Audruicq 1918 – 1919

In 1918 a young woman left her home in Peak Forest, Derbyshire, to work as a nurse in France. The First World War was drawing to a close and one can only guess at Ellen Clayton’s reasons for leaving home, against the wishes of her family.

While in France, Ellen (born 1895) carried an empty album with her in which she asked British Tommies in the town of Audricq near Calais, to pen a poem or a message or a little sketch. Their messages to the future reader reflect their situation; they had survived the war and were returning home, but at what cost?

On her return home, Ellen married (and her husband later became Mayor of Glossop) and the album was forgotten about. Till my friend Janet turned up at the office one day carrying her Grandmother’s album, and I thought this stuff deserved to see the light of day again.

This is a just a sample of what’s in the album. I didn’t want to damage the book by squashing it down repeatedly on a scanner so just copied a few pages.


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