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Part 151
PART 10: June 10, 1915  

Letterstime - Ein Geleitzug - TIOWF, Part III

The Taking of St. Pierre Continues

June 25, 1915

Historical Preface: On June 25, 1915, Theodore Girardin of St. Pierre suffered his first wounds.  He refused to leave his unit, declaring them too minor to merit it, though he would be decorated for them, nonetheless - the first of many decorations earned by soldiers from St. Pierre - Miquelon.  For more historical context, see NOTE 1.

---- Dawn + 165 Minutes

Kapitäleutnant Gommel tried to keep the 28 mounted sailors of the Bruno group at a fast walk, much as Bavaria was doing, as the groups diverged.  During the time at the crest, he had pulled aside the senior enlisted men in his group - one petty officer, one senior leading seaman, and one leading seamen - and essentially subdivided Bruno amongst himself and those three.  This was not entirely ex tempore, as the basic mission and manpower assignments had been hashed out at sea.  What had not been known, however, was how many mounts (if any) would make it to the ridgeline.  The Erzherzog had felt that Bruno required an absolute minimum of 20 and that 30 or more would be greatly preferred.

Forty paces ahead, a mounted sailor waved broadly.

"Damn!"  The street must be blocked further down .

Unlike Bavaria, Gommel had refused to split his force along different paths.  Bruno’s objective might well require mass.  He had spent the time before the ride up to the crest making sure that the trio of sailors that he had previously identified as decent horsemen were there and on better-looking horses.  This trio had trotted on ahead as pathfinders.  As Gommel neared, the man gestured to the left and put his horse into a canter in that direction.
"Left at the intersection!"  Gommel ordered loudly, turning in his saddle.  Behind him, his three squad leaders called out the same.  Once into the turn, he saw that the scout was stopped one next intersection over and was now waving back downhill.

"Right at the intersection!"  The relay approach was working.  So far.  It would fail if there were more blocks than scouts before Gommel’s advance could relieve the one posted.

The screams that bedeviled Bavaria’s Anton did not afflict Gommel.  The officer heard them, muffled by distance, and wondered what had happened.  Here, the sight of one man on horseback was puzzling and not something to elicit shrieks.  The sudden appearance of 30 more, however, was so terrifying as to provoke silent flight, and women scooped up children and either hid or fled out their back doors.  So, instead of provoking noise, the progress of Bruno was marked by a stark stillness marred only by slamming doors as a bow wave of panic-stricken townsfolk silently fled at right angles to the Germans’ path.
---- Dawn + 170 minutes, Place de la Roncière

The on-duty gendarmes had seen off the fishermen, as was their custom.  Sometimes there was trouble, but their visible presence generally kept matters calm.  Rarely did they have to do more than simply tap their batons against their uniformed thighs in emphasis.  Since this was near the height of the season, the town population had been augmented by many outsiders.  Actually, the trend had already been down these last years, but this year was much worse because of the war.   The 18 to 42 year olds were elsewhere, so the seasonals who had come were older and, though they might drink as hard - or harder - as any younger, they were far less likely to have hot blood in the morning.  Oh, they’d start hung-over, all right, and cantankerous as all hell, but their energy level was lower and focused on getting aboard ship.  The result: more blustering but almost no fighting at all.  What fights they did get into were almost always in the evening.

Once the boats were off, the gendarmes made their morning rendezvous at the fountain on the Place de la Roncière, as they had done many times before. Two were to head back to the Gendarmerie to go off duty.  The other pair remained on the Place to make their report.  They would then tarry on the Place to enjoy a snack during the mid-morning lull at one of the cafes that operated there in season.  Already, the day was warming nicely and promised to make their morning beat quite pleasant.

The pairs compared notes, and parted with no more than a few words and nods.

---- Dawn + 170 Minutes

LT Siegfried’s objective - the Place itself - was on the same path as Gommel’s, but further, and offset by two or three blocks at the end.  However, Caesar had the more inept riders and the weaker mounts, and so steadily lost ground to Gommel.  This had been expected and - since Gommel might use Siegfried’s men as reinforcements - not supposed to be too great a concern.  Nonetheless, keeping their path in sight remained important, and each turn made him momentarily lose sight of the men ahead.  In all honesty, he was afraid of getting lost and had resolved to keep the church in sight and just head for it should they lose their way.

For several minutes, it was almost as though St. Pierre were deserted - having turned into one of those ghost towns that they had seen such bewildering references to in some of the Amerikaner newspapers.

