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15-25 August 1917

Rosalie

At the outbreak of the war, Henri Lecorre joined the French-Canadian 22 Infantry Battalion. He 'baptized' his newly issued Lee-Enfield - Rosalie, after a popular French song about "les marraines de guerre", the female pen-pals to whom soldiers could write letters. He engraved the name on the barrel stock and was reprimanded for doing that, 'damaging the King's property'. His rifle was confiscated. He was lucky and saved the weapon from a scrap heap. He kept the rifle well-hidden and out of sight of every officer, and carried it with him during the war. When an officer discovered, much to his astonishment the rifle again, his mates hastily scratched another rifle and gave this in, preserving old Rosalie from destruction.

Lecorre was severely wounded again when he tried to rescue two wounded comrades lying in No Man’s Land. He woke up in a hospital in Canada, without his rifle. But Rosalie was saved and went to England. In 1943 Canadian General Andrew McNaughton saw the rifle while visiting an arms factory where it was preserved. He took the rifle back to Canada. Lecorre himself saw his rifle by coincidence on a military exhibition in 1956. Lecorre died in 1963.

Corporal Henri Lecorre engraved not only 'Rosalie' on the weapon but also the battlefield names where his 22 Batallion had been: Arras, Passchendaele, Cote 70, Lens, Lievin, Piericour, Neuville, St.Vaast, Sully Grenay, Courcelette, Zillebeke, Hoodge, St.Eloi, Kemmel and Vimy.

 
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