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14 August 2012

Raoul Hurpin (189?–?) soldier, housewife.

Raoul Hurpin was a noted ladies’ man. He was in the French Army during the Great War. His trench was demolished by a shell, and he was buried alive. He was rescued, and was then three years in hospital. By this time he had become a women.

One of Hurpin’s ex-girlfriends sued for breach-of-promise to confer legitimacy upon her son, so that he could take up a provincial government post. Hurpin admitted responsibility, and medical testimony was taken. Hurpin was declared the father of the child, but it was now obviously impossible for her to marry the women.

Proceedings were then taken to secure legal recognition that Hurpin was a women, and later she married a labourer.
  • Roberta Cowell. Roberta Cowell's Story. London: Heinemann. London: W.Heinemann. New York: British Book Centre, 1954: 105.


This story is found only in Roberta Cowell's Story.  I attempted to check it in relevant book such as Peter Farrer’s Cross Dressing between the Wars: Selections from London Life, 1923-1933, Maxime Foerster‘s Histoire des transsexuels en France and Alice Dreger’s Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex, but to no avail.  Obviously we have insufficient detail.  Most likely Hurpin had an unspecified intersex condition, but that Cowell read a popular account that did not give details.

Cowell does not give Hurpin’s female name.

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