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Remembered Today:

Tour de France Certificate


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The Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage holds this curious parchment certificate, the translation of which is as follows:

From the President of France to the Mayor of Wantage

The President of the French Republic is very touched with the congratulations received on the occasion of the 'Tour de France' and gives heartfelt thanks on behalf of the French people for the close links with the British people in the fight for freedom. Paris 14th July 1918

I presume this is not the cycling Tour de France as that would have been suspended for the duration of the war. Any ideas as to what this was? and did any other towns in the UK receive such certificates. Any information would be gratefully received.

Many thanks

Trevor

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You are correct the TDF was not conducted in 1918. The last was in 1914 with the restart being in 1919. In 1919 there was only 10 to finish, it was also one of the longest races ever held for theTDF. I digress.

Not sure what your certificate was for, a lovely item. I'm sure someone will know what it is for.

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I'm at a loss to what it may be for. It's signed on Bastille Day 1918 and that was also around the end of the German offensives of 1918. Did the Tour traditionally start on Bastille Day ?

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Is it on display. I don't recall seeing it when I was in the museum a year or two ago.

I shall be in Wantage in May for a couple of days. Is it possible to see it?

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The certificate says, 'JOUR de France' not 'TOUR de France' so it must commemorate Wantage's help in some kind of "French Day" - maybe fundraising?

Tom

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Good spot Tom,

Jour de France may link to it been signed on Bastille Day.

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Tom Morgan has it absolutely right. According to David Monger in Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain: The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale (2012 Liverpool University Press), "France's Day" was an event organised by the National War Aims Committee on 12 July 1918 "to let our gallant allies see that our people are not unmindful of the debt we owe to the French people". The committee suggested that mayors should "send telegrams to the French president" amongst other things and, presumably, the certificate is the President's acknowledgment. Elsewhere on the internet, it seems that France's Day was celebrated widely amongst the Allied nations and significant funds were raised for wounded French soldiers.

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Many thanks for the information so far. The certificate is not on display . However, if anyone wishes to see it pm me and I will see if it can be arranged.

Kind regards

Trevor

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