Filming at Tyne Cot


Pressed for time there was, we thought, no time to take in the scale of Tyne Cot: nearly 12,000 graves and 35,000 men commemorated by name on the walls of the cemetery. The focus for this part of the shoot was to film as many shots as we could to establish the cemetery and the school kids walking around. But we really didn’t have long.

As we headed to the top of the cemetery, I was first to reach the long white wall of names. I looked back and our cameraman Richard was a couple of minutes behind me (a clipboard and microphone are much lighter than a camera and tripod). I took the opportunity those couple of minutes graced me to look at the section of wall in front of me. No surnames on this one started with an “S” (my family name is Scott). There were “H”s though and there jumped out an “A.Hickman”. I couldn’t believe it and felt excited, but admittedly a little spooked. Our cameraman’s surname is Hickman, and it’s not a common name.

Our client had told us that a woman’s voice calls out every single name of the soldiers buried or commemorated at Tyne Cot, with a pause between every name. As we approached the visitor centre, the voice from the speaker said:
“… A. Hickman. Aged 36…”
Incredible. The only name we picked out and the only name we hear as we rush past the speaker. A one in 47,000 chance.

On the same wall as one of the kids’ relatives I did see a T.Scott and, as we walked away, I wondered whether he and A.Hickman were friends.

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