Through the Forêt de Mormal into 2019

DSCF2740

Happy New Year to all my readers and future readers! I am so grateful to everyone who has already read Major Tom’s War, wherever in the world you may be (India, Canada, America, France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere…). Your feedback has been so kind, constructive and positive. As a début novelist, I am so grateful to each and every one of you.

2019 promises to be an exciting year, with second edition tweaks to get down to and a French edition in my sights. Not to mention the itch of a new novel in a similar genre(which may overlap a little with Major Tom’s War) which simply won’t go away!

DSCF2736

After the joys and trials of Christmas and New Year I thought you might like to join me for a bracing winter’s walk through the ancient Mormal forest, not far from Bavay in Northern France. This dense area of woods, slightly smaller today than in 1914 – 1918, but still teeming with deer and wild boar, will require no introduction to those who have completed Major Tom’s War.  For those of you who have yet to begin, here is a brief account of its significance – I hope without too much of a spoiler alert!

Soon after the Great War began in 1914, the small British Expeditionary Force was beaten back fast and hard towards the coast by an immensely powerful and much greater German army.  The retreat became a rout and the Forêt de Mormal split the retreating army into two. Its woodland fringes became a bloody battlefield. Some regiments were ordered to protect the retreat in any way they could. Many men paid the price for this, while a very few, probably those familiar with forests from home, managed to hide in thickets or clamber up trees. They must have watched, unseen, with a combination of relief and terror, as the German army advanced past them.

DSCF2737

These Allied soldiers became the concern of certain communities in the area of Northern France occupied for the duration. They managed to remain hidden for some time, fed and protected by local people (perhaps for example the grandparents of the two cheery hunters we encountered on our walk) until the weather turned colder and the leaves began to fall from the trees… but to know what happened next, you will need to read the book.

DSCF2730

I was able to explore the Forêt de Mormal with my cousins Pippa and Roger Clegg, who chose the walk from a selection of leaflets offered by our helpful hosts the Mirapel family at the Auberge du Bellevue in Bavay. Locquignol was only a 20-minute drive away.

DSCF2722

DSCF2739

We placed a small poppy cross at the foot of one great beech tree adjacent to a very deep ditch which we had scrambled across. I wonder if any readers will ever spot it there, in the heart of the forest? I had not walked through this area before writing Major Tom’s War, but even so we all agreed it was like walking through the pages of the novel. This was particularly the case when we crossed the long, straight, Roman roads which criss-crossed the forest, but I cannot explain why without ruining the read.

DSCF2721

We skirted the pretty village of Locquignol and enjoyed its quiet pasture edges.

DSCF2726

DSCF2742

This would have been a more ancient forest with older trees then. Most of the tree cover now dates back no more than a century, but it is still a timeless place, somewhere to walk slowly and wonder at small things.

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual walk – thanks for your company!

DSCF2728

Author: veewalkerwrites

Hello new readers! I am here to keep you company. Thousands of you have now begun your reading journey of my award-winning début novel Major Tom's War. It was launched at the National Army Museum in London on 20 September 2018 (the eve of Tom and Evie's 100th wedding anniversary) by my lovely publishers www.KashiHouse.com. The revised and expanded second edition is out now on Kindle, the paperback soon - in theory launching during a book tour of Canada late 2020. We will see... https://www.google.com/search?q=majortomswar+kindle&oq=majortomswar+kindle&aqs=chrome..69i57.11416j0j4&client=ms-android-samsung-ss&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#sbfbu=1&pi=majortomswar%20kindle

4 thoughts on “Through the Forêt de Mormal into 2019”

  1. Lovely to read. Beautiful photos too. I enjoyed your book but will want to go back and read it again to more fully absorb the story and history. You have piqued my interest in another book…….

    Like

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Rosemary! Yes, swithering (useful Scots word for indecision) about my next book, as I have a few possibilities, but for now am hard at work on the revisions for the second edition of Major Tom.

      Like

    1. They were even equipped with a real hunting horn! I think though that they were rather more interested in finding out if we had seen an injured wild boar. I am not quite sure why they needed to ask – as I think we would have been running fast in the opposite direction had we done so!

      Like

Leave a Reply to charlietippsgooglemailcom Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s