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JK Rowling in tears over great-grandfather's bravery during WW I

August 18, 2011 - Washington

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was reduced to tears during the recording of a British TV show about her great-grandfather's bravery during World War I.

Rowling was learning about her lineage on the genealogy show 'Who Do You Think You Are?' when it was revealed to her that her ancestor, Frenchman Louis Volant had joined the 16th Territorial Infantry Regiment in 1914.

The 46-year-old writer was taken aback when a military historian made known that Volant was given a Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) medal for his courage and bravery after killing several German soldiers.

"Oh my God... He killed several German soldiers. Oh my God. He was seriously injured in the arm and side by a shell, OK. Oh my goodness me... Amazing. That's absolutely amazing," Contactmusic quoted her as saying.

Rowling then burst into tears as the historian handed her a replica of Volant's Croix de Guerre.

But the author was in for a shock when she visited her ancestor's final resting place and found Volant had been buried in a communal grave. His remains were dug up and removed from the site in 1968 because of overcrowding at the cemetery - and none of his relatives were informed.

"I must be honest, part of me is very angry because he had family, and until relatively recently he had quite close family... The last of his children didn't die very long ago. And certainly my mother, who was so keen to find where he was buried, couldn't have had no idea what had happened. It's such a pity for a really extraordinary man," Rowling added.


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