Fantassin Desvigne (1)

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Fantassin Desvignes (from Burgundy)

Where does this soldier come from? Where did he get the acuity of gaze, the severe and distinct profile under his legionnaire's helmet? Is he Breton, Picard or Provencal? It matters not. Above all he is French. On his faded coat collar the number 37 certifies that he belongs to one of these famous regiments of the Iron Division, one of those that France was counting on from the first hours. Even though the storm was rumbling on the horizon, he went. He bivouacked on the slopes of the Great Couronné (see in Wikipedia), on the edge of Lorraine's woods, in the valley where the river Seille meanders.
And then he was taken to all the battles. Everywhere, as he says in his own rough language, where there was a "show", he was there in the front line. From the low hills of Morhange to the mud in Artois, from the desolate plateaus of Verdun, menacing under the snow, during the great push to the caverns of the Chemin des Dames (see in Wikipedia), the XXth corps gave freely its strength and its life. If he belonged to one of the typical divisions of the French army, this soldier of the 37th who opens the series of heroes of the Great War is also chosen as the epitome of the soldier type who is now honoured after so much neglect and suffering.