- Monument aux Morts (Western Somme)
After the end of the 1914–1918 war there was a frenzy to build memorials to commemorate those who had been killed and it has been calculated that in this period well over 36,000 individual memorials where erected throughout France with the majority of these being built between 1919 and 1926. These memorials are known as "monuments aux morts" - literally monuments to the dead and what are known in the United Kingdom as war memorials.
In the aftermath of what had proved to be such a bloody conflict, with France losing some 1,327,000 men, there was a need to come to terms with the loss of so many and in particular there was a need to create a focal point where people could remember their lost ones. This was particularly necessary when one remembers that few men's bodies were sent home but were buried on or near the battlefields, often a good distance from their home, and in many cases the harsh reality was that there was no body left or insufficient remains to identify the dead person involved; the word "missing" when applied to the dead of the Great War was to cast a shadow over so much of Europe. In France the monument aux morts was to be that focal point; a place that would possibly fill the void which the war had left for so many. In the final analysis the war memorial was to replace the individual grave and gravestone.
Monuments remembering those killed in war had first started to appear in France after the Franco-Prussian war but it was after the 1914–1918 conflict that the monuments started to appear in every town and village. What was new in the approach to the monument aux morts of the Great War was that they were to mark the death of the ordinary citizens and the grief and the loss suffered by their widows, their orphans and their parents, this as opposed to remembering and honouring armies, military leaders or great men of state. On the monuments the list of the dead follows for the most part alphabetically or chronologically. Little is made of rank because the monuments were meant to be egalitarian, as indeed was death. The epitaphs inscribed were often the same. « À nos morts », « Gloire à nos héros ».
With so many monuments involved and in Picardy there are well over 700 in the Somme region alone, it was inevitable that there would be a great variety in the types and forms of monuments erected , especially as they were to prove expensive and the war had left France, and indeed much of Europe, practically bankrupt and in the Picardy region many villages had been totally destroyed; rebuilding the villages was the priority.
In many cases the monument took the form of a simple obelisk, often surmounted by a gallic cock or a croix de guerre and perhaps embellished with a laurel, or some other symbol, and those communes who were able to afford more opted for a sculptural work, this sometimes an individual work by a sculptor but very often a work that was mass-produced and marketed by some of France's large foundries and marbreries. Indeed it was the existence of a commercial monument industry that made the creation of so many monument aux morts possible.
Where an individual sculptor or marbrier was involved we will encounter works of varying complexity and quality and whilst some works were to prove pedestrian many sculptors rose to the challenge and produced works of great thoughtfulness and beauty! Generally the sculptors avoided any display of triumphalism. Many featured representations of a soldier or "poilu" as did our own memorials with a "Tommy" shown in various poses. One thinks of the work of Albert Toft, Louis Roslyn, and the work of many other British sculptors. What sculptors tried to represent in many of the monument aux morts was the great feeling of loss and grief felt throughout France and thus representations and allegories of weeping women, grieving widows, mothers and children were often seen and many of these are quite beautiful.
