Emile Georges Horsch: Postcards from a ‘poilu’ — February 1917

A while ago I bought a handful of WW1 patriotic postcards from a junkshop in the Cotswolds. It was only later that I realised they were to and from the same family — the Horsch family from Boulogne. I’ve recently found them again, and thought I’d share them. I also only have a CSE French idea of what they say, so a ‘crowd translation’ courtesy of the Great War Forum was very welcome.

There are no clues as to dates, not all are written upon, and I’m sure some aren’t from the same batch. I’ve also done a little research on the revamped SGA website — a thing of beauty — and I’m afraid this story doesn’t end happily…

Anyway, here they are — remembering….

Card a)

1914

For Right

For Civilization

Glory to our eternal France

Glory to those who care for Her


Card a reverse

‘My dear little Emile

Thank you for your pretty card that you sent me. I am pleased to hear from your little mother’s mouth that you are always very bright. I am sending you a nice card for your trouble. Give your mother a big kiss from me and your little aunt will give you another from me. A thousand kisses. E

Card b
Card b reverse

A thousand kisses from a lover to his little woman who he loves

The card is something like ‘The height of fashion — for a soldier to kiss his wife on the forehead’ With a pun on ‘front’?

Card C

tant que je sentirai, près de moi, son coeur battre
tu viseras longtemps, encore, pour m’abattre

as I feel beside me, his heart beat
long you will strike again, to kill me.

Card C reverse
Card d
Translation

Dominion, Volume 9, Issue 2730, 27 March 1916, Page 5

Card e

“If I still had to, tonight, brave death,
I would straighten myself in a supreme effort”

Card e reverse

My dear Emile I am happy to write you a few lines for the…… that Pauline and Mama a good and holy happy birthday, hoping that it will be the year of deliverance…I hope that you are maintaining your health despite rain? sometimes to the right then to the left the case of war. We are all well. God is good. When I arrive, I expect my family will let you know I made it. Nini will tell me that your little Emile continuously wants to be with your uncle Charles … this is a little …. Good health and good luck we will embrace. Long live Daddy! Long live France!

Card f
Card f reverse

“Two sailor comrades”

Card g

‘For the Fatherland!’

Card g reverse

I was at home gift
they do not give me
the certificate as he and I
asked they did merit as a
they cared what your born Sunday
and then they said my fault other
returned to the consultation I explain….

Card h
Card h reverse

“A thousand kisses from your little man”

Card i

“There: like that, I will be able to return!”

Card i reverse
Card j

‘Triple entente’ — ‘If I come, all three burst me!’

The English: We’re in the running! The French: We are ready! The Russian: Me also!

Card j reverse

…about me there are many English who landed at Boulogne…

Card k

‘Glory and Devotion’

Card k reverse

que jamais été heureux de te
trouves aussi près de moi
comme se petit fantassion
le jour que j’ait été
blanc mille baiser de ton petit homme

More than ever
I was happy to see you
and find you so close to me
like small fantasy
the day I was
White? a thousand kisses your little man

“From the last fortnight of October 1916, to the end of February 1917, the (110th) Regiment held the sector north of Mesnil- Le — Hurlu, except for a rest period in the outskirts of Camp de Mailly. In these monotonous and now deserted plains, it was no longer possible to recognize the hell of 1915. There was no specific action during these four months, but the constant, unseen, daily, heroism, the endless hours of sentry duty in the cold nights, the patrols in the smashed landscape of no man’s land, the defence of shell craters. For the front line troops, it was necessary to repeat the experience of duty in trenches which have been crumbled by the frost, floundering around for miles to go to the kitchens for Moroccan rations. The Battalions in reserve at Camp Madelin said there was only one habitable shelter…
Only the days of the 15th and 16th of February disturbed the quiet of the sector. In the afternoon of the 15th, shortly after the return of a patrol conducted by Second Lieutenant Terre (which resulted in three prisoners of the German 238th Reserve Infantry Regiment), an artillery bombardment shocking and unspeakable violence began to the right of the Regiment, on the vicinity of the 208° Regiment at Beausejour. The 2nd and 1st Companies, who were holding the front line , received several direct hits; while the 3rd under Commander Eliet, through the firing of a barrage, was able to interdict a German counter-attack ready to move on the hilltop village of Maisons-de-Champagne.”

110th Infantry Regiment
Anonymous history. Paris, Chapelot, sd, 87 p

Emile George Horsch– Soldier 1st Class: 110th Infantry Regiment from the 8th Infantry Regiment. Service number 8871, class of 1911; recruitment number 2041 at St. Omer. Born Dammarie, Seine et Marne, 22nd July 1891. Killed by enemy action at Mesnil les Hulu, Marne, 15th February 1917. Mort pour la France.

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