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Guest Johnsonm

Frenchman in Khaki

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Guest Johnsonm

Am about to re read 'A Frenchman in Khaki ' by Paul Maze , described by Churchill in the preface as a liason officer without a commission who became a friend to Generals . He describes events from August 1914 until his last wounding in 1918 and I enjoyed his eye for detail and writing very much the first time round . By the way can anyone help identify the village in the photo after page 32 .

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armourersergeant

If i remeber correctly this man was taken on by Hubert Gough in 1914, its a while since i read 'Goughie' by Farrar-Hockley where i heard of Maze, if this is the case i would be interested in any info you could give regarding the mans impression of General Gough.

ta

Arm.

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Malcolm

He also had six articles in ' I Was There ' . I'll look them out.

Aye

Malcolm

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Guest Johnsonm

Arm ,

You're correct . On September 13th General Huguet sent him to Hubert Goughs Headquarters' somewhere on the Aisne ' . He meets Gough near Braisne and thinks him ' as a typical cavalry officer . gay , keen and alert . He liked him at once . He kept in touh with every one around him and always looked very cheerful .In early October as the cavalry moved north sometimes he rode with Gough ' who was keen to talk French and did extremely well . His conversation was full of interest , he asked questions of everything he saw He understoofd and loved the French . ' He mention Gough many times during the rest of the war .

Maurice

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armourersergeant

Maurice,

thanks fro that its nice sometimes just to get the real quotes rather than what might have been well used statements regarding the relationship between the two men. After all Farrar-Hockley was not likely to use bad references about Gough.

Arm.

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wig

I was in London over the christmas period and stumbled upon the wonderful shop in Piccadilly Arcade know as the Armory of St. James.

Therein I purchased a fine watercolour of the Horse Guards, by Paul Maze (image below), the author of "A Frenchman in Karkhi", who it turns out was

also an artist of considerable talent, known as one to the last of the impresssionists and who shared his joy of painting with Winston Churchill whom he met during WW1

mazeimage.jpg

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daggers

There are two medal index cards listed by the National Archives: [1] Paul Maze, French Army, attached British Army, Interpreter; [2] Paul Lucien Maze, French Mission in HQ 5th Army. Are these for the same man? A google site suggest he had a DCM.

Daggers

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Chris_Baker

I wonder if Maurice ever found out what the village was? It shows French troops "retiring to the Marne, August 1914"

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wig

This is him, and as you can see he had the Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal and bar, The Croix de Guerre and The Legion of Honour.

Paul Maze ( 1887 - 1979 )

One of the great artists of his generation, he was often called the last of the impressionists. He was born into an artistic circle in Le Havre in 1887 where family friends included Renior, Monet, Dufy and Pissaro, from whom the young Maze learned the rudiments of painting. His father, a tea merchant, sent him to school in Southampton and there he started his love affair with things English. It was when he saw the Scots Greys at Le Havre in 1914 that he signed up straight away as an interpreter but his pencil and paper was never far from his bayonet. This lead to him meeting with the young Winston Churchill, and the establishment of a life long friendship during which he was to be Winston's artistic mentor. Winston wrote of him from Chartwell shortly, before the second war, "He is an artist of distinction whose keen eye and nimble pencil record impression with the revealing fidelity". As a British private said, "Your pictures are done in shorthand". It was this immediacy which gave him the facility to record the events of his life, wherever and whatever they were. Whilst in Paris he became firm friends with both Segonzac and Vuillard. It was a meeting with Vuillard in 1932 which was pivotal in his development as a painter. He suggested the use of pastels would record the freshness so evident in his work. He took Maze to his own pastel merchant, Dr Roche, who had found a new formula for chalks and had achieved a colour selection of 1,600 shades. Maze later described this visit as being 'taken by God to meet God'.

He immortalised the English calendar; Goodwood, the Trooping of the Colour, Rowing at Henley and the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes where he was a familiar figure on the Squadron steps, shrouded in tweed coats and a large hat, whatever the weather.

But Paul Maze was more than a painter, he could turn his hand to anything. He had a remarkable career as a business man, he was a brave soldier, highly decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal and bar, The Croix de Guerre and The Legion of Honour. After the war he sailed around the Horn on a Square Rigger.

He was a supreme lover of life, indeed he often said that "Painting was about being in love". His wife Jessie was his muse, a gentle highland beauty with long red hair who inspired the "Jessie Pictures", believed to be some of his finest work.

Paul Maze believed that "Painters are born, not made" and that "The greatest teacher is nature". He died aged ninety two with a pastel in his hands looking out onto the Sussex downs where he had lived with Jessie, recording the beauty he saw about him; his beloved Cavalier spaniels, tea in the garden, Jessie dressing by a sunlight window or the passing of the seasons with a swirling mixture of sky trees and water, the back cloth ever present in his remarkable diary of life.

Paul Maze was born in Le Havre, Normandy. He later settled in Sussex and his affection for both landscapes was expressed in his work throughout his life. He worked in water-colour, oil and pastel. With the freshness and exuberance of a true Impressionist, Maze portrayed scenes and tradition of England, France and America. His techniques as a pastellist has brought him world renown and 1983 saw major exhibitions of his work in New York and London.

