Wednesday, August 12, 2015

98 Years Later

In October 1917, my grandfather - Bert Rowland - was mustard gassed at Ypres in Belgium.  He was evacuated to England where he recuperated at the County Middlesex War Hospital at Napsbury (in St Albans, Hertfordshire) and subsequently at the 3rd Auxilliary War Hospital at Dartford, in Middlesex. By December 1917, he had sufficiently recovered to be discharged and was afforded some furlough before a return to the Western Front.

While on furlough, Bert travelled to Dalton-in-Furness, in Westmorland (now Cumbria), England, the birthplace of his girlfriend Meg (later to become his wife).  Meg had left Dalton-in-Furness at age 3, when her family migrated to Tasmania.

In Dalton, Bert stayed with Meg's aunt (Hannah Crellin nee Hornby) and uncle, Thomas Henry Crellin. Bert enjoyed his stay in Dalton enormously, being well looked after by Meg's aunt, uncle and nephews. He wrote to Meg how he had one of the best times he had ever had. He wrote this on the back of a postcard dated 30 December 1917.  On the front of the post card was a photo of Tudor Square in the heart of Dalton-in-Furness.

In May 2015, I managed to visit Dalton-in-Furness for the first time.  My visit was 99 years, more or less, after my grandfather made his one and only visit.

Below is the front photo of my grandfather's postcard.  And below that is my photo of the same spot 99 years later.

Tudor Square, Dalton-in-Furness - 1917
Tudor Square, Dalton-in-Furness - 17 May 2015

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