Monday, 4 January 2016

More on Dagmar and Carl Dyring

In a recent blog entry I wrote about the war time experiences in Egypt of Dr Carl Dyring of Coburg and his wife Dagmar (nee Cohn). You can read about it here

Since then, a member of the Cohn family has made contact and kindly shared some more of the family story, including the following photos of the Dyrings.

The photos are from a book about the Cohn family: Tablets of Memory: The Bendigo Cohns and their Descendants 1853-1989 by Alan A Cohn, Jack M Cohn and Lawrence J Cohn; Antelope Press, Doncaster, 1990.

Other information from the  Cohn-Bruinier Family Archives include letters written by Dagmar's nephew Trooper Leo Cohn of Bendigo.

Photo courtesy Cohn-Bruinier Family Archives 

Leo Cohn's letters home add a little more colour to the story of the time Carl and Dagmar Dyring spent in Egypt.

For example, on New Year's Day 1916 he wrote 'We went out with Auntie Dag and Uncle Carl. We went through the old Coptic Churches... We also went over the Mosque of Marod [Murad].. When we got back we went to Groppi's for afternoon tea ... Groppi's is the most fashionable cafe in Cairo.'

Cafe Groppi, January 1916. Image courtesy AWM. Image number C00008.

It is interesting to note that Cafe Groppi is still open and you can read some of its history here and here. A search of Google images will give you an idea of just how glamorous it must have seemed to the Australian troops, many of them country boys and men who had  rarely been to the city, let alone an exotic location like Cairo. No wonder the AWM describe it as a 'favourite haunt of Australian soldiers'.

On Saturday 22 January 1916, Leo Cohn and his Auntie Dag and Uncle Carl toured the Tombs of the Marmalouks [Mamelouks]

The following Friday Leo went to Auntie Dag's for dinner and reported that 'Uncle Carl has been ill but is pretty right now.' Two weeks later he wrote that 'Uncle Carl and Auntie Dag have gone to Luxor for four days. Uncle has not been too good.' 

We know from the official record that Uncle Carl was sent back to Australia with emphysema and heart trouble soon after. Leo records that Auntie Dag was preparing to leave Cairo in early April and we know that by May she was back home in Bendigo. Her husband returned in December and retired from his busy practice in Coburg, thus ending the family's association with that suburb.

Thanks to the  members of the Cohn-Bruinier Families who have allowed me to publish this material. 

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