“Dear Auntie, I escaped from Germany a few days ago and on crossing the frontier was told the very welcome news that an armistice was in force”.
So begins the message on the back of this postcard of the smock windmill at Groenlo, in the province of Gelderland, eastern Netherlands on the German border. The mill is shown between St Vincentius Gasthuis and the church.
The message is signed “Syd” who “hoped to be in Blighty very soon”. I expect that the first thing Syd did, after crossing the frontier, was to find a pub and drink a pint of beer or several to celebrate his escape and a long-lasting peace. After all, Groenlo was the home of the Grolsch brewery since 1615.
One can only imagine the relief that his Auntie Clara must have felt upon receiving the card, knowing that Syd had survived the Great War and they would be reunited very soon.
Who was Syd and where had he escaped from? Unfortunately we can’t with certainty identify him.
The 1911 census established that Miss C Carpenter was Miss Clara Carpenter, 42, of 62 Daniel Place, Penzance who ran a grocer’s shop with her elder sister Susie, also unmarried. Earlier census returns established that their father, William Carpenter was a stone mason and their mother, also called Susan nee Thompson. Clara and Susan had four siblings, William Henry, Thomas T, Ellen and Matthew. Clara died in 1926.
We are not sure how Syd and Clara were related, though he refers to her as Auntie. If anyone can tell us more about who Syd was and hiss story of escaping from Germany, we would be delighted to hear from you.