Sunday, August 17, 2014

Recollection of war time events 1939-1945
by Sidney West a distant relative of my family


The Trauma of War. Three Cousins and the West family (1939 - 1945) 

Three cousins:


Robert West: 25th March 1921 - 2nd February 1990
Allen Ratcliffe: 24th April 1921 - 4th June 1945
Jacques Fontaine: 12 th February 1921 - 28th December 1989

The following is the tale of three cousins all born in the early months of 1921, only 2 months separated them from their date of birth. This was quietly celebrated by the extended family of the Dauchart, all residents of Calais (France). The proud mothers were Amélie Dauchart, Marguerite Prud'Homme (niece) and Angélina Dauchart (ma tante Baby).
In the early days the cousins lived within walking distance of each other, not meeting all that often, but there was a maternal bond, which gave a sound respect for each other. So by 1940, Jacques, Allen and Robert, now having reached the age of 19, a sudden separation took place! This separation affected their parents also. For Jacque's parents, George and Amélie Fontaine, similarly Allen's parents, Harold and Angélina Ratcliffe, and Robert's parents, Frederic and Marguerite West.
The Second World War was beginning to take effect. The German forces under its Nazi ideology were marching westward and northern France was suffering under the tragic occupation of its territory. The lives of many people were torn apart and in the case of the cousins their circumstances did not escape the effects of such traumatic changes.