Thanks to Flickr user Tagada Victoria, a Swiss resident, we may be a step closer to knowing where this image was taken. It has certainly narrowed down – and possibly refocussed – the search as this information casts doubt on my assumption that this is was taken in World War 1. On reflection this was based on little evidence other than war-related images in the same batch – lesson learnt there I think about jumping to conclusions!
She has posted a link searching the .ch version of Google Images for the term ‘clocher Comtois‘. Clocher translates as steeple, whilst Comtois is the name of a region on the French-Swiss border. I’ve had a good look through several hundred images, but haven’t yet spotted a match.
This is also a great example of where not just the overall style of architecture but also specific tiny details can help with a positive identification. This particular steeple is notable for the combination of what I assume is a clock above the window/vent in the tower, but also another circular unknown feature (surely not another clock?) within the roof of the steeple itself. Looking at the vast numbers of images in the search results, I’ve certainly not seen others like it. Another clearly apparent characteristic that distinguishes them from one another is the style of the very top part (I’m sure it must have name!). In some it’s a spike, in others a cross or ball (or both), and in others such as this one a more open structure, what I learnt some while back (again from a Flickr user) is called a cuppola (see this image of Felsted, Essex).
So, I can’t help but feel that an identification of this location is in sight.