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Harry Potter has a French connection?

world Updated: Feb 08, 2009 18:20 IST
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Harry Potter seems to have a French connection -- thanks to its creator JK Rowling whose great-grandfather was a French World War I hero.

According to Rowling, her courageous ancestor Louis Valont had won the Legion d'honneur for his bravery during the Battle of Verdun, the same award that French President Nicolas Darkozy bestowed on her recently.

In fact, Valont, who fought in the trenches of the Western Front in World War II, was wounded and evacuated three times but kept returning to the trenches to fight for French army against the Germans, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

He was awarded the Legion d'honneur for bravery when he was wounded while trying to bring supplies of grenades to French soldiers besieged by German troops at the Fort de Vaux, near Verdun.

The soldier, who married an Englishwoman in 1900, suffered injuries that left him disabled, depressed and with only 50 per cent of his vision in one eye, according to de- classified documents at the national archives in Paris.

He was mobilised on August 2, 1914, the day before Germany declared war on France. In October, after an attack at the village of St Baussand, he was evacuated from the trenches in Lorraine with typhoid and promoted to sub-lieutenant.