Penarth residents face long journey home after outbreak of WWI

TRAIN: Brothers Wilfred and Ernest Guy face a long journey home, including on a French train, after the outbreak of World War One

TRAIN: Brothers Wilfred and Ernest Guy face a long journey home, including on a French train, after the outbreak of World War One

First published in News by

This Day in History, Diary Entry, August 27, 1914

MESSR'S Wilfred and Ernest Guy, sons of Mr Richard Guy, Penarth, reached Folkstone on Friday after a trying journey from Switzerland.

The brothers had been spending a holiday on the Bernese Oberland and on reaching Interlaken, on their way home; found that all the usual railway services had been suspended owing to mobilisation. They saw the British Consul and were advised by him to stay at Interlaken for the time, as it was both difficult and dangerous to cross the frontier.

They remained there for fifteen days unable to get away, and then getting in touch with the British Consul at Berne, they were advised that if they cared to undertake a journey which would be undoubtedly difficult and exciting, they might be able to get home through France.

Obtaining Passports from him, they got by train as far as Les Verriers, on the Swiss frontier where they were held up for some time. Eventually a train arrived which was going to cross the French Frontier, but it was too crowded for them to get a seat or even standing room.

However, every official seemed anxious to help and no objections were raised to their suggestion that they would ride on the footboards, and in this manner they crossed the frontier. They had to leave the train at Pontarlier -the first station in French territory –and were searched.

They went to the mayor of the town and gave account of themselves, had their passports revised and were allowed to proceed after some hours.

At Dole they had again to leave the train, as a train was coming through carrying wounded soldiers, many of the poor men they could see grievously wounded indeed, but all for the confidence in the ultimate issue of war.

They eventually reached Paris. They were treated there with great consideration, both by the English Committee and by the French people. They were greatly struck by the appearance of the crowds there, which were composed entirely of women, old men and young boys-every man of fighting age had gone to the front.

Leaving Paris, they were again held by Amiens and there they met a train carrying English troops, who cheered heartily when the Guy brothers and some English friends they had fallen in with at Paris struck up with the new soldiers war cry “It’s a long way to Tipperary”.

The brothers reached Boulogne to find the town full of English troops who appeared very much at home and after some delay got a boat for Folkestone and at last reached London after travelling for three nights and three days.

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