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Here is an interesting news item:

It is a story of war, love and bravery and could grace the pages of any novel. But this tale of two war-weary servicemen from different armies battling to win over an attractive French postmistress - which includes an astonishing act of bravery - is completely true to life. The tale begins in the north-eastern French village of Hangest Sur Somme, close to the frontline of the First World War. It is here where a young British medic, Sergeant Victor Brookes, met Yvonne Brunel in her post office. Her job involved regularly posting communiques to update locals about the war's progress and she would often meet servicemen passing through the village. Increasingly, the couple developed a close friendship. But it was not just Brookes who had his eye on the young postmistress. Carol White, from Michigan, who was serving in the US Army, was also smitten by Miss Brunel and they also formed a close bond. But, as reported by the Daily Telegraph, June 30, 1918, was to become a defining moment in all of their young lives. Brookes was called to the village of Belloy-sur-Somme, which was just two miles from his sweetheart's village. An RAF corporal was trapped in a huge crater caused after a German aircraft dropped a bomb. Carbon monoxide gas had formed at the bottom of the pit, leaving the man extremely sick. Despite knowing that the crater was filled with poisonous fumes, two men attempted to get him out. But they were completely overcome and soon became ill. Despite seeing how the gas affected the pair, Brookes also volunteered to enter the pit. But, unsurprisingly, he also succumbed to the fumes and had to be dragged free. The incident left the two men dead and Brooks was hospitalised. The trio, along with Brigadier-General Alfred Burt , who also entered the crater, were later awarded the Albert Medal for bravery - one of the rarest honours which can be handed out. During his time in hospital, Mr Brookes remained in contact with Miss Brunel. And it was during this time that, despite the affections of Mr White, the young postmistress fell for the stricken medic. The couple eventually married in Hangest in 1919 and enjoyed a honeymoon in Paris. After moving to Gorton in Greater Manchester, they went on to have two children, Allan and his sister, Yvette. Despite their rivalry over the same woman, Mr White and Mr Brookes remained on good terms. The American even sent the family parcels of clothing during the Second World War. The Albert Medal was passed on Allan when Mr Brookes died in 1974. He had planned to pass it on to his son Stephen, but three years ago he sadly died. Allan, 89, has now given the medal to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2387053/Victor-Brookes-Yvonne-Brunel-love-blossomed-trenches.html#ixzz2bZZVg34m

Jean-Paul

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