Friday, 11 November 2011

The Riding Master and the Count von Schulenberg

A story for Armistice Day.

Rosemarie's mother Gertrud Heidtmann was brought up in Wolfsburg Castle, where her father Heinrich was Riding Master to the Count von Schulenberg. They lived in a little house in the corner by the castle next to the stables which Heinrich was in charge of. Relationships between the workers and the aristocracy were different in Germany to here. There was less cap doffing and more mutual respect, so Gertrud, and later Rosemarie, often used to play with the Count's children. And when World War 1 was declared, and the Count went off to war, it was Heinrich's job to go into battle with him and ensure his safety. Luckily for all concerned, he did...

Walter also fought in World War 1, and was lucky to survive the Somme. After World War 2, when he met Rosemarie's father in law, Dan, who had also been at the Somme, there was no animosity between them, but they spent along time comparing notes on which positions they'd taken up during various battles.

I often think how but for a stray bullet going one way or the other, my children might never have existed...

On Remembrance Day, I am more grateful then ever, they do.

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