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The church at Calonne-sur-la-Lys was the scene of Douglas’s account of the Christmas Day service described in the post for December 25th 1915. The original church stood on the site of today’s graveyard, being replaced by a new church in 1892. It was in that church that Lt. Douglas Page described the moaning of the choristers accompanied by the jingling of bells and the old man in the cocked hat admonishing bored children.
That building was totally destroyed by the Germans on the 9th April 1918 during the battle-of-the-Lys, in which Germany gained a good bit of ground during the Spring Offensive of that year. The current Church was built in 1925 but during WW2 its bell tower was destroyed by the Germans as it interfered with fighters taking off from the nearby aerodrome. It was finally restored in the 1960s.
On our visit the church was locked and was showing a lot of signs of neglect. It was a shame to see broken windows adorn the apse and empty drink bottles and cans near the graveyard.
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Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here