To jhm: Thank you!

  • Hello John,

    Thank you! I imagine I made this picture (no kidding, I was there for work :-) ) because there is such a contrast between the birthplace of these young men and where they died.

    Well, your mail sound special to me, because of your name and your current occupation. Your current occupation, because WW I has, as you will see, an important place in my family history. Your name, because it is very close to my grandmother's, Mernhout. She moved from Flanders (Ieper) to France, where she worked in an ammunition plant; women did so because most of men were on the battlefront. In that plant she lost some fingers, due to a blast. Her first husband died because of mustard gas. Her second husband, my grandfather, fought in Dodengang, in Diksmuide, where he was wounded. Sometimes after war, they had a daughter, my mother. She is now 91.

    I was shocked when arriving in New Caledonia, more than 20 years ago: on the memorials, names of Europeans were engraved as usual, whereas for Melanesian people (Kanak) they had only their given names. Even in some places, only the number of Melanesian people who died on the battlefront. Some years ago, NC capital city mayor said he will try to correct this; I don't know if it has been actually done.

    Thank you for your email
    Kind regards from New Caledonia
    Pierre