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Ange Orsi (from Ajaccio)

They were known as “the maidens with red pompons” because they were so trim, elegant and concerned about their appearance, in their handsome striped jerseys with the wide collar of sky-blue. But they were also young boys too, strong lads sprung from all the shores of France in the wind from the sea, Normans, Bretons, Provencals or Corsicans. Monotonous interminable crossings on the Channel or the Adriatic, in the long winter nights, all lights extinguished, the ships rolling from side to side, on patrol in front of convoys, hard service, service where death was lying in wait at each turn of the screw, treacherous silent death which took its prey without even honouring them in the last bloody fracas of battle. Glorious hours, hours of heavy boredom where the imagination wandered, where dreams went on endlessly, times when the present seemed hard to endure and the past seemed radiant with family, youth and life. France, and the world, have known too little about the achievement of our mariners. The humblest task is not always the least noble.