For the most part it was left to the initiatives of town halls and ex-soldiers associations to raise funds, mostly by public subscription although there was provision in the law passed on the 25th October 1919 for a contribution to be made by the State. This law, which encouraged the “ remembrance and glorification of those who died for France” included the principle of financial support but this was minimal and linked to the actual number of dead lost by the town or village and the commune’s financial means. Many different ways of raising funds were tried; galas, tombolas, fetes, etc. In some cases communes in the fighting zones were "adopted" by communes elsewhere and given funds to cover the costs of the monuments. In some cases there were rich benefactors with funds available and it was not unusual for sculptors not to charge for their work! The law passed by the government stated that a “Livre d’Or” or “Golden book” be written up and kept in every commune setting out the names of those who had died for France and whilst it was stated that a National memorial would be erected in or near Paris and that it was not compulsory for a physical monument to be set up in each commune this was invariably what happened. The laws of 25 October 1919 and subsequent laws enacted by the French Government had addressed the question as to how the nation should remember her dead. It was the concept of the “Livre d’Or” that was established; that the names of the combatants in the Army and Navy who served under the flag and had died for France in the course of the 1914–1918 war should be inscribed in registers lodged in the Panthéon. This embraced not only those killed who had served in the forces but also the names would also be included of those who died as a result of violence committed by the enemy whether in the course of exercising their public duties or in fulfilling their obligations as citizens. The State was to deliver to each community a “Livre d’Or” (literally golden book) in which would be inscribed the names of combatants in the Army and Navy who had died for France and had lived or had been born in that community. It was stated that this book would be held in the rooms of the community (Town Hall) and held at the disposal of the inhabitants of that community. The law further stated that for French people born or living overseas the book would be held in the consulate which had jurisdiction over the commune in which the combatant had been born or had lived. It was the law of the 31st July 1920 which clarified the question of subsidies available from the State. A “ready reckoner” was issued and stated inter alia that the amount of any subsidy would be linked to the number of deaths per 1 00 inhabitants and also took into account the amount of revenues available to any commune; in other words the wealth of any given commune would be taken into account when calculating any subsidy.
Whilst the choice of monument was left to each commune it is worth noting that the law stated that monument aux morts should not bear symbols of a religious nature unless they were erected in a cemetery, and, by and large, this law was respected although there were some exceptions. This often meant that a commune would have its public monument aux morts, placed in say the main square or by the mairie and its parish monument aux morts erected in the church with the latter including the Latin cross or other religious symbols. This was borne out of the great schism between Church and State in France which was crystallised in 1904.
Whilst much has been written about the monument aux morts of France and there has been much exhaustive research, much of which is available on the internet, there is not that much available in English. Thus the idea was born of choosing just one area of France and then visiting and describing her war memorials. Picardy seemed a good choice especially as it was a region so directly involved in the war and the Somme has always had a special resonance with the British since the Great War.
One fact which emerges from a study of the monument aux morts of the Somme is that for the most part they avoid any expression of triumphalism but adopt a sombre and reflective tone with a marked concentration on the portrayal of grief.
Another fact worth noting is that communes tended where possible to choose a sculptor or marbrier who was local to their area.
In the Western part of the Somme region, in the area around Abbeville, there are many monument aux morts and some of these are identified and described below as are the sculptors, marbriers or foundries who worked on them.
Abbeville, which is the capital of the Ponthieu region and lies some 20 kilometres from the sea, is a town dominated by the cathedral-like St Wulfram’s Collegiate Church and here we can see one of the major monument aux morts of the Somme region, this called “Les Patrouillers” (the night patrol). It stands in the Place Foch. The decision to erect a monument by subscription was taken in 1920 and in February 1920 the committee charged with supervising the erection of the monument organised an open competition to which 16 sculptors submitted maquettes including the Parisien sculptor Gauquié. In June 1921 the award for this prestigious monument aux morts was made to the Amiens sculptor Louis Henri Leclabart who had himself seen service with the 12ème R.I.T. The contract signed between Leclabart and the town was for a sum of 90,000 francs to cover the sculpture and engraving of the names of the dead. The monument was installed where Lesueur’s Franco-Prussian war memorial had stood and was inaugurated on the 3rd June 1923 by Maréchal Foch. There are some palms and laurel leaves in bronze on the pedestal, these dated 1927. The pedestal is made from Euville stone and the sculptured group in Lavoux stone. Place Foch has been renamed Place du General de Gaulle.
Louis Henri Leclabart
Louis-Henri Leclabart was born in Péronne, Picardy. He worked in Amiens, exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français from 1910 à 1914 and received the vermeil medal from the City of Amiens in 1911. Apart from the monument at Abbeville he was also the sculptor involved in the monument aux morts at Arry, La Faloise and Marcelcave.
