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VALENTIN’S GREAT WAR (1914-1919) By Jacques Dewaele, Jean-Marc Dewaele
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This book is based on the correspondence between Valentin Dewaele, a Belgian First World War volunteer, and his mother, a refugee in North Wales. It is complemented by extracts from his diaries and... More > letters from friends and other family members. It describes the extraordinary life in the trenches at the front in Western Flanders and Northern France. It a striking account of the long moments of boredom and discomfort, followed by episodes of intense drama. The letters and diaries continue to February 1919, when Valentin is demobilised. The correspondence with family and friends grows after the German capitulation as communication lines are re-established and people take stock of what has happened, seek out who has survived, gossip about who has collaborated with the Germans. Another important topic is the Dewaele family business, a prominent draper shop in Ostend, left in the hands of staff as the family fled to the UK before the Germans moved in.< Less