The Anne Longepe Collection

Updated June 25, 2003

We have been fortunate to have received this Robert Service material from Madame Anne Longepe, the granddaughter of Robert W. Service. She has been very gracious and shared with us these rare and interesting items from her collection. She lives in France and her Email address is:

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An introduction from Iris Davies-Service and Anne Longepe 03-21-01
Let me introduce myself :
I am the daughter of the poet Robert W. Service. My name is Iris Davies-Service. I am 84 years old, and I live in Monaco where my parents settled a long time ago during six months of the year.

Many congratulations to Arthur for the very good site. The work is well set out, delighting and interesting, celebrating the life and work of my father Robert Service.

Owing to my great age, my remaining living daughter : Mrs. Anne Longepe (48 years old), mailto :, can answer your questions concerning her grandfather, R.W. Service. Much information is available on this website.

My favorite poem is Fleurette.

I wish a pleasant reading and a lot of pleasure to R.W. Service's fans. Thank you for getting in touch.

Best regards.
Iris Davies-Service and Anne Longepe.

On the 18th of May, 2002 the school of Lancieux in Brittany took the name of "Ecole Robert W. Service".

At the dedication ceremony was Anne and Charlotte Longepe, the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Service. They are pictured on the right with the school head master and several of the children.

Mme Longepe offered a framed photograph of Robert Service, several new books and a book of Service's poems, "More Collected Verse".

She reports, "It was the occasion of a very nice and friendly celebration. We were very moved by this honour."


Anne Longepe delivers a speech at school dedication.

Also pictured are Mr.  Gambert Dymty, a representative of the administrative area; Ch. Jobelin, a deputy who was the former minister of the Francophonie; and the Mayor of  Lancieux.

The pupils of the school had drawn portraits of Robert Service and built a huge cardboard cabin.

 They recited some poems and sang in chorus. They had been rehearsing for several months under the control of an English teacher. A splendid show for children of only 8 to 10 years old.

At the Hommage to Robert W. Service, Lancieux, France, 13 July 1990.

Ann Longepe and  Charlotte Longepe.,
the granddaughter and great granddaughter of Robert Service.


The Family Name of Service

Derived from the Olde French pre 1066 Norman Invasion 'Cervoise', the name was originally job descriptive for a landlord or taverner Specifically the word means 'Ale or Beer' and by usage came to mean the person who served the ale. Not perhaps surprisingly there were a number of medieval attempts to spell the name including 'Cereveyse' and Sereveyse' and there are six recorded spellings in the modern idiom ranging from Service, Servis to Servaes etc...

Family names as hereditary surnames did not come into general use until after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans introduced National Taxation to England which they called the POLL TAX (Poll=Head), in consequence the need for surnames for identification purposes.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Cerveise
Which was dated 1177, The Oxford Pipe Rolls
During the reign of King Henry II, The Builder, 1154-1189.

Scotland, Ireland and Wales obtained formal records later than England, and this is reflected in the recordings. All surnames of every Country have been subject to changes owing to dialect, Civil War, and plain poor spelling!

Individually researched by The Name Origin Research, UK Sales, 137-139 St. Marychurch Road, Torquay, Devon.

The Will Strong Poetry Award, October 12, 1945.

The Hommage Announcement.

Mme Iris Davies-Service, Robert's daughter,
at the 1990 Hommage.  

Mme Iris Davies-Service unveils Lancieux Commeration

13 July 1990



The Allocation of W. Lockhart,
QUERN group, 13 July 1990

Mme Iris Davies-Service
being interviewed by a reporter.

      The 1916 Robert Service Calendar

Aerial survey postcard of Dream Haven.
(Picture center bottom, near the sea, in front of woods,
surrounded by stone walls.)

The grave of Robert W. Service, Lancieux.

This next item is the letter sent to Robert from Princess Grace of Monaco,
thanking him for a book of poems with a personal dedication on the
occasion of her marriage to Prince Rainier III.

The dedication was this:

To G.K

Princess whose magic pen was dipped
    In radiant colours of romance
To write the wonder of you script,
    Your fairy-tale of chance?

Bring us Beauty, Art and Grace
    We welcome to this land of ours
And with our homage take your place
    'mid song and flowers.

Long may you play your golden part,
    Not only to en-sky your name,
But to be throned in every heart
    With heart-fire fame.

A people we, proud of our Past,
    From modern urgency afar,
Long have we hoped with faith steadfast
    To hail with ecstasy a Star.

Here is a letter from the Very Rev. J. Francis Tucker to Robert Service. There is no date, but is was probably 1955 or '56.

Dear Mr. Service:

     It is quite difficult to put in words my appreciation of your over-generous gift to honor Bienheureux Ranier, and to keep from perpetual dis-honor his distressed and worried keeper at St. Charles.
     I felt so overwhelmed by what I deem our Saint's "First Miracle" that I wanted to let the Prince, his protégé, know about it before writing you. Last evening I read the Prince your kind good letter-, noting how the exact amount of my in-debtedness was 70000 francs, and how your cheque (with all the requisites of a mircle: sudden, spontaneous, complete, in answer to prayer!), had met exactly that sum, with a surplus commission for the harassed Curé! - Yes! I know of your verses, but never did you write a more effective line than this lovely note.
     Thank you, my exceptional Friend, whose name goes on my litany of humble prayerful gratitude.
          Merry Xmas! -  to you and yours!

