Stefan Reyer, a French-speaking Belgian lieutenant from Luxembourg is one of my main characters in Lady Grace. You will read about his service, wounds, and return to the front. This article is a good reference regarding the Belgian soldiers of World War I.
This article briefly describes the 320,000 Belgian soldiers of the Great War. Who were they and what was special about the way they experienced the war compared to other belligerents?
Source: Belgian Soldiers | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)
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As I’ve been editing and rewriting portions of Lady Grace this past weekend, I have realized that I am emotionally involved in this book. Naturally, as a writer that often happens when you create characters and bond with them. It certainly did to some extent with the Legacy Series since I had so many lives that I followed on paper for twenty plus years.
Lady Grace, however, has been an emotional journey. I don’t think that I have blubbered so much writing a story. It finally dawned on me why my emotions have been so stretched after watching a new interactive documentary now streaming on Netflix entitled “Our World War” that originally aired on BBC. You can read about here on the BBC site. It’s not an easy show to watch because it puts you in the middle of the war as if you’re standing in the trenches with the young lads.
When I walked away from the first episode, I had to ask myself why am I so involved in this book and so horrified and filled with sorrow after watching “Our World War.” I guess you could say that little voice within my heart spoke and answered the question that also brought me to tears. The answer lies in my DNA that links me to my second cousins, two times removed, who bravely served, fought, and perished in the line of duty during World War I. Each of the young men below, share the same distant grandfather with me, Henry Holland (1792-1853). Perhaps somewhere in the DNA strings that we share they are speaking from the grave to remember them and their sacrifice. And remember them I will, as I dedicate Lady Grace to their memory in the front of the book.
God rest your souls, dear cousins.
In memory of my second cousins (twice removed) who lost their lives in World War I:
- Private Thomas Douglas Holland: Killed in Action June 5, 1915 – Gallipoli, Turkey (18 years of age from Salford, United Kingdom. Buried in Helles Memorial Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey)
- Private Harry Walton: Killed in Action February 6, 1917 – France (42 years of age from Salford, United Kingdom. Buried in France)
- Private Gilbert Hough: Killed in Action October 9, 1917 – Belgium (18 years of age from Salford, United Kingdom. Buried in West Flanders, Belgium)
- Private Frederick John Holland: Killed in Action May 8, 1918 – France (27 years of age from Tuakau, New Zealand)
- Major George Henry Holland: Killed in Action May 15, 1918 – France (32 years of age from Tuakau, New Zealand. Buried in Colincamps, Somme, France)
- Corporal John Holland Sapsford: Killed in Action November 4, 1918 – India (24 years of age from Prestwich, United Kingdom. Buried in Rawalpindi, Pakistan – formerly India)
In memory of the husbands of my first cousins (twice removed) who lost their lives in World War I:
- Sergeant Mark Kennedy: Killed in Action July 1, 1916 – France (32 years of age from Lancashire, United Kingdom. Buried in Thiepval Memorial, Picardie, France)
- Private Charles Edward Hurst: Killed in Action September 9, 1916 – France (26 years of age from Prestwich, United Kingdom. Buried in Thiepval Memorial, Picardie, France)
- Private George Wheeldon: Killed in Action October 5, 1918 – France (22 years of age from Manchester, United Kingdom. Buried in Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, France)
In memory of my great-aunt’s husband:
- Sergeant Henry Lofthouse: Died of wounds May 1, 1917 – Kent, England (30 years of age. Buried in Shorncliffe Camp, Kent, England)
~Rest in Peace~
Streaming on Netflix: