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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Our Flanders Adventure I

Recently I was very privileged to take a trip to see some of the WW1 battlefield sites in Flanders (Belgium). This was a very personal journey for me as I planned to visit the Loos Memorial in France, too, where my two great-uncles are commemorated. Also, according to family tradition, my Pickvance ancestors, who were cotton workers from the Bolton area, originally came from Flanders, which was famous for its textiles. Flemish weavers came to settle in Britain early in the 14th century, but I have not been able to go back that far in the family tree yet!
My great-uncle Harry sailed for France in November 1915 with the 16th Battalion, 2nd Salford Pals in November 2015; they landed at Boulogne. His brother Herbert Dickman, who served with the 8th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, landed in France a few weeks later. You can imagine how anxious my great-grandparents would have been.
Our trip began at Hull, and we sailed on the overnight ferry to Zeebrugge. I'll be sharing some highlights from our Flanders trip with you, so watch this space!

Images: The author on the ferry.© Nigel Wilkes.

A WW1 family, photo postcard. Inscription on reverse reads 'L Stokoe'. Author's collection.

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