And Worcester's Adoption of Gouzeaucourt

The British League of Help for the Devastated Areas of France and Belgium was founded in 1920 largely due to the efforts and leadership of Lady Bathurst. Lady Bathurst was a wealthy and influential woman, the proprietor of The Morning Post newspaper. She visited France in 1920 and on her return set up a local group in Cirencester to send help to two villages she had visited: Passel and Ville. From these small beginnings a nationwide organisation grew.

Lady Bathurst - a photo taken in 1902 at the coronation of Edward VII.
Courtesy of Lafayette Studios, Victoria and Albert Museum
The League’s aims were “To come, then, to the rescue of those who have suffered as much on our behalf as on their own, . . . . . to bring practical and personal aid to those who are so sorely in need of it, . . . . . It is very strongly recommended that there should be . . . . .an exchange of visits; . . . . It is to establish a personal bond that the League aims.” British League of Help for the Devastated Areas of France and Belgium, Manifesto 1920. Bathurst Papers, Leeds Library

The League of Help wrote to Mayors across Britain urging the ‘adoption’ of ‘godchildren’ - towns and villages affected by the war. They lobbied local newspapers and held public meetings. As a result about 80 towns and cities adopted ‘godchildren’ in France. 

One was Worcester, who adopted Gouzeaucourt.

The Peace

Of the Peace terms presented to the Germans representatives at Versailles on Wednesday - upon an anniversary of the Lusitania atrocity - it may be safely said that they will provoke two kinds of criticism.

France’s Burden, The Legacy of German Destruction

Paris 14th May 1920

M. André Tardieu, President of Comité des Régions Dévastées, has published the latest official figures showing the losses suffered by France in the Great War:

Press Cutting from Lady Bathhurst’s Collection, Leeds University Library (Special Collection)

Patience in Adversity

How to help France’s wrecked villages

Report of Lady Bathurst’s visit:

British League of Help - 1st Annual Report (Dec 1920)

59 British towns have adopted 79 towns and villages in France, including:

The Mayor of Worcester (Ald. C. Edwards) was recently approached by the British League of Help, with a view to the adoption of some French town or village by the City of Worcester.

British League of Help - 2nd Annual Report (Dec 1921)

75 British towns have adopted 97 towns and villages in France, including: