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Lest we forget....


PaulT

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Went to a meeting last night at which there was a speaker who spoke about the names on the local (UK) war memorial from WWI.

Some years back he decided that he would research the background of the people named and where they had died.

He started his speech by saying he automatically presumed that they would all be local men who served with British regiments. This turned out not to be the case. Two of them fought with Canadian units and one with an Australian unit. The reason being that they had emigrated from families still in the area and hence their names on the memorial.

Another was an officer who served with a West Indian regiment - the powers that were had a low opinion of the fighting abilities of the West Indians and were normally not actually involved in the fighting and they had white officers and in this case one from the local area. He died not in battle but by one of his troops going in to his tent one night and shooting him. They now both lie side by side in a War Grave cemetery.

Two other names - one from a very well to do family who had a holiday home locally but had then decided to move there permanently. Their coachman also moved to the locality so that he could continue his employment. And so it was that the son of the well to do family and the son of the coachman were killed. Based on where they lived the well to do son should have had his name on the local memorial and the coachmans son on the next town. The well to do father argued that their names should be together and hence due to his influence both appear on the same memorial.

There was also the three brothers who went off to fight and all the others.

What I thought was going to be a little boring turned out to be fascinating which was the opinion of all those present. The speaker has produced a book so there is now a record so they are now people instead of just names.
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It does indeed sound fascinating Paul.

It would interest me greatly to do some similar research here in our small Commune (20 lost in WW1 from a village of just 350 souls), but I'm sure that any attempt would be greeted with at best suspicion and at worst, hostility.
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[quote user="Gardian"]It does indeed sound fascinating Paul. It would interest me greatly to do some similar research here in our small Commune (20 lost in WW1 from a village of just 350 souls), but I'm sure that any attempt would be greeted with at best suspicion and at worst, hostility.[/quote]

Just an interesting coincidental postscript to this, which could well prove my suggestion.

I was looking at the Midi Libre website yesterday looking for something related to our Commune and the search function threw up a story about a gentleman (lets call him Jacques for clarity) who had died recently in a village not too far away. It appears that in 1944, a Canadian airman was either shot down or crash-landed close by and he was taken in by the local Maquis. The head of the area's Maquis was one of the 2 French who lost their lives in WW11 - his name rang a bell for me when his name was read out on 11th November becuase the family live very close to us.

As head of the Maquis, he got the airman brought here by Jacques and the three of them + one other set off for the local town to hand the airman over to the Americans who were getting close. Unfortunately, they forgot to paint the Cross of Lorraine on the bonnet of the car in order to identify themselves to allied aircraft and the car was strafed en route not far from here. Three of the four were killed, the only survivor being Jacques.

So ............ you could imagine a bit of understandable hostility if you started to ask innocent research questions without knowing any of the background.

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