30th January 1916 Sunday
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Mesplaux farm on the outskirts of Locon was about an hour’s walk or a bit less by horse or motor from Béthune, a town of about fifteen and a half thousand in 1916. For most of the Great War it was targeted by the Germans, who had coveted it since the outbreak of hostilities. Until May 1918 it was a British town in France due to the many regiments of the Empire that passed through. Canadians, Australians and Indians and others called it home for periods as they were barracked there, with most of the home comforts for both men and officers. For those camped in the surrounding areas, it was to Béthune that many would head for entertainment during rest periods.
The Café du Globe was frequented by British officers, while the men would go elsewhere. From 1914 until 1918 it was one of “the’’ places to go. There were more upmarket venues, but “The Globe” was a favourite haunt.
Robert Graves recalling his wartime experiences in his book “Goodbye to all that” wrote of the Café du Globe. “Every officer’s charger in at least eight divisions knows the way to its doors: from early dawn to the curfew toll they are lined up in the sunny square outside, chestnut, black, roan, bay, sorrel and mouse-coloured, waiting for their masters that are drinking inside and rather resentful of the dirty little gamins who hold their heads, smoking cheap cigarettes and shouting obscene cosmopolitanisms at passers-by.”
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