To make matters worse, he kept seeing flickers of motion off to both sides, though at least none seemed to be coming towards him possibly to intercept.  Here and there, he even thought to catch sight of a face in a window but, each time he turned to look, the window was empty.  He was constantly twisting his head this way and that.  After all, this was not Wilhelmshaven, nor even neutral New York, but part of France herself.

It was when he turned the third corner that he spotted his first real human.  A woman, holding her just-past-toddler son, stepped out of one doorway after Gommel’s passage to stare downhill in disbelief.  The clop-clop of Siegfried’s horse turned her around in shock.  Her mouth opened wide, then closed again.  Whatever she might have said was lost on Siegfried, but the slamming of the door seemed clear enough.
---- Dawn + 170 Minutes

LT Kessock would have been the first to agree that an unfamiliar saddle was quite an incongruous thing to be bothered about in the middle of an invasion, but the damn thing was chafing the hell out of his ....

Damn!  The last of Siegfried’s Caesar group turned a corner and effectively vanished.

Kessock, with over 100 men, all of them on foot, had never had any intention of taking any route other than the most direct one, threading around carts, wagons, etc.  Thus, the momentary loss of sight of LT Siegfried’s last hussar should not have come as a surprise, but it did.  The two lieutenants had traded nervous jests last evening, with Siegfried declaring his force the schwerpunkt (NOTE 2) and Kessock naming his the main body.

None of it seemed humorous in the cold light of day and he frowned as he led his group into the intersection where Siegfried’s group had turned.  He stood in the stirrups, but there was so sign of them.  Any thought he might have had of changing his mind and trying to follow them faded.  There was no way he could be sure which street they had turned down.  Furthermore, even if he got this first one right, the trail was only going to get progressively colder.

He sat back down, wincing at the contact.

The street wound about as it followed the slope and soon he spotted a large cart.  Ah, he thought, this was why they’d turned aside.  As he approached, he caught sight of the draft animals: a pair of oxen.  The cart was stacked high with sticks, cooking fuel, perhaps.  It had been going down the hill but had come to a stop.  Standing up on its bench was an old man scratching his head at something below and to the left.  Kessock, of course, had a very good idea as to just what had caught the man’s attention, and was already rehearsing a temporizing Bonjour.

It turned out not to be necessary.

The man whipped around, perhaps hearing their approach.  Before Kessock could so much as open his mouth, the oldster leaped off the vehicle with startling agility and disappeared between two buildings.  As he neared the cart, Kessock eyed the gaps available to get by on either side.  He was going to have to dismount.  He might even have to abandon the horse.  He brightened a bit at that thought, as it would mean leaving the saddle, as well.

"Petty Officer Sumpfhühn!" (NOTE 3)


"Start the men past on the right.  Petty Officer Felsarzt, take yours by on the left."

Kessock took another look around as the men began to trickle by, then eased one foot out of the stirrups and began to lever the leg over the saddle.


"Nothing, carry on."  His skin must be raw meat, he thought, and could not help glancing down to see if any blood flecked his trousers.  Nothing.  Well, at least not yet, he amended, recoiling as the cloth touched a particularly sensitive spot.  He found himself limping as he tried to lead his horse past on the right after Sumpfhühn’s group.  The gelding balked at the narrow gap, and made a couple breathy humphs in protest.  The right ox turned its head and made some animal mutter of its own.  A lot of men were walking past it and they did not smell like fish.  And now there was some other noises back there.

The large draft animal’s move made the cart and all the poky looking sticks twitch, and that was quite enough for Kessock’s mount.  It had been suspicious before, and now it most definitely wanted nothing to do with that transit.  It rolled it eyes and planted its forelegs in the cobblestone way like spindly masts.

"Fine!"  Kessock announced, dropped the reins, and limped through to join his men.

The horse watched suspiciously as the rest of the men disappeared though the hole and humpfed again, but this time the noise was more like what Americans’ might have called a Bronx Cheer.  A few moments later, and it was all alone in a strange and empty street.  It looked about a bit nervously at the narrow street with walls like an alien canyon and began to edge back uphill, where it had been much more open, and where there was some visible greenery.  One of the oxen made a deep lowing noise, making it flinch, and it picked up the pace up hill and away.

