Thursday, February 19, 2009



When he emigrated to Canada, my grandfather was receiving a pension from the Belgian army after having had a medical discharge due to sunstroke. As a result, upon the outbreak of World War I, he was required to return to Belgium and rejoin the army. I have often wondered about what happened to him in that war, especially after reading about the horrors of trench warfare and the high rate of casualty.

Recently, I discovered that my aunt Jacqueline, his daughter, believed that he was in the Intelligence Service. Whatever his role, one certainty is that he had to leave his wife and three children - John, Jacqueline and Jeanne - alone for the duration. My grandmother and the children lived at St. Albert near Edmonton until his return.

My mother found my grandfather a very stern person - "a true Victorian". She had nothing but praise for my grandmother who she said was very warm and loving. My grandmother had an excellent singing voice and often sang arias from the operas to the children.

The first photo is of my grandmother, Therese, as a young woman; the second is of my grandparents when young; and the third shows my grandmother, Therese, with her firstborn, Jean, who died in infancy.

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