Of his painter friends, Vuillard was the one who most profoundly influenced Maze. They met in 1932 and, having taken a special interest in his work, Vuillard convinced him that it was through the use of pastel that Maze could offer a unique contribution to the art world.

In 1950 he married Jessie and they bought a house in Midhurst. Jessie reigned with calm and serenity over this secluded world, which would not have been

complete without the three King Charles's spaniels and the two cats. There are many pictures by him of Jessie and the Spaniels.

Despite its enormous variety his work shows a very marked uniformity: his early oils as well as the later pastels show a strong continuity of artistic

inspiration, behind which one can detect his enthusiasm and joie de vivre. He was always content with what lay within his reach, and through natural good taste, lyrical feelings and even naiveté, his works bear a rare human quality.

It is for historians and collectors to judge the extent of Paul Maze's greatness. He contributed in his own singular way to the advancement of art by offering a profound understanding of simple beauty through the very special quality of his pastels - their unusual lightness and translucence being so perfectly suited to his moods and subjects. To those who knew him well - and his friends included Derain and Sir Winston Churchill, whom he helped teach to paint - Paul Maze and his work were unforgettable.

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truthergw

My N&M reprint has Paul Maze, D.C.M., M.M. and Bar, C. de G. Churchill describes him as Sergeant Maze, a sous-officier. Wullie Robertson described him as " an institution". Incidentally, he was saved from execution by the British by the intervention of an officer in The Royal Scots Greys.

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daggers

Thanks for the illuminating pieces. I believe PM may have had a son, Etienne, who lived in Liverpool in late 1940s. Any more on him [if not too far off topic]?

D

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nigelcave
Thanks for the illuminating pieces. I believe PM may have had a son, Etienne, who lived in Liverpool in late 1940s. Any more on him [if not too far off topic]?

D

Not so much on him as such, but I know that he was a friend of Haig (in the sense that his name appears in the visitors' book frequently) and of his son and I have seen several of his paintings at Bemersyde.

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George Armstrong Custer

Just stumbled across this thread. Further to what Nigel has said regarding Paul Maze's visits to Bemersyde, and the examples of his work to be seen there, he was indeed well known to both Field Marshal Haig and his son Dawyck. Sir Douglas Haig had always taken a great interest in artists and their work, and as examples of his own sketches at Bemersyde reveal, had some talent in that direction himself. He would not have been disappointed that his only son grew up to become a professional artist rather than a professional soldier. Though they only got to know each other the year after the Field Marshal's death, when Dawyck was just eleven, he and Maze became particularly friendly as the latter embarked upon his own career as a painter. Dawyck gives the following account of Maze in 1945/6 in his memoir, My Father's Son (2000). In it, Dawyck makes particular mention of Maze's accomplishments in painting military ceremonial, as exemplified by the fine watercolour posted by Wig earlier in this thread. At the time he speaks of, Dawyck was recovering in West Sussex from his ordeal as a POW at Colditz, whilst trying to establish himself as an artist through the School of Arts and Crafts at Camberwell:

Happily in nearby South Harting lived my old friend Paul Maze who, during vacations from Camberwell, would provide, with his wife Jessie, warm companionship. I had known Paul since 1929. He had moved to this country after the First World War in which he had fought with gallantry as Liaison Officer between Army Headquarters and the front line. His unique experiences in the turmoils of trench warfare are described in his book A Frenchman in Khaki. It so happened that on a visit to the 5th Army Headquarters in early 1918 my father had been able to pin a military medal on his gallant chest. Paul was a very romantic Frenchman in the best sense. He was no doubt lucky to survive the war. In earlier years he had met Corot and was a friend of French painters like Segonzac, Monet and Bonnard. Most particularly, he admired Vuillard whose work portrayed the intimacy of domestic life which was in strong contrast to the life of a wartime man of action. Settled on the borders of Sussex and Hampshire, Paul was in tune with nature and the seasons. In the course of time he abandoned working in oils, preferring to catch nature on the wing with very personal pastel interpretations of the domestic life of Jessie and of flowers. Living entirely in the country and working in the Monet tradition did not entirely satisfy him. He needed to portray life. So, very often he took off to paint at Goodwood and Newmarket, at Cowes or Henley. Above all his reputation is based on his portrayals of military ceremonial which he painted standing on the fringe of the Horse Guards near the throng of men and horses but sufficiently detached to be able to listen to the inner rythms of his vision.

Paul had great humanity, a quality which is shared by Frenchmen working in their tradition of art. My close relationship with Paul began when I was starting to paint professionally and he was able to help me in all sorts of ways as a landscape painter and as a person. His work was full of life and reflected his enjoyment of the senses. This attitude was a change from all the inhibitions and depravations which I had suffered as a POW and was a counterbalance to the austere teaching of the Euston Road painters who were my real mentors at this time. They were younger and more vigorous. They were single-minded in their attempts to find a way forward for young British artists. They were scrupulous in their methods of building masses and then building the image by careful measurement. Their methods were more plodding than Paul's in order to create forms of nature in terms of classical space. Although Bill [Coldstream] and Paul were not in disagreement, Paul had no wish to go beyond the immediacies of the natural scene which he interpreted in terms of colour modulations and classical rhythms. He was making indications in the wake of Cezanne's watercolours rather than using is pastels in the tradition of Degas to convey a stronger and more complete image, as the Euston Road painters were aiming to do.

