‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’ 2016 in Meaux, France
‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’ was performed in Meaux, France on 05 November 2016. It was the third time the dramatisation has been performed – the first being in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, in Basildon, Essex, and the second being in Heiligenhaus, Germany in 2015. I was asked to write the script as part of the Forget Never, Oublier Jamais, Vergessen Niemals Project which ran throughout 2014 and incorporated events held in Basildon and its twin towns of Heiligenhaus and Meaux. The project resumed as Forget Never – The Somme in 2016, when we commemorated the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
The ‘Sons’ of the title, are three men – one from each town, who fought in the Great War.
George Burnett, from Wickford, Basildon Borough was a policeman and member of the Wickford Cricket Club. He rejoined the Coldstream Guards and went missing in action shortly after the beginning of the war. His body was never found.
Albert Kiekert, from Heiligenhaus, was studying to be a lawyer when he joined up. His aeroplane was shot down a few months before the end of the war, killing him and the pilot.
Louis Vallin, from Meaux, worked selling surgical instruments. He joined up just before Christmas 1914 and happily, he survived the war, going on to marry, have children and to found The Association of the Friends of the Air Museum, of which he become vice president. He died in 1971, at the age of 76.
At the Basildon performance in 2014, we were thrilled to welcome Suzanne Vallin, daughter of Louis Vallin. The following year, a descendant of Albert Kiekert attended the performance in Heiligenhaus, as well as Suzanne. This year, we traced members of George Burnett’s family in Sussex, and Karen and Jill, who share a grandfather with George, travelled to Meaux to join us for this year’s performance and of course, Suzanne, who lives in Meaux, was there.
For the third year, we were lucky to have DOT Productions from England and Fricklesome Amsel, from Germany, perform, as well as choirs from Meaux.
Two of the actors who performed in Basildon and Heiligenhaus were not able to come with us to Meaux, so this year, the line up was Andrew Lindfield, James Le Lacheur, Sophie Farquhar, Christopher Walthorne and Zac Wancke. The musicians in Fricklesome Amsel are Peter Klaus, Hannes Johannsen, Rike Ullenbaum and Sebastian Zimmerman.
Thank you to everyone involved!