Leclabart in fact saw service in the French army during the 1914–1918 war and at the Chauffour limestone quarry, near to Thiescourt in the Oise, are several remarkable carvings and two of these are by Leclabart. Between 1915 and 1917 this old quarry was used as quarters by the French army, including Leclabart’s regiment. The Leclabart carvings are one of Joan of Arc and another called “La fontaine”.
Fort Mahon Plage
The coastal commune of Fort Mahon Plage, reached by the D532 and north west from Abbeville is a popular seaside resort and it was on the 22nd February 1930 that the decision was taken to erect the monument aux morts in the Place des Sapins. The monument features two fine bas-reliefs on white marble which were the work of the sculptor Paul Ganuchaud. These bas-reliefs include depictions of three soldiers grouped around a machine gun and two others carrying a wounded comrade whilst elsewhere families with children and possessions are depicted leaving the town and passing through a countryside which is in ruins. Inauguration took place on 25 June 1933. The monument aux morts is surrounded by a wooden barrier in the shape of the croix de guerre. The reliefs have been much eroded by years of wind and rain and much of the detail is hard to make out.
Rue lies on the D940 and as part of this village’s monument aux morts we find a relief by Emmanuel Fontaine which features a seated soldier who holds a flag and turns towards an angel who presents him with a branch of laurel. The monument dates from 1921 and was inaugurated on the 18th September 1921. Rue is the capital of the area known as the “Marquenterre”, and has a magnificent 15th century Belfry ( a UNESCO site) , the Chapelle du Saint Esprit (an example of the “flamboyant” gothic style) and a museum dedicated to the Caudron brothers, pioneers of aviation (located in the Tourist Office.)
Emmanuel Fontaine (1856–1935) studied under Alexandre Falguière, Mercié and Louis Noël and worked on the monument aux morts at Hallencourt, Mers-les-Bains, Rue, Saint-Riquier, Terramesnil and Vron. He is also credited with the monument in the Doullens museum entitled "Aux enfants morts pour la Patrie". Emmanuel Fontaine was the sculptor of the statue of Admiral Courbet erected in Abbeville cemetery in 1890, the bust of Emmanuel Bourgeois at Vers, the statue of the King of Bohemia at Crécy, the bas-relief in honour of the patriot Ringois at the entrance to the Musée Boucher de Perthes at Abbeville, the statue dedicated to Ernest Prarond and the monument Boucher de Perthes. Fontaine was made a chevalier of the Légion d’honneur. The statue to Admiral Courbet was badly damaged by German artillery fire in 1918.
The village of Arry lies on the D938 road and here the monument aux morts features a sculpture by Louis-Henri Leclabart which was completed in 1921. A soldier stands stooped in his trench. The monument was erected by the Amiens contractors Grujon and Galland and stands in front of the church.
The monument aux morts in this village stands outside the church of Saint-Quentin. The monument, erected between 1920 and 1921, features an allegory of the French Republic wearing a phrygien bonnet and draped in the national flag. This commune lost 24 from a population of 440 and 700 francs was envisaged as the amount that would be needed for the monument but in the end it cost 4,061 francs.
Marbreries Générales Gourdon
The monument aux morts in Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont features a work by Marbreries Générales Gourdon who were based in Paris with Urbain Gourdon as a director. They produced and catalogued a wide range of subjects suitable for monument aux morts. The sculptors of the works, made in mass and to order, were rarely identified.
Their range included the following editions:-
- “Ange porteur de lauriers”
- “Buste de grenadier”
- "France remettant une couronne de lauriers”
- “Poilu combatant”
- “Poilu mourant en défendant le drapeau”
- "Pro Patria”
- “Victoire soutenant un poilu mourant”
In the Somme region we shall encounter other commercial enterprises who produced and marketed, as editions available "on demand", works suitable for monument aux morts such as Jacomet, Val d’Osne, and Société Antoine Durenne of Somerville in the Haut-Marne.
In this village the monument aux morts is a collaboration between Albert Roze and Jules Dulermez and is a representation of a soldier. The monument was inaugurated on the 11th September 1921.
With each region in France tending to give priority to their own local sculptors it is not surprising that the Picard sculptor Albert Roze (1861–1952) should figure so prominently in the monument aux morts of the Somme region ; indeed he was to work on 23 monuments in all. Roze was the Director of the "École Nationale des Beaux-Arts of Amiens" and was a member of the “Commission d’éxamen des projets d’érection de Monuments Commémoratifs aux Morts de la Guerre”, a committee set up to keep an eye on the nature and aesthetic value of proposed monuments. He also sat on the jury organised by the town of Montdidier to choose their monument. Roze also carried out the sculptural work involved in the monument aux morts at Allery, Buigny-les-Gamaches, Camon, Longueval, Oisemont, Ribemont-sur-Ancre, and Rollot.
It was also Roze who sculpted the statue of Mary and the infant Jesus on the top of the Basilica of Notre Dame de Brèbieres in Albert. This statue was to become something of a legend in the First World War. It was hit by a shell on 15 January 1915 and left leaning precariously in a horizontal position and the myth grew that whoever caused the statue to fall would lose the war. Fortunately the legend was off the mark and the statue fell in April 1918 when the British bombarded the Basilica to prevent the Germans using the tower as an observation post! We can see other works by Roze in Amiens and the Somme region including:-
- A monument to Jules Verne. This shows a bust of Jules Verne and three children reading “Voyages éxtraordinaires”. It was completed in 1908 and stands in Jules Verne square in Amiens.
- A pediment above the former Savings Bank in the Place de la République in Amiens.
- The remarkable tomb of Jules Verne in the Madelaine cemetery in Amiens. Rue Saint-Maurice.
- The statue “Angelique and Medor” in the Place Longueville, Amiens.
- Sculpture on the Caisse d’Épargne in the Rue de la Republic (Passages des Jacobins), Amiens.
- St Jeanne d’Arc in the Église Saint-Remi. Amiens.
- Sculpture “Marie sans chemise” on the famous Dewailly clock in Amiens.
- Statue in bronze of Antoine Augustin Parmentier in Montdidier.
- Eight statues at the entrance of the church of Nôtre Dame in Doullens.
Roze often worked with Jules Dulermez, the Amiens based marbrier. A great number of the French monument aux morts had a marble content and the profession of "marbrier" or "marble cutter" was a highly regarded one in France
Roze is buried in Amiens in the Cimetière Saint-Acheul. 
Whilst in the region north of Abbeville we can visit the commune of Quend, which is situated between the estuaries of the Somme and the Authie, and on the D940 north of Rue. The monument aux morts here is another collaboration between Roze and Dulermez this one featuring a standing soldier. This monument stands in front of the church and was worked from Chauvigny stone. The inauguration took place on the 28th November 1920. On the pedestal supporting the figure of the soldier we have a relief featuring the croix de guerre.
To the east of Quand but best reached by going south on the D940 and D32 and then north on the D1001 is the commune of Vron and here we have an opportunity to see another work by Emmanuel Fontaine- a figure of a poilu (French soldier).
At the foot of the soldier lies a German helmet.
Again on the D901 and in the area north of Abbeville is the monument aux morts in the commune of Crécy-en-Ponthieu, which lies just along from Machiel on the D938. This monument is a work by Jules Dulermez , the Abbeville marbrier. It was inaugurated on the 9th October 1921. It was at Crécy that King Philippe VI of France was defeated by King Edward III of England during the Hundred Years War, this with huge help from the English archers. The English King landed at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue on the 13th July 1346 and the battle at Crécy took place on the 26th August of that year. Crécy was merged with the nearby commune of Marcheville in 1973. The Forest of Crécy lies to the south east of the town.
