Soldier's Room

World War I French Soldier’s Room Remains Intact After Almost 100 Years

When you enter Hubert Rochereau’s bedroom, you would think that the fallen soldier would walk through the door at any moment. Rochereau was a French dragoons officer who died of a wound on April 26, 1918 while fighting for control over Loker, a village in Belgium. The French recaptured Loker four days after his death.

The battlefields of Flanders, which spanned from the north-east of France and stretched into Belgium, served as the location of the battle. Some 580,000 soldiers from different parts of the world who died there.

Rochereau’s name, along with the names of other soldiers who lost their lives during World War I, is commemorated on a war memorial located in Bélâbre, his native village in France. He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Honor for his bravery. However, Rochereau’s parents wanted to commemorate him in a different way.

His parents kept his room in their large home exactly how it was the day the soldier left for the battlefields of Flanders. According to The Guardian, Hubert’s parents moved out of their home in 1935, but they specified on the deed of sale that their son’s room should stay untouched for 500 years.

Today, almost a hundred years after Hubert Rochereau’s death, the bedroom where he was born in 1896 remains intact, just the way he left it.

Rochereau’s blue officer’s jacket, now moth-eaten, still hangs on a stand. His books are piled on the mantelpiece. His bed is still covered by the same lace spread that he used when he was still alive. The bedroom also holds Rochereau’s pistol collection, a fencing mask, and some spurs. On his desk, facing the window, are pipes that smell of stale tobacco and a small vial with a label that reads, “the earth of Flanders in which our dear child fell and which has kept his remains for four years.”

A journalist from the La Nouvelle République was allowed to visit the room of Rochereau. Daniel Fabre, a retired civil servant, is the current owner of the house. He and his wife inherited it from his wife’s grandparents.

The Huffington Post reports that the special clause stated on the deed of sale has no legal basis. However, Fabre and his wife believe that Rochereau’s room should be preserved.

“If we sell, we will be looking for a new owner that respects Hubert Rochereau’s memory and keeps this extraordinary museum piece intact.”

If future owners of the house follow the request of Rochereau’s parents, his bedroom could remain intact for the next 400 years.

[Images via The Guardian/Europe1]

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