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Back To ‘The Front’ A Bennett Muse.

Paternal Grandfather Alexander was dead and buried by14 May 1913 , aged but 57, So didn’t go to war . Our other Grandfather a 55 year old Mining Engineer, and sometime Town Counsellor at Auchel, was too Maire of a small Commune wherein he and his family lived during the Great War. He was French, as was his wife and their three daughters, one of whom became my mother too, she having remarried following the death of her first husband, from vestiges of W.W.1

That Commune, ‘Canlers’ is just along the road from Azincourt of earlier battle fame. However the locals reckoned that battle happened even nearer at Ruissenville, which they say is a diminution of ‘Rue Sang Ville.’ for after Agincourt as the English like to call it , its only street was said to be flowing with blood.

At their home our French Grand parents were privileged to accommodate detachments of first, the Australian Cavalry and then The British, whose Officers’ Messed in their Farmhouse. All were treated as family, and friendships persisted as late as the 1940’s .

One always heard tell of how things were for the family, and for their neighbours not far behind the Front Line between 1914-1918. The girls lived in perpetual fear of an attack by The ‘Ulhan’ who had the reputation of having their way with any females encountered. Fortunately they never showed up. So it was that amid great tragedy our Grandparents established something of a ‘home from home’ for their guests, along with the occasional provision of fine cuisine.

Last month our grand daughter was doing a WW1 presentation at her Primary School, and her mother found a Diary on the internet written by an Australian called White. It makes interesting reading for us, but might surely interest others too for there is mention therein of how things were in not only France, but also the Salisbury Area. What caught our daughter’s eye is White’s commendation of our Granny Deloziere’s hospitality. It is reassuring to read such contemporaneous confirmation of a later letter written to our mother dated 22June 1942, by another Australian guest. He one Thomas W. W who by then describes himself as a Surgeon Dentist. BR> ‘I will never forget the dinner your mother gave us. It will live in my memory as long as I have one. We had some very hard fighting after we left Canlers, and finished up at Mons. While I was away at the war, my fiancée got married, and I think I am a real bachelor ….I’m a Lieutenant Col. now but I have not been called up. Tom W’.

My mother was more fortunate than Tom, because her fiancé, a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers returned to Canlers, and married her on the day before her nineteenth birthday 13th. May. 1919. Mother’s life had started in France, and she progressed through London, Berkshire and Hampshire, before finding her rest in Tisbury at the end of January 1994. Her last home providing a distant aspect of the Fovant Badges.

Apart from Diarist White, names that come to mind are her husband George and his brother Charles Henfrey, and Australians Claude Apps who died in Melbourne shortly before WW11, a Doctor McFee, Norman Lucan; Roy McLeish, Bert Burine, Edgar Jones ,Joe …..Most of whom were at Claude Apps’ funeral , but understandable all must now be dead. RIP.
12th May 2014.

Here is a link to the Diary.
White War Diaries.7thOctober 1916 to 16 June 1919. Mitchell Library. State Library of New South Wales. MLMSS 965.Box 2

http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/20 12/D13715/a3808.htm which probably wont work on this site

contact : John B.Pope
Email : pionono@tiscali.com