The monument aux morts at Canchy was completed in 1921 and stands in the Place Charles de Gaulle. Inauguration took place on the 20th November 1921. When the monument was unveiled there was apparently some disquiet amongst the people present as the “poilu” portrayed seemed somewhat on the “portly” side. However such feelings soon subsided and the citizens of Canchy are now most proud of their soldier. The “poilu” portrayed is a “look-out” man and sits in a trench. His rifle rests against his knee and at his feet are some spare grenades. On the monument the names of the great battles of the war are listed- Marne, Verdun, Somme, Yser. This monument aux morts was the work of André Abbal (1876–1953).
Another view of this sculpture is shown below-
André Abbal came from a family of masons in Montech. He studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse and at the Paris studios of Alexandre Falguière and Mercié. Abbal was one of the founding followers of the technique of “Direct Carving”/ “en taille direct” and as early as 1919 was known as the “L’Apôtre de la Taille Directe”.
Abbal was the sculptor of the monument aux morts at Moissac in Tarn-et-Garonne,Midi-Pyrénées, this completed in 1925.
Other work by André Abbal includes some sculptures in the Parc Clément Ader in Muret in the Haute-Garonne. Clément Ader, a pioneer of aviation, was born in Muret and on his death in 1925 the town decided to commemorate his life and this led to the creation of a park with various sculptures all with the theme “the conquest of the air”. Paul Landowksi created the main sculpture and other sculptors, including Abbal, and all from Toulouse, made individual contributions. The park was opened in 1930.
Abbal also decorated the front of the building in the rue Raynouard/rue Berton in Paris with a sculptured group. The building was constructed by the Perret brothers, architects, and one of the brothers, Auguste Perret, had an apartment on the 7th floor of the building. 
Abbal also worked on some of the friezes of the “ Monument aux combattants victorieux” in Toulouse. Henri Raphaël Moncassin (1883–1953) Camille Raynaud, Jean-Marie Fourès and his son, Jean Fourès, also worked on this magnificent monument.
One can also see Abbal’s work "Boule de Neige" in the grounds of the Université Paris-Sud.
The commune of St-Riquier lies just a few kilometres to the north east of Abbeville and is reached by the D925. The monument aux morts here features sculptural work by Emmanuel Fontaine and was inaugurated on the 10th October 1920. The same monument was erected at Terramesnil near Doullens- a Gallic cock sits triumphantly atop a garlanded pedestal.Saint-Riquier is an ancient fortified town and has an imposing Gothic Abbey, cathedral like in size.
Épagne Épagnette lies on the D901 and south from Abbeville. This commune’s monument aux morts is most unusual and was conceived by the parisien architects Bive-Duchemin. It comprises a composition in cement meant to simulate rocks and has a gallic cock perched at the top. One feature of this monument is that it shows where each man remembered was killed. Inauguration took place on the 12th November 1922.
Again on the D901 and south from Abbeville one can join the D3 and travel to the commune of Longpré-les-Corps-Saints. This commune derives its name from the relics which the church founder, Aléaume de Fontaine, had sent from Constantinople during the Crusades. There was already a monument in this commune called "des Mobiles de 1870" erected in memory of the Franco-Prussian war and after the First World War a decision was taken to add a Gallic cock and a marble plaque with the names of the 42 men of the commune killed in that war. The monument was inaugurated 2 April 1922 but only after some more ambitious plans to add reliefs to the monument and a plaque was added by Souvenir français, dated 28 December 1893 in honour of the citizens of Longpré-les-Corps-Saints killed on 28 December 1870. The relief was the work of Auguste Carvin and features a poilu resting on his rifle with laurel and a cross at his feet. Sadly Carvin's relief is very worn.
