I saw these intriguing photos doing the rounds on the internet and I had to look into them.
Here’s the back-story:
After a French World War 1 soldier was killed on the battlefield, his grief-stricken parents preserved his room exactly the way it was on the day he left for war. As a memorial to their fallen son, they kept the room in that state the entire time they owned the house. When they sold their house in 1935, they wrote a clause into the deed which stipulated the room must remain untouched for the next 500 years. Owners from that time on have honored their request.
The legality/viability of the clause is questionable, but wouldn’t it be amazing if it could be upheld for five centuries?
The home is located in the village of Bélâbre in central France.
Though not open to the public, these recent photographs have made this moving tribute accessible to millions.
According to the original news article, Hubert Rochereau was a second lieutenant for the French army during the first world war. He fell on April 26, 1918 from wounds resulting from a battle near Flanders, Belgium.
On the long dead soldier’s desk is a vial with a label stating that it contains “the earth of Flanders in which our dear child fell and which has kept his remains for four years“.
In their grief, the soldier’s parents left his room intact as a memorial. Nearly 100 years later, not even the wallpaper has been touched since 1918.
It puts a human face on a war from which there are no longer any living veterans.
The last WW1 veteran died in 2012.
Lest we forget.
If you found this post interesting, you may also like the post I did last year on November 11: Village of the Damned.
In memory of Randall A. Baylett CW3 (ret.) US Special Forces
October 1, 1969 – November 7, 2014