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J K Rowling


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It would make a great "who do you think you are.." story

Grant

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

Watched the programme last night and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was awful however to see the final resting place of this hero.

David

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Quite fascinating and an amazing coincidence - that her ancestor was NOT the one that won the Legion d'Honneur, but was one with the same name, almost the same age and just as brave - winning the Croix de Guerre.

Must agree, what a shame that his body was ultimately 'dumped' into a mass grave and couldn't receive the respect he deserved.

:poppy: Remembering him today

Graham

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Did I get the wrong end of the stick, from the programme?

I thought that Jo Rowling's family folklore had it that Louis Volante gained the Legion d'Honneur, but when Jo checked, she found that his birthdate was wrong and it was another Louis Volante. She then went on to check the archives and found that her forebear received the Crois de Guerre for his actions in 1914, when, with officers dead or wounded, as a corporal, he commended his platoon in the face of the German onslaught. After surviving the war, he became the Chef de Sommelier at the Savoy, returning to France and dying in 1948.

Did i get it wrong? After all, how could someone with 40% disability rise to the top of his profession at the Savoy?

I agree that the final resting place is sad, but then, after selling 400 million books, couldn't JK afford DNA testing of the remains in the communal grave, and so be able to rebury her hero grandfather?

Bruce

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I cannot put my finger on it, but for some reason this particular episode irritated me. Whether it was Rowling herself or not I am not sure. But I switched off after 30 minutes.

Roger

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I'm afraid it all underpinned the all too-common tale in genealogy and military history research:

Beware the power of the cherished family myth

aka 'It must be true because...'

Sadly the great majority of us don't have the resources of a multimillionaire and a television network to do

to join up the dots.

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I cannot put my finger on it, but for some reason this particular episode irritated me. Whether it was Rowling herself or not I am not sure. But I switched off after 30 minutes.

Roger

Yes. A shame really when you consider the worthwhile subject i.e. her grandfather.

Unfortunately the numerous over the top "Wow", "Oh my God", head-jerking reaction to things were rather offputting.

I did stick with it and feel that the report on his action at Courcelles was the major component of the story.

Kevin

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Unfortunately the numerous over the top "Wow", "Oh my God", head-jerking reaction to things were rather offputting.

Kevin

Kevin, you are right - I think that was it.

Roger

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couldn't JK afford DNA testing of the remains in the communal grave, and so be able to rebury her hero grandfather?

I know you, Bruce, and can only assume you havnt thought this one through. Otherwise, I'm surprised and horrified that someone would suggest digging up a communal grave and testing all the bones "on spec" of sorting through them to find an ancestor's.

John

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Wow, that is an amazing story!

Thanks for sharing

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What annoyed me about the programme, was the assumption that Louis had left Lizzie before WWI just because they lived in two different places (they had done so from the off due to his job, so I understood from his letters re: time off). In the 1911 census her status was changed from wife (which she classed herself as) and someone (presumably the enumerator) changed it to head, as that is what she was (her husband living elsewhere - at the Savoy???). Louis clearly carried on writing to the throughout the war, even addressing his letters to Lizzy. I really feel there was no evidence, until he returned to France on retirement, that he 'left' her.

Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed the programme (OK, the tears were a bit much, but when you find out things about your family - and such dramatic things at that, it does get to you a bit).

I found the most interesting part to be the explanation of the French fighting the Germans.

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I enjoyed it. I was impressed by the presentation to her of a replacement Croix de Guerre.

It looked like a boxed original - or do the French Government (unlike the British) issue replacement WWI medals?

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On the military side of matters, his unit was a "territorial" one and it was explained they would have guarded bridges, etc. So, in the French army, does that mean territorials were similar to British garrison battalions?

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I think it's a continental thing. I visited Emmerich to look for my Great-grandparents grave (died in 1940s) to be told that after 50 years, the graves are re-used. Don't know if they move any remains or just reuse the spot. Whether that happens just to graves which are not 'owned' or visited, I don't know.

I did some looking up on my family tree, and Gt-Gt-Grandfather was an officer in the Prussian army around the time JK's family were in Alsace - so it's all my fault...

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Wasn't it nice to see someone well educated from "our side" of the channel, being able to converse with our French friends in THEIR native language...

regards

Tom

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I agree Tom, as a poor linguist myself how nice it would be to be able to converse correctly.

Re. the programme, did I hear correctly when the French museum officer who presented the replacement C de G state that the legion de'honneur was for the "officer class" ?

Colin,

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I agree Tom, as a poor linguist myself how nice it would be to be able to converse correctly.

Re. the programme, did I hear correctly when the French museum officer who presented the replacement C de G state that the legion de'honneur was for the "officer class" ?

Colin,

Yes, I thought he said that and it certainly is not so.

When it came to the Alsace my wife and I both said, "welcome to Europe". I once met a bloke who had changed nationality five times without moving house (in the Alsace).

That sort of story is so common it is unbelievable.

Reusing graves is only done when the family or descendants or whoever, don't pay the ground rent for the tomb. Even then, it takes time. The names have to be posted, and I think they then have to wait a year for someone to have the chance to turn up. After that, I'm afraid, the bones are put into a comon grave. But this is not unusual and never has been. It was quite normal in Britain for bones, after a certain time to be disinterred and put in the charnel house.

All in all, I thought it was pretty well done, and interesting. I only doubt that anyone who turned up saying that they had lost their grandfather's medal would be given a new one.

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See seemed a bit desperate not to be of "German" descent, attempting to discount the 10 years after the opting/non-opting choice....and seemed to forget the Schuch/Berghold names probably meant the family was of German descent anyway...

On the military side it was interesting to catch a glimpse of the French "service records" - the difference in detail between them and the British equivalent appeared considerable.

Steve.

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QUOTE: " territorials were similar to British garrison battalions? "

I think the programme did explain that their territorials were of riper years and were for local defence. More LDV/Home Guard than our own TF/TA.

I have also read this in WW1 histories but cannot quote a reference.

D

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Did i get it wrong? After all, how could someone with 40% disability rise to the top of his profession at the Savoy?

Might be wrong but I thought he'd done that well before the war?

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I think the 40% disability was to the chap wrongly identified as her relative, who was at Verdun and was awarded the Legion d'Honneur.

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