From Longpré-les-Corps-Saints and just across the Somme river is the commune of Long whose monument aux morts features a bronze cast by the foundry Fonderies Montagutelli Frères of Paris. This was the work of the sculptor Georges Chauvel (1886–1962). It is entitled “La France couronnant un soldat blessé ” and shows a wounded soldier receiving a crown of laurels from a female figure representing France. On the pedestal itself there is a bas-relief this showing the mobilisation of Long and featuring the then mayor of Long and the men of Long killed in the war all responding to the call to mobilise.
Auguste Carvin (1868–1949) was born in Sin-le-Noble in the Nord region, and had studied at the Beaux-Arts in Amiens under Henri Désiré Gauquié and Albert-Dominique Roze and then chosen to live in Amiens this no doubt influencing those communes who chose him as the sculptor of their monument aux morts. He was certainly highly regarded and liked to portray workers and peasants in action. Best known as a sculptor of animals, he was also responsible for the composition “L’hortillone” for the Caisse d’Épargne in Amiens.
Airaines lies on the D901 and here the monument aux morts features a fine relief sculpted in 1922 by Albert-Dominique Roze. It shows a dying soldier and the vision that he sees when close to death. Airaines also includes Dreuil-Hamel once a separate commune but joined with Airaines by a decree of 26 September 1972. The monument aux morts is situated in the Rue Aristide Briand near to the church and was constructed in 1922. The decision to erect a monument aux morts was made in June 1919 and it was erected in 1922 by Grujon and Galland of Amiens based on the plans of the Amiens architect Lemaire. Unveiled on 28 May 1922, the relief was sculpted by Albert-Dominique Roze in Lavoux Stone for 10,000 francs. The low-relief is called "La Vision du soldat morant" and was a fine response to the request to the sculptor that the monument would reflect "la hauteur du sacrifice". The monument is surrounded by a metal grill and two stones upon which is a metal urn. Two plaques placed near the monument remember those who died in the Second World War.
The final line of the famous Victor Hugo poem "Les Chants du crépuscule" is inscribed on the monument.
Ceux qui pieusement sont morts pour la Patrie,
Ont droit qu'à leur tombeau la foule vienne et prie.
Entre les plus beaux noms leur nom est le plus beau.
Toute gloire près d'eux passe et tombe éphémère ;
Et, comme ferait une mère,
La voix d'un peuple entier les berce en leur tombeau.'''
If we drive along the D40 we will reach Le Crotoy, a seaside town, which lies on the D40 north east from Abbeville and here there are three monument aux morts in what is only a small town. One is to be found in the town centre, the second by the cemetery and the third in nearby St Firmin. The first two monuments are from Marbreries Générales Gourdon and are both dated 1921. One is a bronze called “Poilu et Marin Combattant” and the second in white stone is called “Poilu mourant en défendant son drapeau”. The monument in St Firmin is a work of the marbrier Dulermez of Abbeville and dates from 1920. The contract with Gourdon was for 21,000 francs. The St Firmin monument cost 6,500 francs. It was in Le Crotoy that Joan of Arc was imprisoned in 1430 before being taken to Rouen via Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and it was in this commune that Jules Verne wrote “20,000 Leagues under the sea.” There is a statue of Joan of Arc on the Le Crotoy promenade and also in the town there is a fine monument commemorating the Caudron brothers, pioneers of aviation.
At Saint-Valery-sur-Somme we have another monument aux morts with sculptural work by Albert-Dominique Roze, this completed in 1922, and another collaboration with Jules Dulermez. The monument faces the local cemetery, a site chosen in 1921 by the municipal council. A contract was signed with Roze in August 1922 for the sum of 45,000 francs. The monument is worked in Chauvigny stone and the monument was inaugurated on the 22nd October 1922. It was from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme that William the Conqueror set out to invade England in 1066. The port was also used in the First World War as one of the supply routes for the front-line.
