Cross Keys Public House, Totternhoe, c.1905 [Z1130/127]
Wednesday 7th March 1917: Private Basil Gurney of Totternhoe, who is serving in the trenches with the Bedfordshire Regiment, has a “double” serving with the French forces. While billeted in a French cottage recently he became an object of interest to the neighbours, who referred to him as “Abouel”. His French landlady explained that the English soldier bore a striking resemblance to a local lad named “Abel” who was training with the French army. Sometime later Abel returned home on leave and entered the cottage dressed in his blue uniform, only to find his double already there in khaki. One of the English soldiers asked him “Est-ce que votre nom est Abouel?” to which he replied “Oui”. The two men smiled at each other and exchanged hats, each transforming into the other. An attempt was made to take a photograph of the pair but unfortunately it was unsuccessful. The two men are now in the trenches many miles apart.
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer 7th March 1917