---- Dawn + 180 Minutes, near Cathedral

Gommel’s first scout pulled to a halt at the edge of the Place (NOTE 4).  After the narrow streets, the wide cleared space - completely open to eyes from so many directions - was daunting.   Ahead and just to the left, was the front of the church, facing directly onto the square.  Other buildings were densely packed on all sides, surrounding the Place with a large number of windows and doorways.  The square itself was empty, except for a small group of bent women in bright shawls who, backs to the German, were working their way up the three or four steps to the tiny porch at the front doors.  Nervously, the mounted sailor eased his horse back a couple steps and looked around as best he could from that vantage.

The second scout eased up alongside him a couple minutes later.

"Was ist los?"  The voice was so low as to be nearly a whisper.

"The Gendarmerie is there," the first one pointed, also quietly.  The large roof was visible between other buildings just a single block away.

"Yes, I see it.  The way must be down that street, and that one, also," the other agreed.  "They both look clear."  They could not see all the way down either street, as the one they were on did not line up with either of the ones ahead.

Also, they were looking at the back of the building, not where it fronted the street, so the locations of its doors remained unclear.  The three-story, hip-roofed structure was of masonry construction, unlike just about every building they’d been riding down past.  In size, it easily dwarfed all around it.
"It looks like an old fort," said the scout, in an ominous observation.

A muffled clunk drew their eyes.  The women were out of sight.  The noise had probably been the church door closing, but it spooked them some, nonetheless.  They craned their heads this way and that, but neither made any move to enter the square.

Another set of sounds made them anxiously look over their shoulders.  It was the third scout and both his tone and question duplicated the first one.

"Was ist los?"  He even whispered it just as the other had.  The first two pointed this way and that.  The newcomer made hmmm noises as he sighted down the pointed fingers, but they all remained right where they were.  The horses looked about even as their riders did.  They were thirsty and, raising and lowering forelegs, they worked their bits and wished their riders would hurry up and make up their minds and find them some water.

Diagonally across the square, a wiry, grizzled man stared through a grimy second-floor windowpane at the mounted men with vast puzzlement.  He was a cook at one of the cafes.  With breakfast done and the noon meal hours away, he had retreated to his tiny rented room for a bit of a nap, and a bit more of a nip.  He was already chasing one glass of Green Izarra with another as he blinked and squinted and turned his head this way and that, just to see if the non-suches would go away.  When instead one became two became three, he decided it called for another drink.  Most things did, actually.

Not far away, far more alert eyes studied the Teutonic interlopers.  Avidly.

Roland had spotted them first, seven blocks up.  He and Rinaldo of Montalban had been preparing for to enter the lists.  The schedule had been cast aside and Rinaldo had been dispatched to marshal the rest of the paladins.   Meanwhile, Roland stalked their prey.  This was easily done, because the house fronts concealed a warren of spaces and tracks within each block.  Namo of Bavaria and Salomon of Brittany had arrived shortly thereafter.  It had been Namo who had gotten close enough to hear them speak, though the debate as to if it really could be Deutsch had lasted for several blocks.  Ogier the Dane showed up next and he was the one who pointed out the scabbards on each horse.  The paladins all had to see this for themselves, as it was so far beyond precedent as to verge on fantasy.  It was still regarded as unproven, as some had begun on the off-side of the horses and had not worked their way back to a good enough position to see for themselves.

While they spied on the Germans, Malagigi the Enchanter arrived with the truly electrifying news that there was an entire army just like these strangers further up the hill and coming right this way.  Next, Florismart sprinted in so out of breath that it took him a full ten seconds to gasp out the same news.  (NOTE 5)

"Maybe they’re a procession," Roland offered.

"Maybe," said Ogier, doubt clear in his voice.

"They ARE heading for the cathedral," Salomon conceded.

The others nodded.  The entire town turned out for the annual Fête Dieu procession on the Place de la Roncière.
The paladins stealthily moved to good spots ahead of the strangers, on the downhill side of the open square at the front of the cathedral.  If this was some new feast day ritual, they did not want to miss a moment of it.  Yesterday, they knew, had been the feast day of St. John, The Baptist, while today was exactly six months away from Christmas itself.  Whatever it was, the men on horses had stopped at the uphill side entrance, and gone no further.

"They’re waiting for the others," concluded Rinaldo.  It made perfect sense.  The pastor made everyone line up and wait, too, before they started for the cathedral.

---- Dawn + 180 Minutes, bridge of Strassburg, course (changing), speed 10 knots

"Here they come," Captain Siegmund said, as the lookout reports began to come in.  The count was up to eight with more sure to follow.