At Cayeux-sur-Mer the monument aux morts dates from 1921 . It is situated at the entrance to the Cayeux-sur-Mer cemetery and was inaugurated on the 23rd October 1921. It is another featuring a work by Albert-Dominique Roze; two figures stand at either end of a wall on which the names of those commemorated are listed, one an infantryman/soldier, the other a marine, the representation of these two arms of the army reflecting the fact that Cayeux-sur-Mer is a coastal town. The monument was carved from Chauvigny stone, cost 35,000 francs and replaced a statue by Léon Parmentier, dedicated to those whose lives were lost in the Franco-Prussian war. There is another monument in the cemetery which remembers the allied soldiers who died in the town’s military hospital.
The monument at Ault which dates from 1921, is set against the wall of the church. It features a soldier standing with head bowed and arms crossed on his rifle. The inauguration took place on the 16th October 1921. The cost of the monument was 15,000 francs and it was the work of Paul Landowski.
Paul Landowski (1875–1961) was one of France’s most accomplished sculptors. He was born in Paris in 1875 and died at Boulogne-Billancourt in 1961. Amongst his better known works are the Reformation Wall in Geneva featuring statues of Guillaume Farel, Johannes Calvin, Théodore de Bèze and John Knox. He also worked on the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks Rio de Janeiro. Amongst his works in France is the memorial to the Battles of the Marne on the Butte de Chalmont called des Fantômes. Landowski attended the French Academy in Rome and was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts).
Other works by Landowski include:-
- 1. Statue of Wilbur Wright at Le Mans (1920)
- 2. Equestrian statue of Edward VII in Paris
- 3. Monument aux morts for the École normale superieure in Paris (rue d’Ulm) (1923).
- 4. Statue on the Pont de la Tournelle in Paris.
- 5. The fountains of the Porte de Saint-Cloud in Paris.
- 6. Monument to the Glory of the French Army 1914–1918.
- 7. Equestrian statue of Douglas Haig (1931)
- 8. Bronze of Charles de Gaulle at Montreuil-sur-Mer.
- 9. Bust of Doctor Armaingaud at Arcachon.
- 10. Monument aux morts at Algiers- Le Pavois (1929)
- 11. Monument aux morts at Casablanca.
- 12. Sculpture on the Panthéon in Paris A la memoire des artistes dont le nom s’est perdu.
Just a little south from Ault is the commune of Mers-les-Bains where we encounter another work by Emmanuel Fontaine. This stands in the Square Henri Barbusse. It was inaugurated on the 17th September 1922. In 1994 a plaque was added with photographs of those resistance fighters who lost their lives during the Second World War. One feature of the Mers-Les-Bains monument aux morts, a feature shared with the monuments at Pont Noyelle, Terremesnil, and St Sauveur, was the use of defused artillery shells as part of the railing around the monument. The sculpture is in Chauvigny and Lorraine stone. It features a soldier one of whose feet crushes the head of a slain German Imperial eagle. Sadly the carving of the eagle has been much eroded by the elements so that the significance of Fontaine’s composition is rather diminished. Mers-les-Bains lies on the border between Picardy and Normandy. It started out as a small fishing village but developed in the latter part of the 19th century when seaside bathing became so fashionable; the railway line opened between Le Tréport and Paris meant a relatively easy journey to this part of the coast.
At Beauchamps the monument aux morts stands in the communal cemetery and was constructed in 1922 by Marbreries Gaudier-Rembaux of Aulnoye in the Nord region. The contract was concluded on the 4th March 1922 . The monument involves a poilu called “Pro Patria” in a single block of marble mounted on a pedestal of Belgian granite. The cost was 12,700 francs, of which 8,500 francs was obtained by public subscription at the beginning of 1922. Inauguration took place on the 2nd July 1922.This marbrerie had four main editions, two were variations of the gallic cock, another was entitled “Victoire” and the fourth was “Pro Patria”.
