champagne

Hi  

Today started with a long drive to Riems.

 

When we arrived at The Pommery we went into a beautiful large building with a lovely interior. Over the last few days the entrance to our underground spaces have been a little more interesting including trying not to get to much clay on the tiles of the church we walked through.

 

We were taken on a private tour of the underground area where the champagne is aged. There is over 18km of tunnels so we only went into a very small area. We where given the normal tour but where told of the space on another level that was used during WW1. Riems was completely destroyed so the town’s people came to live underground in the space mentioned. It was like a small city that even included a Hospital. The tour guide did not have a key or the authority to take us there. However, they do store champagne there and workers do go into the space so it is accessable.

 

At the end of the tour we had a few sample tastes of champagne, which is a bit more up market than we normally get after a trip underground but we did not complain.

 

The next step is for me to write a proposal for us to work with them to document their WW1 space to be exhibited in time for the centenary. They have some beautiful spaces for this to be presented.

 

The images are from the Pommery. Lady Pommery liked the english and sold alot of champange to them hence the name of some of the spaces.

 

Today above ground was cold but sunny.

Pom 3

Pom 1

Pom 2

Pom 4

under church

Hi We have had a great day. We headed towards Albert and stopped off at Thiepval to pay our respects. We where the only ones there and I took the photo that is attached. It was very beautiful and peaceful there.

After lunch we headed to our new underground location that was a real surprise. I thought we would find one small tunnel. However, it was much larger and absolutely full of graffiti. After two hours we had only scratched the surface but, we have been able to negotiate through our interrupter François the chance to come back in July for at least another 4 days. We are going to help them map out the area and document where all the images are so that relatives can come and easily find the graffiti relating to their ancestor.

This is a big new project but I feel an important one. Each time we come we develop more contacts and exciting you underground locations.

Tomorrow we head towards Reims and visit an underground space at The Pommeries a Champagne making establishment. Should be interesting.

Today above ground was cold with snow.

Thiepval 1

Tunnel 3

Tunnel 2

Tunnel 1

secret

Hi, Today we had a great day exploring and documenting a new tunnel in an area just outside of Arras. I have been asked to keep the location a secret so I must respect this request.

It was interesting exploring a different place. The width of the tunnels is quite a lot thinner than in the Arras system. This was mainly for troop moment so there was no large spaces just thin tunnels.

The graffiti in this tunnel is just about all Canadian. All images attached are from today.

Tomorrow we are going to a new location. It is an underground space that is under a Church near Albert so not sure what we are going to find.

Will let you know tomorrow.

Above ground today was cold and it is now snowing.

Lady

Text

Tunnel

back again

Hi We arrived yesterday after an 11hour trip.

We have had quite a relaxing day and decided just to visit Rimy Ridge. We got onto one of the tours underground so it was great to be back in familiar surroundings. It made us miss our own tunnels but we are not visiting them this time.

Tomorrow we are going underground again but I have been asked to keep the location a secret however, I can confirm that there is a lot of graffiti where we are going so hope to have a few samples up tomorrow.

On the road to where we are staying we go through Dainville. The kiwi tunnellers stayed there for some time so I took a photo of the field they camped in. You can see by one of the attached images that it is quite cold today.

The other image is taken at Vimy Ridge. It is great to be back and hope to create a great new set of images.

Above ground today was very cold with some snow.

D1

V1

end

Hi This will be the last entry for this trip as we go back tomorrow.

Coming for 14 days has really allowed me to take my time and spend quite times underground. I have certainly taken less images each day of this trip then the last few visits but this has been a good thing as it has given me time to really enjoy the work.

It is hard to explain just how special this place is but it has really drawn me in and, it is much more to me then just a place to photograph.

As with every trip I would like to thank the museum staff for their support and, Garreth for his company in such a dark space.

Also very important to me is the special support from good friends and family with there comments and best wishes. And last but by no means least my wife for her support, faith and belief in me at all times.

So to end I leave with three main things. Some amazing images, a fantastic meeting with the head of the museum staff that gave me there full backing to create a series of international exhibitions of my work to promote the tunnels and a burning desire to help fund a way to get into Christchurch.