                   Signature: JF Tucker


J. Francis Tucker


The following letter was sent to Service by JF Tucker dated 9 Dec., 1956.


My dear Friend, Mr. SERVICE:

     Thanks for the "Rhymes for my Rags" so kindly dedicated by your hand to me.
     Delay in acknowledgement is entirely your fault:
I mean that of complicity, so enticing is the reading of these delightful meditative entertaining and instructive revelations. - "The Seed"..."Longevity"..."The Palace"...The Shortr Catechism"..."Poor Kid"..."Obesity"...
     Naturally and supernaturally, I don't agree with all the points of meditation, - yet can draw grateful conclusions and resolutions from them all.
     One of the general conclusions is that these lines cannot come from the pen of an agnostic, - no more than can good fruit derive from a bad tree. I have already started to tell St. Peter about this.
     Just one request: Would I be allowed to call you "BOB", if I allowed you to call me "TUCK"? - Be assured that such familiarity among Old Codgers could breed no contempt.
     THANKS for the lovely Photo of another "My Two!"...

                          MERRY XMAS.


Robert Service dedicated Rhymes Of A Red Cross Man to his brother Albert Service.

In memory of

Lieutenant A N P Service

Remembered with honour
Ieper, West-Viaanderen, Belgium.

In the perpetual care of the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

A N P Service
52nd Bn., Canadian Infantry
(Manitoba Regt.)
who died on Friday, 18th August 1916.

Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm) is located 2 kilometres south-east of Ieper town centre, on the Komenseweg, a road connecting Ieper to Komen (N366). From Ieper town centre the Komenseweg is located via the Rijselsestraat, through the Rijselpoort (Little Gate) and crossing the Ieper ring road, towards Armentieres and Little. The road name changes to Rijselseweg. 1 kilometre along the Rijselseweg lies the left hand turning onto Komenseweg. The cemetery itself is located 1.2 kilometres along the Komenseweg on the right hand side of the road.

Historical Comments:
At 2 kilometres west of the village of Zillebeke the railway runs on an embankment, overlooking a small farmstead know to the British Army as Transport farm. It is a place screened by slightly rising ground to the East, and burials on the site of the cemetery began in April, 1915. They were continued until the Armistice, especially in 1916 and 1917, when Advance dressing Stations were placed in the Dougouts and the farm. They were made in small groups, without any definite arrangement; and in the summer of 1917 a considerable number were obliterated by shell fire before they could be marked. The names "Railway Dougouts" and "Transport Farm" were used indifferently, and both are included in the present name. At the time of the Armistice, 1.705 graves were known and marked. other graves were then brought in from the battlefields and small cemeteries in the neighbourhoods, and 258 known graves, destroyed by artillery fire, were specifically commemorated.  The latter were mainly in the present Plots IV and V11.

There are now nearly 2,500, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 400 are unidentified and 261 are represented by special memorials. Other special memorials record the names of 42 soldiers from Canada and 30 from the United Kingdom, buried in other cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed in later fighting.

The cemetery covers an area of 16,374 square metres and is enclosed by a rubble wall, except where it borders the pond. VALLEY COTTAGES CEMETERY, ZILLEBEKE, was among a group of cottages on "Observatory Road", which runs Eastward from Zillebeke village. It contained the graves of 111 soldiers from the United kingdom  and Canada. It was in an exposed position during the greater part of the war, and of the graves init are represented by special memorials in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground. TRANSPORTATION FARM ANNEXE was about 90 metres South-East of the railway Dugouts Cemetery, on the road to Verbrandenmolen. The graves in it were removed to perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke; but the officer, whose grave was not found, is specially commemorated here.



The above pictures supplied by Madame Anne Longepe June 2003

Who writes :- " Last autumn we went to visit Albert Service's grave in Belgium.
We signed the guest's book. We were very moved by the sight of so many graves of soldiers. "


From torrid heat to frigid cold
    I've rovered land and sea;
And now, with halting heart I hold
    My grandchild on my knee:
Yet while I've eighty years all told,
    Of moons she has but three.

She sleeps, that fragile miniature
    Of future maidenhood;
She will be wonderful, I'm sure,
    As over her I brood;
She is so innocent, so pure,
    I know she will be good.

My way I've won from woe to weal,
    And hard has been the fight;
Yet in my ingle-nook I feel
    A wondrous peace to-night;
And over me serenely steal
    Warm waves of love and light.

"What sloppy stuff!" I hear you say,
    "Give us a lusty song."
Alas! I'm bent and gnarled and grey, -
    My life may not be long:
Yet let its crown of glory be
    This child upon my knee.

Baby Sitter by Robert W. service

  Again, we express our thanks to Anne Longepe for showing us these items from her collection. 

Here is a picture of Anne on her grandfather's lap, circa 1956.


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