At Gamaches there are two monument aux morts. The two monuments, one in the Place du Marché and the second in the local cemetery were erected by Dovergne-Seclet a builder and marbrier from Gamaches. Total cost was 25,970 francs of which 20,393 francs related to the monument in the Place du Marché. Inauguration took place on the 21st August 1921. The main monument consists of a pyramid of Breton granite with a statue at the top. This is a statue of a soldier, the work entitled “le poilu en plein combat défendant le drapeau “. One would have taken this as being from the catalogue of Marbreries Générales Gourdon. However it seems that the marbrier Gaudier-Rembaux of Aulnoye presented himself in March 1922 to the neighbouring village of Beauchamps as the author of the Gamaches work so there is a little confusion.
The commune of Friville-Escarbotin is situated on the D2 and D229 crossroads, some 21 kilometres west of Abbeville. This monument aux morts dates from 1924 and is one of Albert-Dominique Roze’s more thoughtful compositions. The monument covers the three communities of Friville, Escarbotin and Belloy. It was inaugurated on the 3rd August 1924 and stands in a square on the outskirts of the village. In the composition we see a widow morning a dead soldier balanced against a young man standing over agricultural and industrial tools and representing the young generation who will be charged with rebuilding France; the rising sun gives a sense of renewal. It was erected on land in front of the then Friville railway station. .
At Chepy one has a chance to see some fine work from the Ansart Family, This family of architects were well known in Amiens and Pierre Ansart (1873–1941) was the architect of several monument aux morts in the region. In one particular monument, that at Chepy, there is some splendid work in mosaic thought to be by Gerard Ansart, one of the Ansart Family. Marcel Sueur did the marble work. The monument was inaugurated on the 21st May 1922. At the bottom of the monument are the words worked in mosaic –“ SOYONS UNIS POUR VIVRE COMME ILS LE FURENT POUR MOURIR”. The mosaic features a blue helmet on an oak branch and lists the major battles of the Great War. At the centre a sword wreathed with laurel runs through the names of the dead. Marcel Sueur worked on several monument auxs morts apart from that at Chepy. He worked for example with Pierre Ansart on the Rubempre monument aux morts which dates from 1920 and also that at Cantigny.
Gallery of images
Some further images are shown below:-
- Patrimoine de France – Source of information on monuments aux morts (French)
- FranceGenWeb – Source of information on monuments aux morts (French)
- ^ http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:GuFAeZUotTIJ:ruedeslumieres.morkitu.org/espace_photos/france/chauffours/index_carriere.html+%22Louis+Leclabart%22+sculptor&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk Information of the Chauffour quarry and work there by Leclabart
- ^ http://www.landrucimetieres.fr/spip/spip.php?article2166. Article includes photograph of Roze's grave in the Cimetière Saint-Acheul
- ^ http://www.culture.gouv.fr/public/mistral/merimee_fr?ACTION=RETROUVER&FIELD_4=AUTR&VALUE_4=SCULPTEUR%20ET%20ABBAL%20ANDRE&NUMBER=2&GRP=0&REQ=%28%28SCULPTEUR%20ET%20ABBAL%20ANDRE%29%20%3aAUTR%20%29&USRNAME=nobody&USRPWD=4%24%2534P&SPEC=9&SYN=1&IMLY=&MAX1=1&MAX2=1&MAX3=100&DOM=Tous The Paris sculptural group by Abbal
- ^ http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:WT_9C4xfpCcJ:www.archives.mairie-toulouse.fr/serv_educa/1914-1918/animation/site/index.htm+monument+aux+morts+Toulouse&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk Abbal's contribution to the Toulouse monument
- Sites of Memory (Historical markers, memorials, monuments, and cemeteries worldwide)
-  A National Archives article giving more information on the Butte de Chalmont (see Paul Landowski above)
- Louis-Henri Leclabart -Information on Louis-Henri Leclabart
- Andre Abbal Museum -Website for Andre Abbal museum in Carbonne
- Paul Landowski Museum  Information on Paul Landowski museum in Paris.
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