The fog had eased and the schooners were becoming visible, their sails standing above the last low veils that flirted with the waves.

"Yes," replied Commodore von Hoban.  "Let us advance on them, before they can disperse."

"Ahead Standard," Siegmund ordered.  "Make turns for 15 knots."

---- Dawn + 180 Minutes, bridge of Nottingham Star, course (changing), speed 10 knots

The channel between St. Pierre and I’ile aux Chiens opens to the sea generally to the north and also to the southeast.  Von Hoban had put the AMC on the north side because its larger silhouette would nonetheless be a non-warship one, should those on the northern shore catch sight of her.  Von Hoban also hoped that any who sighted Strassburg might see her as an escort for the old (converted) liner..

"Sir, Strassburg has hoisted ‘15 knots, Immediate Execute.’"

"Very well, acknowledge," replied LT Lionel.  "Helm, 15 knots."

That bell meant nothing much to the modern cruiser.  For the former RN AMC, though, it was about all she had to give.

"Steady as she goes," he ordered.  The Kommodore’s instructions had been to fan out to better block egress from the channel.  The ships began to diverge.

The forward six-incher had been repaired and the aft one should  look operable from a distance.  Still, thought Lionel, he hoped it would not come to that.  He looked at the armed sailors that were most conspicuously posted at the rail.  They should be enough to convince a few score fishermen, he hoped, especially with Strassburg there.

---- Dawn + 180 Minutes, bridges of Rostock and Kolberg, course (changing), speed 20 knots
Like Siegmund, Westfeldt and Dahm both watched as more schooners began to emerge from the channel from St. Pierre.  Their light cruisers were advancing to sit astride the southeastern exit.  Their guns were manned and ready.  Their orders were not to shoot anyone unless they really needed to.  Better, von Hoban had ordered, to simply ram any who refused to heave to and be boarded.

One would be enough, the Kommodore had said, but none would be better still.

It was good they were backed by the u-boats, thought Dahm privately.  The submariners’ own orders were not to be seen if at all possible, but they were to make absolutely sure that no leakers got by to sound the alarm.

"Sir, some of the fishermen seem to be turning back."

"Very well," Dahm replied.  "Let them."

This had been expected.  It was even tidier that way.

"That makes them the Erzherzog’s problem," Dahm added, "and not ours."

The more that turned back the better, Dahm thought.  Both light cruisers were so undermanned just now as to make any game of tag with scattering fishing boats a bit dicey.

"Sir, Rostock, 18 knots."

Dahm frowned, having expected the order to be to slow sharply.  Westfeldt must have decided a bit of a bow wave would increase their impression.

"Very well.  Helm, 18 knots."

---- Dawn + 184 Minutes, Cathedral

Gommel saw the cathedral was just ahead and then caught sight of the three mounted scouts.


"Sir, began the most senior of the three, the Gendarmerie is right there, one block ahead."

Gommel took a long moment to scan the area, which seemed remarkably devoid of life.

Across the way, the arrival of still another horseman called for another glass of Green Izzara.  When the rest of Force Bruno reined up at the corner, he grabbed for the bottle.

"Well done.  It was correct to stop here."  Decision time.


This represented a change of plan, but either street might be blocked just beyond their sight.  One thing he could not risk was his mounted force getting stuck at a barricade  in plain sight of the windows of the Gendarmerie.
The paladins practically held their breath when the Rue had become crowded with horsemen.

"They’re all getting off the horses," whispered Florismart.

"And they’re all lining up," said Rinaldo, hopefully.  From there, the strange group of men would have the full length of the Place for their procession to the Cathedral.

"Sacre bleu!"  Roland blurted.  Uttering that expression would have had certain consequences under most other conditions but not this one, when the rifles came out.

And rifles they were, unmistakably, and not outsized crucifixes, not pennants, not staffs bearing silken images of saints.  The men formed up and entered the Place, alright, but their procession did not turn left towards the Cathedral.  Instead, the men began marching directly at the paladins’ position.  It was Roland who made the prompt and militarily correct decision to retreat in the face of superior force.  There was no dissent.

---- Dawn + 185 Minutes, Gendarmerie

The gendarme was at the desk inside the entryway, writing a letter.  Trying to, anyway.

