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Gendarme (Gironde)
Military policeman

Gendarmes at the front represented for us, when we were in the trenches, discipline at its most necessary but also at its most disagreeable; policemen on patrolled roads, who dealt severely with doubtful leave-passes, police on the trains taking soldiers on leave, on the stations where our haste to arrive jostled with our sadness at returning; policemen from the quarters behind the lines, who were forbidding to those doing an improvised bit of hunting or fishing; heroic gendarmes of Verdun and Reims, we have mocked you and we owe you an apology. It seemed to us that after we had escaped from extreme danger we had the right to some freedom, and you represented duty and confinement to barracks. Nevertheless you also knew how to be indulgent to our pranks, and your heavy serious moustaches didn’t manage to conceal a kindly smile. You have earned the stripes you wear on your arms with much difficulty and sacrifice, and we will no longer speak ill of the gendarmes, we who have returned from the war; we will not speak ill of them, because they suffered as we did.