Lieutenant Vallette (of the 44th territorial regiment)
Before the war, good old family men, kitted out the best they could in ill-fitting uniforms, the territorials who came to “do their thirteen days” were regarded as figures of fun. But who would have dreamt of laughing at them afterwards, if they had witnessed them at their task, under fire? They provided for France solid troops, calm and admirable. They occupied difficult sectors, held positions under incessant bombardment, they re-provisioned the front line troops by night, which is the most terrible of jobs. They had their heroic moments, and without beating about the bush we can say that in a time of anxiety it was the territorials who saved France. When the onslaught was launched on the Yser the naval gunners whose exploits are well known to everyone were supported by a territorial division which was less talked about, but whose colours were covered in unblemished fame. An old French race, bourgeois and peasant workers who fought for their lives, their traditions and their ideals. It is sufficient to be convinced of their qualities to look at the portrait of this officer of the territorial army: the powerful face of a Frenchman with a serious expression, who knows the value and the necessity of duty; he belongs to the great family of these officers who knew that they must sacrifice to an idea that which they held most dear, the brother of those who are
.......................................“In a just war
Buried beneath the soil, in the face of God”.