Dedicated to Sgt Arthur Douglas Smith 1596824
Killed on 14 September 1944 aged 24.
His aircraft came down in The Minch, three miles off Rudhna Hunish at 01.10 hours on the 14th. No 66ASR sent high speed launch 2589 from Stornoway to search. The launch arrived at the site at 09.20, found wreckage at 10.00 and at 11.00 found Smith, whose remains were recovered from the sea with a partly inflated lifejacket. The launch returned to Stornoway and landed Smith at 13.20, from whence the remains were transported home by air for burial.
Over the past 72 years there have been countless books written and films made that recount this period in our history from 1939 – 1945, when the World was at War. Each one has their own storyline offering us the opportunity to engage in their content and leaving us with a sense of connectedness. As viewers we find we can immerse ourselves as armchair heroes in the bloodiest of conflicts attempting to feel and understand the individual contributions that were made alongside the enormity of the land, air and sea operations that were taking place.
Disappearing Places is a body of Photographic work that visits many of the sites, which were often hastily constructed to service an essential need at the time. The work explores and documents the remains of these UK installations, from top secret operations such as the Chemical Weapons Factory and storage area in the Alyn Valley close to Rhydymwyn in Flintshire, to the lesser-known or forgotten airfields, whose runways have long since been torn up and used as aggregates for building and repairing the ever expanding motorway networks that criss-cross this green and pleasant land. A coast line that was once littered with concrete bunkers and pillboxes are now rapidly being taken by coastal erosion and what remains have become canvases for local graffiti artists, leaving their own signature on these iconic concrete structures. Small communities from an ageing population continue to remember and honour the past as they welcome visitors to quiet villages that once bustled with activity as they became the central hub for operations to defend the Artic Convoys that had continued to suffer the most devastating loss of life.
The work aims to help better appreciate and understand the extent of the sacrifices that were made by a country and its people; exploring the diversity of roles that both men and women played in ensuring the successful outcome of this war.
Some of the places and sites featured in this body of work may be familiar, others unknown, kept secret for many years only recently to be discovered or made accessible, with many more now lost, recycled or completely disappeared and replaced by alternative uses.
Disappearing Places has been produced in support of the Royal British Legions LIVE ON campaign and all profits from the sale of this work will be donated to them.
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