Le Havre! After a failed attempt last year to get into the port, we finally made it. We were really going to find my grandfather's grave.
Angiens on any map. He had never heard of it. We showed him where it was on Google Maps, but we still couldn't pinpoint it on any of the maps he had. In the end, he programmed Angiens into the GPS and we just went on a wing and prayer, hoping it would take us to the right place.
For many years, we didn't know where my grandfather was buried. We only knew that he had died in World War II in 1940, making my father and my aunt, Elsie, orphans. Their mother had died several years before. We believed he had been killed in the Battle of Dunkirk and that was about all we knew. Then my cousin, Ann, found a photo of my grandfather's headstone on-line while doing some research for the family tree. We were able to pinpoint the church and the location of the cemetery. Then it became a dream to get there one day...
This is one of the only pictures we have of my grandfather standing in the back row on the day Cousin Ann's parents were married in 1936. My father and his sister are also shown. Their mom had died the previous year. The flower girl on the far right is Cousin Dot, whom we had recently visited and who gave me my birth announcement that she found amongst her parents' belongings.
Honi soit qui mal y pense." I thought this was quite interesting and found out that loosely translated it means "evil is as evil thinks."
There are 17 headstones in the row, five of which are unknown soldiers. At this point, I was just contemplating and Jim was going around exploring the graves. Oh my god, I look like my mother in this picture.
We had been at the cemetery for almost two hours and, while I hated to leave, there really wasn't anything more we could say or do. As we turned to go, I noticed this grave with the word Leonard that just stood out. Leonard was my grandfather's name and also my father's name. Ooohh...I felt a shiver.
this is what I found. The 51st Highlanders surrendered to the Germans in Valery-en-Caux, about 10 km from Angiens. "Severe losses were suffered and approximately 10,000 men became prisoners of war." Now it made sense why they were buried in Angiens. As I scrolled down the page, I saw that they had a remembrance service at the cemetery in Angiens in 2010, where the names of the 12 soldiers were read out, as well as the 5 known only to God. If only we had known, but I am so thankful for everything we have found since then.
Tomorrow, a sea day...