The Sons of Three Countries Remembered 2017

Poster for The Sons of Three Countries Remembered 2017
Poster for The Sons of Three Countries Remembered 2017

The Sons of Three Countries Remembered 2017

Three Men, Three Towns, Three Countries – One Great War.

In December 2014, people from Basildon, Essex and its twin towns of Heiligenhaus, Germany and Meaux, France gathered to remember three men – George Burnett from Wickford, Essex, Albert Kiekert from Heiligenhaus and Louis Vallin from Meaux – all of whom fought in the Great War.

The event was the performance of ‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’ as part of the Forget Never Project which was set up to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. South Basildon and East Thurrock MP, Stephen Metcalfe initiated the Forget Never Project which is a tri-nation endeavour, funded by the Heritage Lottery. So far, it has involved people from the Basildon Borough Twinning Association and The Basildon Borough Heritage Group, as well as from Heiligenhaus and Meaux.

Essex-based DOT Productions under the management of Andrew Lindfield, directed and performed the play which took place in St. Martin’s Church, Basildon in 2014. Music was provided by Fricklesome Amsel, a folk band from Heiligenhaus along with choirs from Basildon.

Andrew Lindfield and Christopher Walthorne
Andrew Lindfield and Christopher Walthorne
Natalie Scotcher and James Le Lacheur
Natalie Scotcher and James Le Lacheur
Natalie Scotcher and Chrisopher Walthorne
Natalie Scotcher and Chrisopher Walthorne
Adam Elliott, Natalie Scotcher, James Le Lacheur and Christopher Walthorne
Adam Elliott, Natalie Scotcher, James Le Lacheur and Christopher Walthorne
Fricklesome Amsel, Rike Ullenbaum, Peter Klaus, Hannes Johannsen, Sebastian Zimmerman
Fricklesome Amsel, Rike Ullenbaum, Peter Klaus, Hannes Johannsen, Sebastian Zimmerman

 

The Three Young Men

George Burnett rejoined the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards who went to France as part of the original British Expeditionary Force. Sadly, he went missing in action shortly after the fighting began and it was reported in the Southend Standard 12 December 1918 that ‘The sad news has also reached Wickford that PC George Burnett, who was stationed in Wickford for three years before the war, was killed in action in France on 29 October 1914…’

George Burnett
George Burnett

Albert Kiekert joined the 1st Lorraine Field-Artillery Regiment and later became a reconnaissance aircraft observer. On 27 January 1918, Albert and the pilot of his aircraft crashed near Verdun, France. Both men died.

Albert Kiekert
Albert Kiekert

The only man to have survived the war was Louis Vallin. He joined the French Air Force and despite the lack of navigational and flight instruments flew many hours at night. He married in 1917 and had a son who died in childhood, and daughter, Suzanne. Louis died at the age of 76, in 1971.

Louis Vallin
Louis Vallin

 

The Sons of Three Countries Remembered 2017

In 2015 ‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’ was performed in Heiligenhaus and the following year, it was performed in Meaux. This year, it will be performed in Basildon for the last time in its current format. Andrew Lindfield and DOT Productions will again produce and direct and Fricklesome Amsel are musical directors and will play and sing, along with choirs from local Basildon schools – Lee Chapel Primary School and Woodlands School. We are thrilled that we will be joined by Louis Vallin’s daughter, Suzanne and friends from Meaux, as well as Karen and her sister, Jill, descendants of George Burnett, as well as a party from Heiligenhaus. And this year, for the first time we welcome two young men from Belgium – Senne Jonckers who will play his composition and Neel Hannes who will sing.

If you’d like to join us, tickets are available from forgetnever1418@outlook.com or 07849 736101. Details here www.forgetneverblog.wordpress.com

The performance will take place in Woodlands School at 7.30pm on Saturday 11 November 2017. Woodlands School, Woodlands Approach, Off Nether Mayne, Basildon SS16 5BA (Sat nav: SS16 5FT)