Radicofani and the Grand Tour Part 2

Before rail travel the Grand Tourist travelled to Rome along the ancient Roman Via Cassia. We photographed the old hostelry of Radicofani where bygone celebrities such as Mozart, de Sade, Charles Dickens, Stendhal and others broke their journey.

A Tale of Three Cities

Part 1
Freud and a Tale of Three Cities: Vienna, London and……. Orvieto. The Vienna home in Berggasse 19 is easy to spot (he lived and worked in a modest, of the dark flat on the mezzanine floor by to the Freud sign); London, 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead is by comparison quite understated, just the Blue Plaque; Orvieto has nothing at all.

Footsteps: to Ypres a hundred years on

I went to Zonnebeke, Belgium in early December 2014 to see the area in which my grandfather Lt. Pat Somerville was captured on Oct 21st 1914. Read his account here. This first battle of Ypres fought only two months after the outbreak of war was where in a sense the war was won, neither Ypres the…

In the Hands of the Enemy

Subaltern Pat Somerville’s account of his capture in Flanders in October 1914 and subsequent imprisonment in Germany. He was captured at Zonnebeke near Ypres. This village and its neighbour Passchendaele was later to be completely obliterated in the bloody battle of  The Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. Somerville managed to keep his camera with him and continued…

Guns of August

At 11 P.M. on August 4th 1914 Britain declared war after Germany attacked France through neutral Belgium. Now that all the great powers were involved, the lamps were going out, as Sir Edward Grey memorably said, all over Europe. The following photographs were taken by my grandfather Lieutenant ‘Pat’ Somerville from County Wicklow, Ireland. Lt….

Scutari, Albania 1914

Eve of the Great War February 1914, British subalterns on a troopship bound for Malta and then to Scutari to take part in the international boundary commission’s mission in newly independent Albania. So much for bringing peace and order, all the major European powers involved would be at war with each other 6 months later…


Sarajevo, 28 June 1914; the shot heard round the world fired by Gavrilo Princip killed Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and set off the events that led to world war and the end of an era. In the first half of 1914 my maternal grandfather Lieutenant Pat Somerville was in the fledgling nation of Albania as…