Memory Fragment

I remember a gabled entrance, probably to a church or perhaps to a Catholic hospital.  The gable was steeply-pitched, like a typical Gothic building.  The inside of the gable (the “tympanum” in Greco-Roman parlance) had a white stone cross that protruded from it about three inches and on this was a wood or metal crucifix.  I didn’t see the doorway below it; I must have been on my back.

I feel strongly that this was a place I saw in France or in Flanders in 1915 but I can’t place it.  The image came to me after reading about casualty movements in WWI from the front to the clearing station to the hospital and in some cases, to hospital ships home to England.  There was a painting with a hospital ship at the docks in Boulogne and it really hit when I saw that painting.

I do not have any record on whether or not Jack was wounded at some point but I’ve long suspected he got a “Blighty One” at Ypres at some point and spent at least part of the late spring of 1915 in a hospital in England before being sent back to the front.  It was a very common occurrence for soldiers who recovered from their wounds just enough to get back on their feet to be sent back.

Perhaps the hospital was a Catholic one that had been commandeered?  Perhaps this building with the crucifix was at one of the ports like Le Havre or Boulogne, where we waited for ships back to England?

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