Au Reviour and Merci my Fromelle Families and Friends

Saying good bye is so hard – Last night my Fromelles Families all got together to give me a farewell. Each and every one of my families has had a very special part of my heart and they have been part of the most wonderful experience of a life time. It was a very special moment and in my emotional (quick for those who know me well) I forgot to say the biggest thank you of all to Jean-Gabriel Masson. So here is my thank you to you – for all you have done from organising my families, lunches, the school, the studio, materials, emergency remedies, my 2 Exhibitions, transportation, outings, Pheasant Wood, Commemoration Ceremonies, dinners, ANZAC Day and the list goes on – For you to do this on top of your own employment, your wonderful family and the many other things you do for the service of the community – I sincerely thank you – Merci Beacoup

Fromelles holds a special spot in my heart – in part or mostly – because of my wonderful Fromelles Families and Friends xxx Deborah

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Magnifique Results

A big Merci to all my Fromelles friends – The results of the ceramique pieces fired so far are outstanding Deborah xxx


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Adding colour to our clay

Fabulous day yesterday painting in Fromelles

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Glazing and Gallivanting around Fromelle :)

The lovely Thérèse my new host helped me glaze some koalas and kangaroos and made a beautiful cross for our garden.


Then with Thérèse and Gervais and Regine, I Deborah (yes me for those who know my fear of heights and will not believe this) climbed up the bell tower at the church at Fromelles. Amazing but true and i have the pictures to prove it. I may have been slow and it may not have been the most dignified of exits as I climbed down but woot woot (translation – exclamations of delight and excitement) you should see the view from the top. and very few people have the honour of being able to go up there WOW.

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Ypres and the land of Belgium

Wednesday was a fabulous day – a huge thank you and a hundred Merci’s to Brigitte and Liz Millward for a fabulous day out in Belgium. By pure chance I came across the grave of Paddy Bugden – Thérèse Ingelaere Bless her – gave me a book on ANZACs there was Paddy and the details of where he was buried. A quick request to Liz and as the grave was near where we were going to Iper that very morning and we found it. I was able to place Anne’s cross on Paddy’s grave. Hooge Crater, Polygon Wood, Tyne Cot and the Last Post at the Menin Gate. 

 Thank you Liz and Brigitte for the most wonderful wonderful day xxx



Polygon Wood – And an interesting chat with Mark Booth who is working with CWGC planting the beautiful flowers on the graves in all the Commonwealth Cemeteries.. A lot of planning and work goes into the selection of the plants and design of the planting. It is interesting to learn about something which I hadn’t given much thought to before – except to admire the stunning blooms of the flowers

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The most amazing collection of Trench Art at Hooge Crater BelgiumP1030969

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Waltzing Matilda with the Traralgon Brass Band

Sometimes life gives you an opportunity to share a special moment with people you have never met before. I have had a few of those moments over the last few weeks and this morning I was privileged to have another of these special moments. I was asked yesterday if I would like to come along to see some Australian musicians who were visiting Fromelles. Of course I said.

I thought there were 7 people. Turns out I had the pleasure of meeting 2 bus loads of Traralgon Brass Band members and their supporters (Melbournites:) A few of the members had relatives whose names were on the wall at VC Corner. They had a very moving service – played Waltzing Matilda (Yes there were tears in my eyes).

And I had one cross left – which I had brought with me from Australia. In a very touching moment 2 of the young members of the group wrote a message and placed the cross at the Memorial – and as promised I have taken the cross and placed it on the grave of T J Cosgriff – a relative of one of the band members.

I had also made 7 ceramic crosses for the members to carve a message into.  How wonderful for the relatives of those brave men who died in the Battle of Fromelles to inscribe the crosses for our Fromelles project.

Safe journey my new friends and I hope your repetition at Villers Bretonneau is as moving as the music was this morning.


Debby xxx


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“Once Lost, Never Forgotten” now at Musee de la Vie Rurale


A huge thank you to Jean-Pierre Renaux and the staff of the Musee de la Vie Rurale for exhibiting my artwork and for your kindness this morning. It is an honour to be exhibiting at

Once Lost, Never Forgotten         Steenwerck Rurale Museum, Steenwerck 27 May – 30 June 2015

Deborah Gower is currently the Artist-in residence at Fromelles – Maison de Association.  It is the past association with Steenwerck that originally brought this area of France to Deborah’s attention.  After researching a family tree, Deborah discovered a second cousin, Ernest Austin Ainscow.

Ernest Austin Ainscow 1898-1917 was killed in WW1 and is buried in Trois Arbes Cemetery, Steenwerck.

Deborah Gower est une artiste qui réside actuellement à Fromelles- la Maison des Associations. Suite à ses recherches généalogiques, elle a retrouvé un cousin de deuxième degré, Ernest Austin Ainscow (1898-1917), qui a été tué pendant la première guerre Mondiale et enterré au cimetière des Trois Arbres à Steenwerck.

Some long lost letters home from Ernest to his sister Lucretia, revealed a young Cairns lad who enlisted in the first  World War to protect his family and friends – fair hair, blue eyes, who loved music, cared for his family and friends and gratefully took the good he found – the best of his “here and now”.

Quelques longues lettres destinées à sa sœur Lucretia ont été retrouvées, elles révèlent un jeune homme de Cairns, qui s’est engagé dans la première guerre mondiale pour protéger sa famille et ses amis. Il avait des cheveux blonds, yeux bleus et il aimait sa famille et amis, la musique, et profitait de bons moments au jour le jour.

Ernest wrote this verse in his sister Lucretia’s autograph book in 1913.  He enlisted in 1916 and from his letters home in 1916-1917 he seems to have done just that – watching the horses, going to dances, seeing flowers in bloom in England, meeting up with friends and sharing meals.

Ernest a écrit ce verset dans le carnet d’autographes de Lucrèce en 1913. Il s’est engagé en 1916, et d’après ses lettres de 1916 à 1917 il semble avoir fait exactement cela – regarder les chevaux, aller danser, voir des fleurs éclorer en Angleterre, retrouver des amis autour de bons repas.

In June 1917 Ernest was shipped out to France and taken on strength into the 47st battalion in Belgium.  He was 19 years old when on 12 August 1917 he died from injuries on the battlefield.

En Juin 1917 Ernest a été expédié en France puis a rejoint le 47ème bataillon en Belgique. Il avait 19 ans quand, le 12 Août 1917, il est décédé suite aux blessures sur le champs de bataille.

Buried in Steenwerck, France he is remembered in Australia by his relatives and a younger generation from Cairns, some of whom came to visit his grave earlier this year.

Enterré à Steenwerck en France, on ne l’oublie pas en Australie, sa famille ainsi qu’une génération plus jeune de Cairns, dont certains sont venus visiter sa tombe plus tôt cette année.

In May and June this year Deborah was honoured to visit his grave at Steenwerck and remember her long lost relative through her ceramic and mixed media exhibition at Steenwerck Rural Museum.

En mai et Juin de cette année Deborah a eu l’ honneur de se recueillir sur sa tombe à Steenwerck et se souvenir de son parent perdu depuis si longtemps, à travers son exposition de céramiques et de techniques mixtes au Musée rural Steenwerck.




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