The message on the back of this postcard was written 105 years ago by a French serviceman during the First World War. The writer was not the man pictured on the front of the postcard. The writer’s name is illegible, and I can’t quite make out the name of the intended recipient or the town where she lived.
Thanks to the message, however, we know the name of the man in the photo. He was Major Mouton, and the dog with him was named Beauséjour. They served in the Ambulance corps. (I haven’t been able to determine the official name for the service, but the stamp on the postcard says Ambulance.) Here’s the back of the postcard, followed by a transcription of the message:
Ma petite chérie
Je t’envoie la photographie d’un de mes amis, M. Mouton, Major à l’Ambulance, qui est pour nous un vrai père de famille et qui a la sympathie de tout le personnel. Il est photographié avec un chien “Beauséjour” — notre favori à tous, qui est très doux et très amusant. Je l’emmène souvent en promenade.
Mets cette photographie de côté. Je tiens essentiellement à la conserver.
Mille affectueux baisers
An approximate translation:
Sept. 21, 1917
My little darling
I am sending you the photograph of one of my friends, Mr. Mouton, Major in the Ambulance, who is for us like a father and who is liked by all the staff. He is pictured with the dog “Beauséjour” — our favorite, who is very gentle and amusing. I often take him for walks.
Set this photograph aside. I’d like to keep it.
A thousand affectionate kisses
(Please feel free to suggest corrections to my translation.)
I would just add that Beauséjour was almost certainly a working dog and not simply a pet. Dogs were widely employed during the war for search and rescue purposes.