Touraine - from then until now!

This blog is an attempt to show some of the vast history of Man's prescence in the Southern Touraine.... from first footfall to the present....
especially in and around le Grand Pressigny area.... with special emphasis on life at and around le Moulin de la Forge.
There will also be occasional entries about time before man was here and when the area was at the bottom of a warm, shallow sea...



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A little piece of newsprint

It was just a torn-off piece of newspaper, buried in a hole in the fireplace beneath a couple of layers of plaster. Un bout de papier. But we would never throw something like that away. It was a little piece of the history of the house, somebody had a reason for putting it there.
So we unrolled it.

"Page two" - the two detached pieces are facing the wrong way...

.... although I didn't realise until I had begun the transcription. The transcripts below are corrected.
A word caught my eye: tsar. Then a name: Venizelos. I knew that name, Elevtherios Venizelos, prime minister of Greece at the outbreak of World War I. He is still a hero on the island of Crete and I have visited his grave in Mournies, in the foothills of the White Mountains, overlooking the north coast of the island, a place of tranquility shaded by pine trees.

The scrap of paper was rapidly scanned and tucked away in a jiffy bag. Transcription took a lot longer, but the end result was most satisfactory.

The news of the day, 4th April 1915
The more we picked out of the piece of newsprint, the more convinced we were about a wartime date. The news items were dated 2nd and 3rd April, a short advertisement for a day trip by special train to an unknown destination was dated 5th April, that was our terminus ad quem.  The news indicated the year: 1915. The date of the edition: almost certainly 4th April 1915. Easter Sunday. Possibly the 3rd or the 5th. Le Matin of 4th April 1915 carries some of the same stories, including the Havas agency report of Venizelos' proposition heavily rewritten, but the paper was not torn from Le Matin.


... and on the reverse, one of those interminable sentimental serials. Transcription can await another day.
So what was the paper? The present local paper, La Nouvelle Republique, was not published at that date. And it had to be a national newspaper. The travel agent for the special train trip, le Bourgeois, gave only a street address - where? Why, in Paris, of course, no need to spell it out, everyone knows old Bourgeois, let's save on the price of the advert!

The tantalising words Gazette de F ... at the beginning of the item about German schoolboy conscripts (écoliers allemands) gives a huge clue. There are plenty of local Gazettes in France but only the one national existed: la Gazette de France.

Is the Gazette de France on line? No it isn't.With some trepidation I ordered a photocopy from the Bibliotheque National de Paris. This great library has an on-line ordering system for copies of its paper files, and the order form fortunately gave enough space to explain what I was looking for, and why. Only one title is present in full, so I had to quote that one: Men√©es Allemandes in Italie (German Machinations in Italy). I have a feeling that it's the back page. I should get a quote for a photocopy of the full page to be sent as an e-mail attachment, at the price of however long it takes a librarian to do it. Fingers crossed.

And I've always wondered if the message for A.-G Corbes was some kind of code....

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