Final Update sent to the Duper mob who were on the Pilgrimage to France

G’day Dupers! 30th April 2016
We returned home on Tuesday happy in the knowledge that Uncle Jim had been given a very touching and emotional tribute by his family and we feel you share these sentiments. We have an abundance of happy memories of our pilgrimage to treasure for a lifetime, including the added bonus of meeting the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

When the idea of a family gathering at the Anzac Dawn Service in Villers-Bretonneux in 2016 was first suggested at the wedding of Elizabeth and Christian Duperouzel back in August 2013 no one could have predicted how things would play out over the next few years in the lead up to 25 April 2016. To have 30 members of the extended Duperouzel family come together to give thanks for the life of Uncle Jim and to honour all the troops who died in the Great War is absolutely wonderful! There were plenty of ‘variables’ along the way…not all of which were brought to your attention! We know of many more people who would have loved to have joined the group. We are grateful that so many members of the extended family made the pilgrimage, most of you travelling thousands of miles to be together to attend the Dawn Service – a very moving and unforgettable experience. The ‘man with the kangaroo’ considered it a huge privilege to wear Uncle Jim’s two war medals with pride, and to lay a wreath. Also, the truly beautiful wreath of artificial Australian wild flowers made by Lyn, Bronwyn and Jane, which was laid by Lyn & Ron and Bryan, was much admired by everyone. It was lovely too that Meghan and Sophie from the younger generation also laid a wreath. It was all very special.

As you know, it was not just our group who paid tribute to Uncle Jim – there was the fine tribute by the family on 21st April in Western Australia when Liz Hearnden lead the family in the Commemorative Sunset Service in King’s Park dedicated to those AIF servicemen who lost their life at Mouquet Farm in 1916. Liz read out a tribute to Uncle Jim. Also, in England our daughters, Adèle and Suzanne, paid tribute to Uncle Jim at the Leighton Buzzard Memorial – they laid a lovely wreath late on Sunday night, the 24th April, timed to coincide with the Anzac Dawn Service being held in King’s Park. We were touched by it all. Then how could we forget all the media coverage which was more than we could have ever expected – the name DUPEROUZEL went viral!

This experience on the Somme was also a trip back to the land of our French ancestry and it was therefore fitting to have a Duper reunion so close to Aimable Duperouzel’s childhood home in St Aubin-du-Perron, near Coutances. It was a dream come true for us both which we never thought was likely to happen.

We had such a great time and we feel you did too – apart from the icy winds and the shivering! Baby Charlie was an example to us all with his stamina and cheerful smile. We are grateful to everyone for being so generous and for mucking in which made the four days much more fun. We also want to thank Gilbert, Philippe and Wendy for entertaining us all so beautifully – it was so very special. We would like to thank our Poet Laureate, Lauder Coomber, whose poem ‘Somewhere in France’ touched all our emotions – this is a lovely gift from Lauder and represents a lasting legacy of our time together.  As Bruce so aptly put it, “Uncle Jim would have been looking down on us with a big smile on his face”. We are definitely smiling too!

We were pleased with the accommodation at Chavasse Farm, the Gite and the B&B in Curlu. Stephanie was very sorry about her mistake re Lauder’s accommodation which he took as a ‘good Aussie sport’ and embraced the upgrade to stay in the Gite. What could be better than sharing a room with Ben and Mitch?

In addition to the videos about the pilgrimage which were featured on ch9 and ch10 in Perth before Anzac Day we have listed some web links – see below. FYI: the UK is in a different region to Australia so we cannot view the ABC News video which was shown Australia wide on Anzac Day and we haven’t located the channel 9 or France Picardie 3 video clips. James Glenday, the European Correspondent for ABC News, based in London, is planning to send us a web link for the video he and Cameron took on the Sunday, the 24th (perhaps with some still photos) so that everyone can access them – this could take 2/3 weeks.’dupers’-family’s-epic-pilgrimage-to-france-for-anzac-day/7354436
WA Media News (WAMN) – video taken at the Sunset Service for Mouquet Farm, in King’s Park on 21st April 2016

The Duper group will be thinking of Wendy and Philippe tomorrow morning, Sat’ 30th, when their marriage takes place in Bordeaux. We would like to wish them lots of happiness for their future together. Time to raise our glasses to the Dupers and to Wendy and Philippe!

With love from Jan and Bill