The “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” to be made into a film

No doubt you’ve all read the book “The Guernsey literary and Potato peel pie society” about life in during the Occupation?  Oh you haven’t? Well it’s a great summer read – an entertaining story set just after WW2, when a English author  forms an unexpected bond with some residents of Guernsey. It focuses on their adventures in Guernsey during the occupation. (See the footnotes for a link).  In any case you may be as thrilled as I am that it is to be made into a film!  Starring the gorgeous Lily James of Downton Abbey fame (and 2 other Downton Abbey stars, including darling Sybbie).

Filming concluded in May this year with a release date not yet set but probably sometime in 2018.  Sleuthing on my part has determined that it was not actually filmed in Guernsey (1)  The director is Englishman Mike Newell, whose work includes the lovely, Four Weddings and a Funeral, so that bodes well.

GGArchive- Guernsey Potato movie still


  1. Not read it yet? Buy a copy from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  (affiliate link to help support costs of maintaining this site)

Eleanor Roosevelt and La Chaumiere school

During World War 2, June 1940, the youngest Goasdoue children – Renee, Denise, Henri, Robert and Paul were evacuated from Guernsey to escape the imminent invasion by the Germans.

Robert and Paul attended La Chaumiere school which was one of the few of the schools given permission to remain intact in England – they ended up together at Moseley Hall in Knutsford, Cheshire.

In her  book “Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War” (1) Gillian Mawson interviewed Guernsey residents who had been evacuated and stumbled upon this fascinating  connection to Eleanor Roosevelt.

According to Gillian, the school “needed support to keep going so its administrators turned to an organization created by private citizens in America – the Foster Parent Plan for War Children…From its inception, the program included among its donors many well-known Americans in show business (Jack Benny, Bing Crosby et al) who were willing to donate to the young who were affected by war.  It was the only school supported by the programme and “each child was financially  ‘sponsored’ by an American citizen” (2).   I wonder if we can find out who sponsored Paul and Robert?

Gillian learned that when Eleanor Roosevelt was in London in 1942 “she stopped to visit the Foster Parent Program’s offices.  At the time, she decided to sponsor three children; one of them was Paulette Le Mascam from Guernsey. Paulette was a pupil at La Chaumiere along with Paul and Robert.  Mrs Roosevelt supported Paulette financially throughout the war and also sent letters and parcels to her. Much of the correspondence between them still exists today. ”  (5)



Letter to Mrs Roosevelt from Paulette Le Mascam, La Chaumiere school


BBC North West’s ‘Inside Out’  programme featured Paulette’s story in 2010. Here’s a link to the clip (the full episode is only viewable in the UK) (3,4)

I do have some more information about Moseley Hall – some photos, Red cross messages and a newspaper clipping, so be on the lookout for a new page devoted to the evacuation story.

And finally, I was thrilled to find out that the Foster Parent plan organisation still exists today – now they are known as Plan International, and are a global children’s charity, working with children in 50 of the world’s poorest countries to help them build a better future. They campaign and advocate for every child’s right to fulfil their potential. – See more at:   We owe them a debt of gratitude!


  2.    This link contains a detailed background to the evacuation – well worth a read

Louis Rolland and the 161e regiment

In my quest to track down a photo of Louis Rolland and to find out more about his regiment I’ve found this cool little archive of photos of the regiments. It’s a French site, of course, and I am bumbling around trying to figure it out.  While most of the photos don’t have dates, or even identify which company and squad, it’s a fascinating insight into those lost men.   I’d love to find photos of Yves infantry regiment but sadly at this stage have no idea which one he was in – that’s research I have yet to undertake.


The Verdun museum re-opens

“Verdun… is still considered by military historians as the most demanding and lengthiest engagement of any conflict”

Though the details are sketchy, we’re told that Yves Goasdoue fought at Verdun for the entire campaign during World War 1.  Family legend has it that here he endured gas attacks which weakened his lungs and made him so susceptible to the disease that eventually killed him (TB).  It was also here that he earned a Croix de Guere.

“You can’t understand France without understanding Verdun. It is a place of identity, of ‘France-ness’. In the eyes of French soldiers, the battle was a defence of their women, wives, children, religion, and their French soil. There was no battle before, and no battle after, which was so important in the French memory.”

Historian Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau

The newly refurbished museum has been completely re-visioned – it now contains a replica of the battlefield as the central exhibit, allowing visitors to follow in the footsteps of a French soldier heading to the front, and focuses on the lives of ordinary men as well as the bigger picture.

It sounds like it will definitely be worth a visit if you’re considering a trip to France.  And if you do, please let me know as they have a Documentation Centre on site and I would love to find out more about the circumstances of Yves’ award.

Mémorial de Verdun, 1 avenue du Corps Européen, Verdun 55100

(PS the museum has a website but only in French at the moment)


Louis Rolland’s birth certificate

I’ve bumbled around on the french genealogy website and I think I’ve managed to locate Louis Rolland’s birth certificate.

It helps that he was born in a tiny village, St Gilles les Bois, as you can only browse chronologically by year.  His father is listed as Jacques Rolland, 34, occupation menuisier (carpenter) and his mother Marie (le) Huerou.

Interestingly, I have discovered a Canadian immigration record which could possibly be that of Louis (on his way to Chicago in 1912) and his occupation is listed as Carpenter on that.