His partner from the morning rounds had gone up the stairs to the living quarters on a personal errand of his own.  He had snagged a cuff on a rough crate slat and torn the material and dislodged a brass button.  Presumably, he was attempting to effect repairs, or seeking help from one of the others up there.  As for himself, his baby sister had been widowed in February, leaving her with three children in their teens.  He had been struggling with her latest missive ever since it had arrived on the packet boat two days ago.  He figured that gave him a week and, judging from his progress so far, he’d need every hour of it.

The daughters were distraught, of course, but the son was vengeance-minded.  He gave thanks that the lad was the youngest and, since he was just thirteen, the war would surely be won long before he could be called to serve as his father had.  He had never married and was now guiltily grateful for it, as his sons would surely now all have rifles in their hands.

Revenge was a terrible burden for a boy to bear.  It could easily crush him, but the gendarme had formed a plan to save him.  The question was how to convince his sister, who had so recently lost her husband, to give up her son.  To him.  Here.

The newness of the islands, the fishing, and the hard work here would occupy him, divert him.

If nothing else, it would keep him safe from ....

"The Boche!"

A gaggle of smudged-faced boys, hardly half his nephew’s age, cascaded noisily into the entryway.  Their running feet had all been bare, so their approach on the ground had been quiet.  Well, until they entered and ....

"The Boche!"
"Now, now."

It was another one of their games, though today’s was an especially noisy one.  They had been trappers and Indians last week, or cow herders, or something.  He thought it had been knights in armor earlier this week.  Also, they rarely came here!  Their mothers would ....

"Fifty of them!"

"They have guns!"

"Rifles," an older one corrected, and looked back out the door, licking his lips as he did so.

The gendarme blinked.  The cold correction was the first tangible clue that something might indeed be wrong; he’d known these boys since diapers and their fantasy worlds were consensus ones.  The oldest was not yet eight, and his expression was worried as he gazed out.  The man looked at the others; they looked terrified.  The youngest was in tears.  Something had scared them for real.  He stood up.  Guns?  His belt with holster was on the tree in the corner.

"If this is some kind of a prank," he began, but stopped suddenly.  There had been something at the window down the long corridor that extended the full width of the building.  What the devil?

His heart pounded in his chest as he strode the five long paces alongside the broad up staircase to the wide-open front door.  He leaned to look out, then snapped back like a mongoose from a cobra strike.

"Mon Dieu!"

He grabbed the door, wasting three precious seconds kicking at the doorstop, clumsy with emotion.  The slamming door reverberated through the building better than any alarm bell.

"To arms!  To arms!"  The gendarme shouted up the staircase and heard startled cries and then the sound of feet.  Suddenly, he realized that there were seven cod-belly-white little faces staring at him.

"The basement!  Now!"  The small down staircase was around the corner, at the junction of the main corridor.  "Get down there, behind something, and STAY there!  Go!"  He shooed them to the stairs.

---- Dawn + 187 Minutes, Gendarmerie


Well, so much for surprise, thought Gommel, disgustedly from atop the one remaining horse.  The uniformed figure who’d been visible for a second as he struggled to slam shut the door had clearly had a pistol in one hand.  Well, maybe they had used up all their luck just getting this far before discovery.  In any case, this was why they’d brought fire axes along.
The front door looked substantial, and there was a tall metal fence in front of it.  The gate was open, but its location would be quite well-known to those within.  All the ground floor windows, however, were invitingly full length.

"Ax men forward!" Gommel shouted, and turned to find his petty officers.

"Schmidt, through there," he ordered pointing to a window on the left.


"Felder, take yours through there.  These were to the right.  Schnell!"

Right this instant, perhaps only one man in there was armed, and with only a hand gun.  Give them even one single full minute, and there could be a dozen behind those masonry walls armed with rifles.

"I want two volleys," Gommel called out.  "Stein, the door.  Everyone else, aim for the windows."

The assault teams started forward.

"Ready!  Aim!  Fire!"

---- Dawn + 187 Minutes, Place de la Roncière

Well, thought LT Siegfried, this was the place, his objective.  He was not sure how he’d gotten here, but here he was.

He had tried to follow Gommel - he truly had! - but he had gone wrong somewhere.  Only staying oriented on the church steeple had kept them from getting totally lost in this maze.  Things were much simpler at sea, thought the young leutnant for about the tenth time since coming ashore.  The dull ache of driving his ship onto a rocky beach was fading as the muscle memories of equestrian-ship were returning.  The horse was young and eager - a joy to ride - though a bit of a busy-body.  The brown neck kept going this way and that, as flower pots and open crates were so very interesting.  One particularly fragrant window bouquet beckoned as Siegfried waited for his men to form up, and he sidled sideways a few steps towards it.

