schoolchildrens' thoughts on the exhibition and the First World War itself.
You have made an effort to contextualise your work. It is clear that your aim was not only to create art but also to engage with the military history of the sites you captured on film.
Did this affect how you approached your photography?
I used to be a commercial photographer but am now studying for an MA in military history.
I've totally changed direction and I'm enjoying it. The exhibition that we have in Belfast and just had in London includes 19,000 words of captions - I wrote every single one.
This all began when I first met Richard Holmes and began discussing the project. He advised me that I had to have two things: The location and some hold: a person or a story that was related to that place.