Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Ratcliffe family's escape from Calais to England on HMS Venomous, 21 May 1940

Pierre Ratcliffe was only five years old when he left Calais on HMS Venomous with his parents, Albert and Renée Ratcliffe, his sixteen year old half-sister, Gisèle, and their young cousin, Jack Ratcliffe. Albert was born in Calais in 1891; he was the son of a colliery engineer from Doncaster who came to France with his company in 1889. Albert was one of eight children and served in the British Army with the Machine Gun Corps during the First World War. He worked in Calais for an American company exporting lace. Albert's first wife died of tuberculosis leaving eight year old Gisèle without a Mother. Renée's parents had emigrated to America and she was born there in 1911, but they returned to France in 1933 during the Great Depression and she married Albert in 1934. The family had British passports... More...