The PJ Tatler

A Century Later, Echoes of the Great War

Allons enfants de la Patrie

Allons enfants de la Patrie

The war that destroyed Europe began 100 years ago. But its memory lives on:

His torn military jacket still hangs by his desk and his shoes are still tucked neatly by his bed — relics of a life lost long ago. In the small village of Bélâbre in central France sits the room of Hubert Rochereau, untouched for nearly a century as a memorial to the fallen solider, who died during World War I. It’s “an unforgettable journey back in time,” reported la Noveulle Republique, which described it as a “mummified room.”

Dragoons officer Rochereau died at age 22 inside an English field ambulance after a battle in Belgium on April 26, 1918. According to the Guardian, the officer’s parents decided to keep his room exactly as he left it — even after selling the house under the poignant, if legally unenforceable condition the room should not be changed for 500 years.

“When you walk into it it’s as if time has stood still,” Laurent Laroche, mayor of Bélâbre, told the Guardian. The story of Rochereau’s room gained notice in October and may help the mayor, who is now seeking a benefactor to ensure that the room will remain as it is for centuries.

You can see the pictures at the link. His books, his papers, his pipe, his simple bed, his regimental sword. Artifacts of a lost, better time.