It must have been harrowing and arduous work to try to find, disinter and identify the bodies of those whose families chose to have their bodies taken home. The task was undertaken by 6,000 African American soldiers in labour battalions. Conditions for those involved must have been appaling, for we know from the words and paintings of Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton of the terrible state of the Western Front once the fighting had ended. Mary lived for three years in that desolate landscape, in a tin hut. Nearby were membes of the Chinese Labour Corps who undertook the task of clearing the area following hostilities.
|A painting by Mary Riter Hamilton|
“Bodies of War: World War I and the Politics of Commemoration in America, 1919-1933” by Lisa M. Budreau Published by: NYU Press, New York, 2009
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