Archives quotidiennes : 24 avril 2010

Graffiti passés (2)

Powder House Graffiti

Most graffiti date between 1840 and the 1860s when British troops and officers, mostly from Ireland, rowed out to Ile de la Passe for recreation.

Graffiti include personal names, regiments, numbers and dates, sometimes accompanied by symbols such as the crossed flags of a signal core. Some were cut with stencils, which is why letters are sometimes reversed, and there is an odd mixture of upper and lower case letters in the same name.

There are also a small number of evocative graffiti from WWII, one inscribed on Christmas Day 1944. Unlike most of the recent graffiti, carved or sprayed with total disregard for earlier records and generally lacking any aesthetic quality, these 19th and early 20th century records of men, posted at what must have seemed the end of the universe, are evocative symbols of empire as well as being important historical records.

(Ile de la Passe, The key to the Indian Ocean. A Pocket Guide to the French and British Defences on a Coral Islet, Geoffrey and Françoise Summers, 2009.)
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