Retired Stone social worker makes amazing First World War discovery

Sheila Davies' grandmother lost five grandsons in the First World War.

Edward Geernaert was killed in 1918.

The Menin Gate (image by PMRMaeyaert).

First published in News
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News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A retired Bexley social worker from Stone made a remarkable discovery on a recent visit to the battlefields of Ypres.

Sheila Davies’ great-great-great grandmother Charlotte Geernaert lost five grandsons in the First World War.

Ms Davies, who lives in Kirby Road, Stone, took part in a Dartford Council-funded trip over June 4 and 5 to the Somme battlefield.

Though she couldn’t find any of her ancestor's names on gravestones or memorials there, a researcher pointed her in the direction of Ypres.

When taking her own trip to Belgium just days later, Ms Davies spotted Edward Douglas Geernaert inscribed on the famous Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing.

News Shopper:

Edweard Geernaert's name on the Menin Gate. 

The great-grandmother of three said: "On the very last panel I looked at I found him. It was absolutely amazing.

"I have nine grandchildren which is why I feel an affinity with Charlotte.

"I don’t know how I would feel if I lost five of them, it would be absolutely terrible."

Edward was just 18 when he was killed fighting for the Royal Canadian Artillery in 1918.

He was one of three brothers and two cousins - all grandchildren of Colchester-born Charlotte, who married Belgian immigrant John Joseph Geernaert after he moved to Britain in 1852.

Ms Davies leads Dartford’s poppy appeal for the Royal British Legion.

Tree campaign

News Shopper’s parent company Newsquest has teamed up with the Woodland Trust to promote the Dedicate a Tree campaign that runs until Remembrance Sunday in November.

Readers can purchase a tree for £20 and leave a message dedicated to those who lost their lives in World War I.

Visit uk/donate/dedicate-a-tree

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Comments (1)

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3:53pm Tue 5 Aug 14

R_U_Serious says...

Ahem -

Panel 18 - 28 - 30. YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Ahem - Panel 18 - 28 - 30. YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL ;-) R_U_Serious
  • Score: 1

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