Sunday, October 2, 2011

The role of ladies and girls in the Great War 1914-1918

If you collect stamps, you risk finding other documents, such as old post cards. When I came across this one during a visit to one of the many "brocantes" that are held in the streets in France, I was intrigued by the text as well as the monocle of the officer on the card. An impeccable French officer with a German, bavarian, standard.

It reads "Le Premier Drapeau du Bataillon (I B.VI 132.IVB) d'Infanterie Bavaroise pris par le 10ième chasseur à pied". The standard of the 1st Bavarian Batallion taken by the French. I understand it is a classical card, well known by the collectors.

The text on the card is one of a father, seemingly participating in the war, writing to his young daughter.

In French it reads (lacking interpunction in the original):

"Puisque les classes sont recommencer il faut travailler ;  comme je te le disais dans ma précedente lettre, c'est indispensable. Et jouer il ne faut pas toujours songer à la guerre ni à ses conséquences : c'est l'affaire des hommes les dames et les jeunes filles se doivent les premiers aux enfants et les secondes au travail et de cette façon chacun remplit son devoir dans la nation. Le plus beau drapeau que tu puisse gagner sur ton champs de bataille particulier, c'est ton tableau d'honneur et la place
de première dans toutes les compositions. Je m'arrête ma chère Mignonne en t'embrassent bien fort. Ton père qui t'aime beaucoup" (signature illisible)

I am translating it as follows:

"As classes have resumed you should work : as I said in my previous letter this is indispensable. And play you should not always worry about the war neither about its consequences: it is the business of men and the ladies and the young girls should firstly care about the children and secondly about the work and in this way everybody does his duty for the nation. The most beautiful flag you can win on your own battle field is the table of honnor and the first place in all compositions.  I am stopping here my Lovely and give you a big hug. Your father that loves you much". (cannot read signature)


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