Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery

There was no snow in sight but it was a bitterly cold January day in 2006 when we went in search of the final resting place of my grandmother's first husband, John Bertram Chatfield, at Villers-Bretonneux. The chilling winds blowing across the French plains gave us an indication of the elements our Diggers faced on the battlefields of the Somme. My grandmother, Ethel Jane Pusell, was widowed at the age of 18 when her husband paid the ultimate price and was killed in action in May 1917. A digital copy of John's service record can be found at the National Archives of Australia.

We found no grave for John Chatfield, who had enlisted as John Williams, as his remains were never found. His name was one of a long list inscribed on a memorial panel in the cemetery.

Memorial Panels

Our winter visit to Villers-Bretonneux was a sobering experience that encouraged us to reflect on the courage of our soldiers and the futility of armed conflict.

This post has been prepared for the Carnival of Genealogy - 64th Edition'Walking In A Winter Wonderland".


Unknown said...

It's so sad to think of everyone that has paid the price for peace throughout history including the present. You would think that humanity would learn. Great blog post and pictures.

GeniAus said...

This Waymark http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM62T2 has a history of theVillers-Bretonneux Memorial


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