Six people may hold the key to a Belgian man’s Hartlepool quest

The wedding of Paul Rasquin and Nellie Boyes.
The wedding of Paul Rasquin and Nellie Boyes.

Any one of six people may hold the key to Marc de Vulder finally finishing the Hartlepool aspect of his family tree.

Marc, who comes from Merelbeke in the East Flanders area of Belgium, first established links with our town through his grandmother Nellie (Nelly) Boyes who came from Hartlepool but married a Belgian man who was in the country to recuperate after a war injury.

Marc de Vulder

Marc de Vulder

Marc’s research into Nellie and her sister Bertha Hilda has uncovered links to more people in Hartlepool and now he wants to complete the family tree with our help.

He explained: “The two sisters had a brother called William Ernest Boyes, married to Louisa Ethel Hodgson and they had four children.

“The youngest daughter of this couple, Mary Boyes married Kenneth Reay who died in March, 2010.”

The couple had four children. They uncluded two sons who were Martin Stuart (born in 1956 in Stockton) and Christopher John (born in 1962 and thought to be from Hartlepool).

I believe that at least one of these six can tell me the whole missing link of Nellies’ brother William to complete the Boyes story in Hartlepool

Marc de Vulder

They also had two daughters. One was called Heather who died in 1979, and the other was Hazel who was born in 1965 and married a man named Peart in 1986 in South Shields).

Marc added: “The registrar officer believes that both brothers are still alive and residing in Hartlepool, as well as daughter Hazel.”

Is she still in South Shields? Marc would love to know and to trace Martin, Christopher or Hazel.

Marc would also like to hear from three others who may be able to help as well.

They are John Leech, and Ian and Judith Laurie who are also believed to be still alive and living in Hartlepool or County Durham.

Marc added: “I believe that at least one of these six can tell me the whole missing link of Nellies’ brother William to complete the Boyes story in Hartlepool.”

He also believes that one member of the family could shed light on the circumstances of the death of William.

Marc added: “I hope and strongly believe we will succeed finding one (or all) of these family members.

“Then as far as I am concerned, the circle is round.”

This is a story which started with a romance in 1918.

It began when Paul Rasquin, who was 28 in 1918, was a casualty of the First World War.

He suffered an injury on the battlefield and was sent to England to recuperate.

He’d been wounded in the heat of battle in Flanders Fields. A bullet lodged in his arm as he fought against German troops in the First World War.

But when he arrived in England, he met Nelly, 22, who was from Hartlepool on a trip to Witton-le-Wear in County Durham. They fell in love and married in Geraardsbergen in Belgium on June 17, 1922.

Nellie died of influenza on May 8, 1945. Her devastated family came to Hartlepool where Nellie had been born in Durham Street in Throston in 1896. If you can help to complete the story, email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk