A First World War French dragoon officer’s bedroom has been preserved for almost 100 years exactly as he left it in 1918.
Second Lieutenant Hubert Rochereau lived with his parents in the village of Bélâbre in central France. When he was killed in 1918, they kept the room just as it was the day he left them after his last period of leave.
Rochereau died on 26 April 1918 in Belgium after being wounded in fighting near the village of Loker. He was awarded a posthumous Legion of Honour for bravery and his name is on the war memorial in his home village.
According to a report in La Nouvelle République newspaper, the young man’s room is eerily complete. His blue jacket still sits on a stand. His books rest in piles on the mantelpiece and his bed is still covered by the same lace spread as it was nearly a century ago.
Kept unchanged for 500 years
When the Rochereaus sold their home in 1935, they made the new owners sign a clause stating that the bedroom where their son was born in 1896 could not be changed for 500 years.
On the desk is a vial with a label saying it contains ‘the earth of Flanders in which our dear child fell and which has kept his remains for four years’.
The current owner of the house in the village in central France, Daniel Fabre, said the clause on maintaining the bedroom has no legal value but that he intends to honour it. Mr Fabre, a retired civil servant, and his wife inherited the large family home from her grandparents.