Sorry due to the weak WIFI respection tonight I cannot show any images.

My next visit is planned for February when I hope to document the British Tunnel system and Thompson’s Cave.

Above ground today was warm.

B

 

 

 

Black

Hi Went back into Nelson and Blenheim today, all this time down there has made me feel very comfortable in the spaces. If you knew me you would know that the darkness is quite challenging to me but if you are passionate about something then sometimes you must face your fears to achieve your goals.

Today looked at documenting some of the Canadian text and objects I didn’t have. The rest of the time I looked at documenting the texture of the place by cropping into just certain walls with interesting forms and text.

The more time I am here, the more my desire to help find a way to get to Christchurch. I sure Allain knows where it is but like all things it will take quite a lot of money to get to it. I think that this is another funding project! With all the issues around Christchurch in New Zealand at the moment wouldn’t it be a positive thing to do.

Just something to think about.

My two images today show two different sides of the soldiers I think they speak for themselves.

Above ground today was dry.

B.

      

Darkness

Hi Back in Auckland again, however, we found a new area with a long tunnel and spaces to the side of it. In this tunnel we also found two new NZ Tunneller’s names in the walls. There was not a lot of fresh air in this area so we did not stay to long.

Once out of there I spent the rest of my time working in Auckland taking images of text still not documented by me. I also retook a few that I thought I could improve on.

It is great to have so much time to do things. I spent some of my time just sitting in one of the tunnels in complete darkness. It was wonderful.

The two images are of the new tunnel we found and a space to the side of it.

We are having tomorrow off so there will be no blog.

Above ground today was mainly dry.

B.

      

latrine

Hi Had a really good day today.

We went into Auckland again which I was looking forward to.

Spent the first hour shooting film on my Rex Flash. I then spent the rest of my time documenting the landscape with the borrowed wide-angle lens. This lens certainly makes a big difference to my landscape images.

I have attached two images; one is of the latrines and another of the space. The black roof on the space image is because it was the cooking area.

I think I like Auckland, as there is no trace of WW2 just WW1.

Today above ground was warm and windy.

B

       

Funding

Hi Did not do a lot of photography today as I had a meeting to discuss future of this project with head of staff at the museum. It was a very positive meeting and we both agreed that we should try and set up as many international exhibitions as possible to promote the tunnels and those that worked and lived in them. VERY EXCITING.

Now comes the issue of funding to sort out as I have calculated that to print and frame for one exhibition would be around £4000-00 to do it as I would want to!

I did take one digital image today and that is of us in our in the space we store our gear and sit and eat our lunch in. This image is attached.

I did also take a roll of film with my Rex Flash 6x6cm camera. This camera did not have a B setting so I pulled the lens apart and cut the shutter out of it and then put the lens back together. As it is dark when I am not shooting I just take the lens cap off to take a photo and then put the cap back. Will see results when I get back.

Today above ground it rained.

B

Rust

Hi Woke up to find camp shrouded in mist. However, another very hot day above ground. We have been told to expect a storm tomorrow but I can’t see it!

Had a really enjoyable day underground again today. We stayed in Nelson and Blenheim and I spent some of the day shooting film on my Holga. Not the easiest thing to do in complete darkness but we will have to wait for the results.

The Archaeology in these two sites is a mix of WW1 and WW2. The light system is WW2. The civilians and Germans used it as an air raid shelter when the British bombed Arras in May 1944. I know this as the WW2 graffiti is dated in this period.

I am also pretty sure that any brickwork you see in the images is also WW2.

The two images today are of the landscape and an object that has been used and left to rust.

B

        

Kiaora

  Hi

 

Another stinking hot day above ground so was good to be underground during the hottest part of the day.

 

Having so much time on this trip is really allowing me time to enjoy being in the tunnels. I have time to just walk about with my torch and explore the space.

 

I have started to produce some exciting images including ones that document the landscape as well as the objects.

 

The images attached are of a NZ sign, the landscape and me!

 

Thanks for the support so far.

 

B

        

Escape the Heat

Hi it was good to be down in the cool of the underground during the heat of the day.

We worked in Nelson & Blenheim again today as I went about documenting more of the text and images along with a few landscape views.

I am using a wide angle lens a friend lent to me to take landscape images and it is allowing me to get more in in close spaces.

As we are here for two weeks it is allowing us to take more time to look and explore in the tunnel systems which is great and I have already found things I did not see on our last visit.

The two images attached are of a drawing and the landscape.

Today above ground was really hot.

Thanks Stuart for your comments hope you are saving for 2017!

Also thanks to every body else for their comments so far.

B

       

 

Percival

Hi  

Did not go underground today but took a trip to the Somme area instead.

 

I went for a special reason, as not long ago I discovered I have a Great Uncle that was killed in the First World War.

 

I know this is not related directly to my tunnel project that this Blog was created for. However, he was family, a Kiwi that gave his life for his country so I would like to have him remembered. His name was Percival Alfred Brooker and he was killed in action on the 2nd of September 1918 near Bancourt.

 

Above ground today was very sunny.

 

B

B&N

Hi,  

Went back to Nelson and Blenheim today to have a good look around.

 

Found some new objects and text on the walls to document along with others I knew of and still needed to photograph.

 

It’s fantastic being back in these spaces in complete darkness.

 

Two photos attached one of a face the other the landscape.

 

Will not be going underground tomorrow.

 

Today above ground was sunny.

 

B

          

The Return

  First day back so decided just to explore a new area. Had to crawl through quite a small hole to get to it but well worth it as we found at least 3 new NZ Tunneller’s names. The Tunnel was also very long so will make for some great shots.

 

It was a great feeling to be here and, we are going back into Nelson and Blenhiem tomorrow.

 

As you can see by one of the images we are looking to take a variety of images this time. We will be shooting in film more this time so will be interesting to see what we can capture as most of them a very old medium format cameras!

 

The other photo is of our campsite.

 

Not much more to say so will sign off till tomorrow.

 

Above ground today was warm.

 

B

    

seven hours

  Hi,

 

Last day, we stayed underground for seven hours.

 

Mixed emotions at the end of this adventure but feel satisfied with the images we have collected in our 31 hours underground.

 

Not a lot more to say at the moment as very tired and it will take a few weeks to edit all the images.

 

I would like to thank Garreth for his support, friendship and humour over the past week.

 

Also a big thank you to all that have viewed and left comments on the blog.

 

The last two images are of the team and my fantastic camera bag.

 

Signing off till April when I will be back to document the NZ Tunneller’s Ancestors visit to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Arras.

 

B

All images copyright of BRETT KILLINGTON

 

 

B & N

Hi Well today was a surprise.

After yesterday’s presentation of a sample of my work so far and a detailed map of Auckland created by Garreth we were granted full access to Nelson and Blenheim on our own. Our cause was also helped by the feed back of the staff member who went with us yesterday to these sites as he advised that we were more than capable of finding our way around and out again.

We spent three hours today just exploring the the sites making plans for a shoot tomorrow as we are going to go back to them on our last underground day and spend seven hours in them.

I sat there underground today just realising how fantastic an opportunity we had been given.

Today above ground was dry.

Once again thanks for everyone’s support and comments.

The two images attached relate to the NZ Tunnellers. The shied was created by Sapper R.D. Hamilton the other speaks for its self.

B

.

All images copyright of BRETT KILLINGTON.

Blenheim

Hi It is really starting to sink in how big this place is. We spent time in Blenheim today, which we got to by walking through a bit of Nelson. Both these spaces are massive and during the war were capable of housing around 1700 men between them. The height of both are much greater than Auckland the space we have spent most of our time in this trip.

There is so much graffiti on the walls but quite a lot in Blenheim is from WW2. We will need a lot more time to document these spaces so that will have to be another trip.

Tomorrow I will finish off a few shoots in Auckland on the digital camera, then spend the rest of the day experimenting with my Hasselblad & Holga.

The two images I have attached are from Blenheim.

Above ground today was cold but dry.

As always I am greatful for everyones support and comments

B

All images copyright of BRETT KILLINGTON.