Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Casualty in the Rice Family

Ethel's Scrapbook is now back online after a short pause. I took some time off from blog writing during and after the Boston Marathon Bombings which affect my community deeply. My family and I were all safe, but it was a powerful experience which required some time and reflection. To read more about my experience visit my other blog Past-Present-Future's post Living History-Boston Strong.

It seems appropriate to return to my grandmother's scrapbook, which this next article, which happens to be chronologically the next entry on the page I left off. Timed perfectly with Memorial day, this article tells the story of a WWII young soldier who lost his life.

Prof. Moraud Cables Rice Son Is Killed

Sep 15, 1939

Young John Moraud, Who Formerly Lived in Houston, Presumably Lost Life in Military Service.

John Moraud, second son of Dr. Marcel Moraud, professor of French at Rice Institute, was killed in France, presumably in military service, it was learned in Houston Friday. 

Doctor Moraud cabled Rice Institute that his son had been killed and that his sailing for home to resume his duties at the institute would be delayed. 

Jon, about 19, who formerly lived in Houston, was going to school in France. He had looked forward to joining the French navy, said friends here, but after studying to enter the navy he was not selected, because native French citizens were the first taken. John then turned to other military studies, the friends said. They did not know what branch of military he entered.

Chose French Citizenship.

His father was in the French intelligence service during the world war, stationed in Washington. John was born in the United States and, under the law of France, had the choice of being a French citizen if he so chose. He decided to become a French citizen when he selected a military career, the friends here said.

Brilliant Student

Before going to France to attend military school, John was a member of Boy Scout troop No. 11. under Scoutmaster C. W. Gribble. 

The youth spoke both French and English fluently and was called a brilliant student. His older brother, Marcel, Jr., is studying to be a professor of French and English, so that he can alternate between the two countries, as his father had done. Besides the two boys, Doctor Moraud has two daughters, the oldest May Elise having attended Rice for a time. 

Doctor and Mrs. Moraud and their younger daughter had gone to France early in the summer to visit the other children, the Houston friends said. Their Houston residence is at 1216 Bartlett Street.

This article, seems to have been published immediately after Rice received the cable from Professor Moraud, and missing information. It will be interesting to see if Ethel wrote about the fallen soldier, later on.

Dr. Marcel Moraud

Five days earlier, on September 10th,  Ethel published an article listing various Rice professors and their summer trips to Europe titled: Professors at Rice End Europe Trip. There she mentions, professor Moraud's expected return that same week. I attached a photo of Dr. Moraud on that post, but thought to repost it here as well.

This is the first article in the scrapbook, dealing with WWII. I found it interesting to note that World War II was not known as a world war as of yet and therefore when Ethel refers to WWI and professor Moraud's role as a French intelligence officer, she only refers to the great war as "the World War". Life at Rice, like in most of the United States, was very sheltered from the events in Europe, but slowly, even as early as 1939, incidents like this one are testament to the trickling effect the war had across the ocean.