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WW1 and Eton, Cote de Meuse

Did you know that there is a small village in Northern France called ETON, which was devastated during the First World War, and was helped to recover by generosity from Eton and Eton College?

In fact, many French towns were helped by associations with 100 UK towns, from small to very large projects to help get their lives back together.

Éton , Cote de Meuse – our adopted town in North France – was hit pretty badly!

Some information was published in ETON matters FEBRUARY 2012

The commune of Eton in NE France dates back to at least 1049 and the time of Pope Leon IX. However, Eton was completely destroyed very early in the First World War on 24th August 1914 by the Germans. At the end of the war. only one building could be repaired; the other 128 were left in ruins.

In November 1920, an Englishman, Mr John Gilmer, started a fund with the old boys of the Eton College to build a new Town Hall and school. £1,100 was raised.

The new building was inaugurated on the 4th April 1926, in the presence of an English delegation led by A.Sommerville, Deputy Mayor of Windsor. On the left wing of the building is the Eton College crest with its motto, "Floreat Etona”. Behind the building there is a street called “Rue du Collège d’Eton ».

Map and Streetview:,5.679492&spn=0.000003,0.003484&t=m&z=19


More information can be found on these web sites:-

letter from Mr Brian Mortimer:-

Dear Sir Madam,

My name is Brian Mortimer and I have over the years been researching certain military history, during that time I came across information that informed me that after the 1st world war certain towns and villages in England and abroad “Adopted” towns and villages in Northern France which was to help them get back to normal life. I am writing to you in your roll as Mayor / Provost to ask you if you could pass this email on to someone that may be able to give information regarding “Adoptions” .

My town of Maidstone in Kent adopted a village called Montauban De Picardie, whereby after raising funds we were informed that the village needed drinking water, so we built a tower with a wind turbine on top to supply the water to the village (which was in use right up to 1978 and is still in place today) installed electric cables, held a party for the local people and gave children and their parents the opportunity for a month’s free holiday in Maidstone, it took many years for the funds to be raised which was carried out by holding “Flag Days, charity dances, Charity football matches” and many other events, this all happened over a number of years and we managed to raise £30,000.00 which was a lot of money back in those days! In 1920 the President of the French Republic held a thank you luncheon in Paris which was attended by Mayors / Provosts of the towns that took part in the adoption, after the luncheon the Mayors then went off to their adopted towns / villages.

So far I have found out that approximately 100 towns took part in the adoption and one of them is your town of Eton. I therefore am asking if there is any information, photo’s or press cutting on what your town did, some English towns built new schools, new town halls, It came down to what the town / village in France asked for. As we appreciate we now are commemorating the end of the 1st world war and there is much spoken about the horrors of the war but very little said about that good things after the war. I am hopping at a later stage to contact the media to promote these findings.

I hope you can help me with this enquiry.

Yours Faithfully

Brian R E Mortimer (Former Mayor of Maidstone)

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