Here it is



I also searched the Genearmor website his parents

The following births are listed

ROLLAND Marguerite Naissance :    le 27/04/1879  à Saint-Gilles-les-B (22)

ROLLAND Claude Paulin  Naissance :    le 05/06/1881   à Saint-Gilles-les-B (22)

ROLLAND Jean Marie Naissance :    le 05/06/1881,   à Saint-Gilles-les-B (22)    (Le Rolland – Décédé le 19.01.1908 à Squiffiec)

ROLLAND Louis Marie Naissance :    le 11/08/1882,    à Saint-Gilles-les-B (22)

ROLLAND Anonyme Naissance :     le 01/11/1877,   à Saint-Gilles-les-B (22)
(Décès le 01.11.1877)

Jean Baptiste, prisoner of war

During the First World War, 8 million solidiers were captured and sent to internment camps!  And Yves’ brother Jean Baptiste was one of them.

I searched for information on the “Prisoners of the First World War” website to see if I could find anything to confirm or increase our knowledge about his experience.  And here is the confirmation –

JeanBaptisteWW1repatriationCard (1)

The card reads

Goasdoue, Jean Baptiste

Soldat Art. 3/4

Venant de Leysin

Repatrie le 12/9/18

F.R. 903

JeanBaptisteWW1repatriationList  (2)C_G1_E_13_01_0928_0231_0 (3)

Here’s a link to the glossary to explain the codes on the cards – 

Internment camp at Stendal

From what I can gather from the documents above, Jean Baptiste was originally in Stendal internment camp.  I cannot read German so this may not be true!  If anyone can read German or figure out what the documents say, please comment below or drop me a line.

Here is a report on the camp which makes pretty interesting reading.


Enclosure 2 in No. 10. Report by Mr. Jackson on Visit to Prisoners’ Detention Camp at Stendal.

On sandy soil, in what were cavalry exercise grounds, a camp has been built to contain 15,000 prisoners of war. Dependent upon this camp are a large number of ” Arbeitslager ” containing men in groups of various numbers from ten or a dozen up to 2,000, and at the time of my visit there were only about 7,200 in the parent camp. In that number were included sixty-four British and Canadians, all of whom had been more of less severely wounded, who had been brought during the past few weeks from hospitals at Cologne and Wittenberg. All said that they had been well treated in the hospitals, and several mentioned the fact that they had been treated with great kindness in the temporary hospitals to which they had been brought immediately after tlieir capture. Four British prisoners from this camp were included in the recent exchange of severely wounded, but there remain a number who have lost a limb or are on crutches, and who could be of no further active military service. None of these British prisoners are called on to work outside and only a few do light jobs in the camp. One of the non-commissioned officers (Corporal Frazer) has recovered from his Avounds to such an extent that he is to take part in a boxing match with tlie French camp champion in a few days. I talked with all the British prisoners and none had any important complaint. A few thought that their letters were not coming through promptly, but on investigation I found that their mail (letters and parcels) was still being sent by their friends to the hospitals in which they had been before coming to Stendal. Tliey all said that their mail had been received promptly while they were in the hospitals. A few wanted boots or underclothing, but they admitted that they had not made their wants known to the German authorities, and as soon as I called attention to the matter the commandant said they would be supplied. There is a large tailor shop (Russian prisoners) in the camp where quantities of outer garments (dark blue for summer, and dark blue or black for winter, with yellow piping) are being made to replace worn-out uniforms. In my conversation with the prisoners there was no complaint about the food, and not one of them even mentioned that subject. The kitchens are large, Avell arranged and scrupulously clean. The menu for the week is appended hereto.* The canteen seemed well supplied, and ” lemonades” and alcohol- free beer are purchasable. There were no British patients in the lazaret, whei’e one British private helps keep the place in order. The building was clean and well ventilated. In the lazaret all the sick have beds, and in the ordinary barracks iron beds are also provided for such of the severely wounded as might find it difficult to use the ordinary mattresses which are used by the other prisoners as well as by the German guards. The barracks are of the ordinary wooden type, clean, well aired and not over-crowded. The camp is divided into eight company enclosures each of which has its own wash and clothes drying rooms (there are also open-air washing facilities), and latrines, which ai’e far enough from the barracks to be unobjectionable and connected with the city water system so that they can be flushed as often as is desirable. There is one bath room (about forty douches with hot and cold water) Avith disinfecting ovens, through Avhich the men and their clothes pass about once a Aveek. An open-air swimming bath is being arranged. Tub baths are provided in the lazaret Avhere there is also a croquet ground. The commandant. Colonel Krause, has had charge of the camp ever since it was opened last October, and he seems very much interested in his work and is evidently respected by the prisoners. He has made use of large plots of ground in the neighbour- hood of the camp to grow potatoes, cabbages, lettuce, &c., the profits being used for the benefit of the prisoners as a body. June 30, 1915. * Not printed.

Leysin, Switzerland

Our family story is that Jean Baptiste caught tuberculosis in the camp and was exchanged with a German prisoner then sent to Switzerland for treatment. We can’t be sure about the prisoner exchange part,  but there was indeed an agreement between Switzerland and Germany to transfer prisoners-of-war with tuberculosis to Switzerland, and for sure Jean Baptiste was there – we have postcard to Yves from Leysin and the document above also confirms that on repatriation at the end of the war, JB  was “venant de Leysin” (1).

This site describes what life was like in Leysin 




Original prisoner documents:

Jean Louis Goasdoue naturalised in 1920

The fun thing about genealogy research are the little nuggets of information you stumble across.  Today I was randomly searching in and came across a reference to Jean Louis Goasdoue (grandfather Yves brother, also known as Gros Jean) in the UK National Archives.

Turns out, he became naturalised (from French) in 1920. Now the annoying thing about these little nuggets of information is all the questions that arise!  Why did he choose to do this? Why didn’t anyone else in the family?

The record itself has not been released (there is just an index record) and I’m not sure if it is worth paying to get it digitised in full – would it contain any useful information?

Here’s the link in case you’re interested to look for yourself. Oh and the next time you are in London, perhaps you can visit the archives to see it in person? That would be great!