Letters from Relatives in France

Local Remembrance 2018

These web pages are part of a local collaborative project marking the Centenary of the end of World War 1 in 1918

The organisations working on this Remembrance Project are:

  • The Horbury, Sitlington and Ossett Branch of The Royal British Legion
  • The Rotary Club of Horbury and Ossett Phoenix
  • The Senior Citizens Support Group (West Wakefield)
  • The Rotary Club of Ossett
  • The ossett.net Website "Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town"


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A local Horbury resident, referred to in this article as "YF" has translated, from French, some family correspondence from the time of the Great War. She has offered these letters for publishing here as she thought they could be of interest to others. They do remind us that France as well as many other countries of the World also suffered family tragedies in the Great War.

A little background to help with the context of the letters:

YF's Grandmother Marie Narat and her Grandfather Jean-Nicolas Koch met in Paris in the latter half of the 1800's and married in 1883. They subsequently had four children two of which were boys named Georges and Louis Gaston who became soldiers and lost their lives in the Great War. The two girls were Marguerite and Lucie. 

Marguerite married an Englishman, Harry Dobinson. Harry and Marguerite were YF's parents.

Louis Gaston Koch was seriously wounded and died in an ambulance at Cerisy, France, in September 1916.

Georges Koch was killed in battle in October 1918 in Belgium. This was the same month that Marguerite left France to study in America at The Harvard Business School.

The letters, in the main, are between Georges, Louis Gaston (the brothers who died in the war) and their sister Marguerite.

To: The Horbury and Sitlington Local Remembrance 2018 website,

" The family history of the French branch of my family has several letters between cousins in France and England some of which maybe of interest to your website's readers.  Where I have put ---[ a series of dashes] it simply means I either couldn't make out the French or perhaps the writing was too faint."

Thank you for your interest,
YF of Horbury.