The motion caught the attention of a table of old men across the way.  They were nursing slender glasses of deep red vino as they once again lamented the failing catch and cursed the Newfoundlanders. (NOTE 6)  The initiator this morning had been the discovery by one of their members of still another maison left empty and falling to ruin.  The septuagenarian who had been most directly facing inland suddenly paused in mid-rant to stare.  The others then turned to see what had drawn his interest so.
What they saw was Siegfried busily scanning the rooflines for antennae.  This was the real underlying reason for Group Caesar driving directly to this Place, the home of all the government officers.  The Erzherzog had stated that, given the presence of Western Union atop the cables, there was little likelihood of a wireless facility but, if one were here, this is where it would be.  The young leutnant had not spotted any but was taking advantage of the opportunity to take another, more careful visual sweep.

The gendarmes were at a different café and, in any case, were both facing the harbor.  Their batons were on empty chairseats beside them and their attention was on the sails of a fishing schooner.  It had been one of the last to head out and now, for some reason, it seemed to have turned back.

"A storm, perhaps?"

"Perhaps, yes, but there is nothing there that I can see."

"A sickness, maybe?"

"Hmmm.  Or perhaps ...."

He didn’t finish that guess.  The distant boom of the Gendarmerie door was almost below the threshold of sound.  But not quite.  It was not that something had been dropped, as the echoes were wrong.  It had been a door.  Few buildings there had doors like that.  The others were on this Place and the cathedral, and it had been none of them.  They could see the former and the latter was in a different direction.

No, it had been the Gendarmerie.  And it had been slammed shut.

They were both rising from their chairs and reaching for their batons when Gommel, three blocks away, gave his orders.

Author’s NOTEs:

1 - Theodore Girardin would be wounded much more seriously on October 16, 1916 when a grenade exploded at his feet.  Theodore would survive the war.  George Girardin, his brother, would not, being killed on June 2, 1918.  The first to lead the way to France was Reserve Lieutenant Eugène Benâtre, age 53, commanding the mobilized 32-man reserve company in St. Pierre - picture of group enroute here: histoire/pgm/jeannette.html

Sadly, Benâtre would also be the very first to die, being killed near Sainte Menehould at the head of that same company (leaving wife and ten children).  The first person born in St. Pierre (Le Premier Enfant de Saint–Pierre) to be killed was Paul Daygrand, on February 27, 1915.  He was a sergent who would have been 19 on March 7; the memorial service was held in St. Pierre on March 17, 1915.  Thus, only two of the ~100 deaths had yet to be suffered and reported.

Collectively, Miquelon, 1915 population <4,000, would send about 500 men to fight in France and one out of every five died.  Though many left to join the conflict in small groups and even as individuals, the major departures were as follows:

- 1914, August 4 - LT Eugène Benâtre, with the mobilized reserve company (32),
- 1915, February 2 - Class 15" (1915) - about 350 - men 20 - 42,
- 1915, May 29 - Class 16" (1916) - 25 young men
- 1916, January 8 - Class 17" (1917) - 20 young men

2) The word schwerpunkt resists exact translation, though the following English approximations are often offered: center of gravity, organizational focus, and point of main effort.  Here, the two KM leutnants meant it in an elitism sense, in that Siegfried was making the facetious claim that his force was in such a role as a matter of merit.

3) Sumpfhühn’s actual rank is Matrosen-Stabsgefreiter, which translates as senior leading seaman.  The USN has a leading seaman rank, but not this one, nor the next one up the chain: Matrosen-Stabsobergefreiter.   I have used what I think is the closest equivalent title: third-class petty officer.  Unless I get swamped with refutations, this is how I’ll interpret this rating.

4) They were on the (present-day) Rue de Jacques Carter where it debouches onto the Place before the Cathedral.  They had seen no street signs, there being very few as directions have always been given by turns at the names of each maison (which bore the name of the inhabitant family).

5) See:

6) The Newfoundland legislature passed a bill in 1904 that barred the export of live bait.  The intent had been to reduce the competition from St. Pierre - Miquelon fishing.  It had succeeded in that, and the consequences on the French islands were devastating.  In fact, that law was the primary reason for the decline in catch, population, and prosperity described in previous chapters.

by Jim

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