Etaples is a small town near the Normandy coast. During the First World War it was behind the lines and British troops were sent there for hospital treatment and recuperation. By the time Lavery got to France in 1919, many vast, though as yet informal, cemeteries were in existence, tended by the female staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in their brown working uniforms. Lavery was clearly moved by this view of the cemetery at Etaples. He has chosen the moment when a steam train rushes past in the distance, noisily intruding on the women standing among the graves, and a brutal reminder that life goes on regardless.