Posts Tagged ‘World War One’

Théodule Charles Cornu

November 11, 2018

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My grand-father went to war in 1916 when he was 18. Yes, my own grand-father.

His name was Théodule Charles Cornu. He was handsome, member of Lyon Bourgeoisie.

The day he had to go to war, his father brought him to the train station.

When they left the house, his father checked the mailbox.

There was a letter in it. His father took the letter, without showing it to his son. Then they walked together to the station. My great grand father put his son inside the train and said goodbye. Without saying anything about the letter. The envelope had a black bandstripe. It was the death certificate of his other son, the eldest.

Théodule was injured in 1917 and had to go back to war after a stay at the hospital.

My grandfather came back from war in 1919, traumatized, injured, decorated #croixdeguerre

He was over 45 when he met my grand-mother.

All his letters start with « I am well ». He never complains.


Mon grand-père est parti à la guerre en 1916 à l’âge de 18 ans. Oui mon propre grand-père.

Il s’appelait Théodule Cornu. C’était un jeune homme intelligent et beau, issu d’une famille bourgeoise lyonnaise.

Le jour de son départ, son père l’a accompagné à la gare.
En partant à la gare, son père a regardé la boite aux lettres et y a vu une lettre. Il l’a prise et mise dans sa poche sans la montrer à son fils.

Puis ils ont fait le trajet ensemble jusqu’à la gare, mon arrière grand père a installé mon grand-père dans le train et lui a dit au revoir. Sans rien dire de cette lettre.

Elle avait une bande noire. C’était l’avis de décès de son fils aîné.


Sur toutes ses lettres à ses parents il commence par « je vais bien ». Il ne se plaint jamais.

Revenu de la guerre en 1919, blessé, décoré #croixdeguerre, traumatisé.

A plus de 45 ans, il a rencontré ma grand-mere.

Alice Audouin

Bastion of the Air

September 4, 2018

The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit in our lifetime. — Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, 3 August 1914

An exhibition at The Collection, an arts cum museum complex, looking at Lincoln in World War One.

England was vulnerable, airships launched by the German Navy, dropping bombs on England, were untouchable, at too high an altitude to be reached by the existing British warplanes.

The next generation of planes could fly at higher altitude, and used incendiary bullets.

British aircraft were operated by the Army and the Navy. These were amalgamated to create the Royal Air Force.

Lincoln had three manufacturing plants, these were crucial to the war effort, and Lincoln became one of the centres of not only aircraft manufacture, but also of the engines and the bombs.

Lincoln was where at Fosters, the WWI tank was developed and built.

These engineering factories have long gone, in their place sheds on the inner-bypass selling worthless consumer junk, tacky chain coffee shops. Where once there was highly skilled well paid jobs, now temporary, part time, zero hours work.

Within the exhibition clothes, black and white film of the period, paintings (though no date or information on the artists), medals (including the Victoria Cross and German Iron Cross).

The first VC to be awarded was to a pilot William Leef Robinson for shooting down a Zeppelin airship.

Surprising no mention of the airship disaster at Washingborough. An airship was spotted, passengers rushed to one side of the Washingborough Ferry crossing the River Witham causing it to collapse.

The night before, a Zeppelin bombed Washingborough, mistaking for Lincoln. The Zeppelin was following a train, and may have thought it was Lincoln when the train stopped.

St John’s Church in Washingborough has unique Zeppelin Memorial Window put in by the Rector William Burland.

Note: No pictures thanks to copyright mafia.

If visiting the exhibition, visit the Tourist Information Centre in Castle Hill at the top of Steep Hill and pick up a 20% off voucher.

Also worth a visit, International Bomber Command Centre and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.

Coffee at Stokes at The Collection is not recommended. There are better coffee shops nearby, Base Camp on Steep Hill, Madame Waffle in the High Street and Coffee Aroma in Guildhall (through The Stonebow), all within a few minutes walk.

Kings of the Sky

May 6, 2018

Celebrating 100 years of military flying.

May Day Bank Holiday Weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a three day event at Lincoln Castle to mark 100 years of the RAF.

An Avro Lancaster aircrew, Special Operations Executive, music from WWII, a replica biplane, a replica Spitfire, and much more.

Hot and sunny clear blues skies.

Towards the end of Sunday, a flypast by a Dakota, which then circled around. Excellent vantage point for those on the castle walls.

Three days of clear blue sky, each day hotter than the preceding day.

Bank Holiday Monday, 28.7 C outside of London.

Around the City of Lincoln, 100 Voices celebrating 100 Years of the Royal Airforce.

The lamps are going out all over Europe

August 4, 2014
WWI memorial service in Brighton - with commemorative bus conceived and designed by  Amanda Scales

WWI memorial service in Brighton – with commemorative bus conceived designed by Amanda Scales

The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time. — Sir Edward Grey

These words were said by British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey at the declaration of war with Germany, the start of World War One.

The declaration was made by the British when Germany entered Belgium, violating the neutrality of Belgium to attack France.

The declaretion was made at 11pm, exactly one hundred years ago.

The events that led to this moment, was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo one month earlier. One fatal shot that led to the start of WWI.

During July, Europe sleep-walked into war. A series of alliances, one event leading to another.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire had to deal with Serbia once and for all. Austria had a pact with Germany. Russia was committed to defence of Serbia. France had a pact with Russia. It was thought war with Russia was inevitable, therefore it was thought better now, than before Russia got too powerful, it was also thought Russia would not go to the aid of Serbia. Austria would not do anything without German support. Germany gave Austria a blank cheque.

Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium on 3 August 1914 and when the country ignored Britain’s ultimatum to withdraw by the end of the following day, the Government declared war.

More than 9 million soldiers were killed in the ensuring conflict, including around 800,000 British soldiers and more than 120,000 civilians who died as a result of military action, malnutrition and disease.

Grey’s own memoirs, published in 1925, mention the remark as taking place on 3 August 1914:

A friend came to see me on one of the evenings of the last week — he thinks it was on Monday, August 3rd. We were standing at a window of my room in the Foreign Office. It was getting dusk, and the lamps were being lit in the space below on which we were looking. My friend recalls that I remarked on this with the words: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.

In 1927 John Alfred Spender, editor of the Westminster Gazette until 1922, confessed that he had been the friend Grey had spoken to:

I had two short talks with Grey during the “twelve days.” I ran into him on the stairs of the Foreign Office on Saturday, August 1st […] I saw him again late in the evening at his room at the Foreign Office on Monday, August 3rd, and it was to me he used the words which he has repeated in his book, “The lamps are going out all over Europe, and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” We were standing together at the window looking out into the sunset across St. James’s Park, and the appearance of the first lights along the Mall suggested the thought.

This evening across England, the lights were turned out at ten o’clock for an hour as a mark of respect to mark the start of World War One.

It was though war would be over by Christmas.

WWI did not settle matters, it led to Word War Two.

Matters are still not settled. Lines on the map following collapse of Empires, are the root cause of problems we still face in Europe and the Middle East.

Service in Parish Church in Godalming, had as its cover, reproduction of newspaper from the period (Wednesday 5 August 1914).

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