And a picture of Dawyck Haig (right) with Paul Maze taken in 1946:

PaulMaze.jpg

Reproduced with kind permission of the late Earl Haig

George

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GrenPen

The start of Paul Maze's military career makes for some interesting reading.

 

Quote

At the outbreak of World War I, Maze returned to France and attempted to join the French army but was deemed unfit. Determined to serve, Maze made his way to Le Havre and offered his services to the British and became an interpreter with the British cavalry regiment, the Royal Scots Greys. Maze's position with the Royal Scots Greys was unofficial and his lack of documentation and his odd uniform led the British to think he was a spy. Maze was summarily sentenced to death. On his way to face the firing squad, Maze was recognised by an officer from the Royal Scots Greys who happened to be passing and who quickly secured his release. Maze joined the staff of General Hubert Gough, initially as a liaison officer and interpreter but increasing as a military draughtsman undertaking reconnaissance work.
Source: Wikipedia

 

It is implied from the above that he was in the British Army. Whilst he was employed at the behest of Gough, does the book mention if he formally enlisted in the French Army's interpreter corps? The best read about French interpreters online must be the Jacques Vaché website.

I have seen something published with regard to Paul Maze's gallantry awards from the War Office that would suggest the French Army relented, and grudgingly enlisted him as an interpreter.

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charlie962

The 1918 French Journal has him as Class of 1907 but in 1918 officially Marechal des Logis (which is I think how he was referred to in various accounts and led to numerous misunderstandings of its translation/seniority which Maze never hesitated to profit from to get the job done)

1521781267_MazePLJournalFrancais1918explic.JPG.ada80cb7ecec4428ad98107c4eccd852.JPG

 

                     1848464305_MazePLJournalFrancais1918.JPG.acdfa9cd3c9525e9d7e4f6c1d00b5d65.JPG

Edited by charlie962

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Michelle Young

Unfortunately my father the thread starter cannot comment on this or any other thread now as his mind is so confused ; he has no recollection that he ever knew so much about  the Great War. 

Michelle 

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charlie962

Michelle, that must be so difficult. But it is good that he kicked off a thread that has some produced some interesting information even if he cannot comment further. Such is the durable quality of the Forum.Charlie

 

This is the Official History of the bit of the 19th Train responsible for Interpreters, most of whom had that Sgt grade of 'M des L' (which is how it is noted on Maze's MM card.

               2027494345_MazePL19thTrainHistory.JPG.82b9828c65b214159bee69fdbac07301.JPG         

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GrenPen

Thank you Charlie. His DCM has him listed as a sergeant of the artillery and train (Maréchal des Logis). It would have been even more confusing for the Brits if he'd been a rank below!

In the same manner that a RNAS man would be promoted to PO Mech upon joining the RNAS Armoured Cars, I had got the impression - but cannot back this with evidence, it is pure supposition on my part - that the next rank that an interpreter would advance to would be that of Maréchal des Logis.

Source of info:
"The Distinguished Conduct Medal Awarded to The Allied Armies by The British Government" published privately in 2018 by Howard Williamson.

This book references War Office List 49 dated 1 December 1919. The reference is WO 388/6/6 for anyone going to Kew, but purchasing a copy of Howard's book is a better course of action.
 

With regard to other translators on the forum, J K Rowling's great grandfather - Louis Volant - has been mentioned, as has a trainee interpreter who was buried by the CWGC - 

Interprète Stagiaire Louis Eugene Renault 10 Aug 1871 - 04 Jun 1916

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GrenPen

Howard's book has, as an appendix, a reproduction of two passes that were issued to 'Monsieur P. L. MAZE of French Army' dated April and August 1918. I wonder if this has appeared in prior editions of "A Frenchman in khaki"?

 

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Marilyne

Michelle, 

 

I'm so sorry to hear that about your father. 

I've read "A frenchman in khaki" a very long time ago - got it from a library or other, can't even remember which one - but I think I'll go back to it one day, as it holds, as already stated here, a lot of interesting tidbits about the various generals he served with. He had to know them better than any other in order to convey their words in the right way... 

 

M.

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GrenPen

Sorry to read of your father's predicament, Michelle. I echo Charlie's sentiments that his commencement of an interesting thread is an acknowledgement of his wide knowledge in happier times and the durability of the forum, which retains his content.

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Len Trim
12 hours ago, Michelle Young said:

Unfortunately my father the thread starter cannot comment on this or any other thread now as his mind is so confused ; he has no recollection that he ever knew so much about  the Great War. 

Michelle 

Sorry to read about your father. I know what you are going through as my mother has the same problem. I'm sure I met your Dad with you a few years ago on the Somme. Point 110?

Len

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Michelle Young

Yes that's right Len, Dad was failing then but we managed to take him back that one last time..

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