08 janvier 2009

From November 1914 to April 1915: Henri fights in Ypres

Meanwhile, Henri was entering Ypres'hell: "...On the 11th [November], the violence of the bombing redoubles, and the German Infantry launches new assaults. The enemy forces are three to four times more numerous. The 90th has been holding the lines for 18 days; the 3rd Batalion in front of Passchendale, the 1st and 2nd Batalions in front of Zillebecke, without relief. The men are exhausted. No more filers. Every day, we had to suffer attacks, but we did progress. But the men have the strong feeling that, like in La Marne, they have... [Lire la suite]
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13 janvier 2009

26th Juillet 1915, in Liencourt: Henri describes in his letters, his fights in Artois, in May 1915

"[...] Without endangering the defense of the country, I am going to tell you what has been our mission since the 9th May 1915. I will take advantage of some permittence-holder on departure to, take care and post my letter: I hope he will succeed in this duty. Firts of all, I have to tell you that I am currently at full rest: general reserve of the Great Head Quarters (General Joffre). Somewhere between Creil and Beauvais, 40 kms from Paris, I am safe. In the middle of a magnificent countryside, with pleasant inhabitants, we are... [Lire la suite]
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15 janvier 2009

Summer - Autumn 1915: the letters sent from the front by Henri

In his letters, Henri took every occasion to describe and comment to his beloved, with distance and humor, his daily existence as a buried soldier: "[...] The weather is fair and cool, but the nights start getting longer. Heavy fogs are coming, now, and we are getting cooler and cooler. I have everything I would require to get covered and warm, and my long stay in campaign got me hardened: I switch from the sun to the rain, then from the hail of bullets to quietness without any worry. Having enough to drink, to eat, and to smoke:... [Lire la suite]
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16 janvier 2009

7th September 1915: the French get ready for the 2nd Battle of Artois

Photography annotated by Henri Baudiment - Lucheux, on the 7 September 1915: "Our generals" [from left to right: 1) under the x sign: General Curé, commanding the 9th Army Corps, 2) facing right: General Deligny, commanding the 153th Division, 3) facing left, and speaking to Deligny: General d'Urbal, commanding the 10th Army, 4) facing left, with the mourning arm-band: General de Castelnau, commanding the Group of the Center Armies]. "[...] On the 7th September,  took place in Lucheux (Somme), an important meeting of Officers... [Lire la suite]
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18 janvier 2009

Loos, on the 11th October 1915: Henri describes his fights in the 2nd Battle of Artois, and the death of Colonel Alquier

"Dear Parents, now I have cooled down for two days, I will take the benefit of this evening to share with you details on the last operations executed by our Army, and which gave the opportunity to the 90th to add a glorious page to its own history. Since the 15th of September, the attack had been under preparation everywhere on the front: night and day, entrenchment works had been conducted to ease the heavy tasks of our offensive to come. I will not comment the successes that were obtained on the Champagne front, or in Artois: the... [Lire la suite]
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21 janvier 2009

Winter 1915-1916: the letters from Henri to Jean-Baptiste

In spite of the rigours of the front, Henri was paying much attention to Jean-Baptiste'health: "Baptiste got a new extension. Let him take the best advantage of it!" [Letter dated 7th Avril 1915] "What is Baptiste currently doing? He does not write anymore! Let him tell me about his episodes in the quarter, how is he managing with the skiver?" [Letter dated End of October 1915] "Baptiste should take time to write me. What is he doing? Soon, he will get some military details". [Letter dated 17th January 1916] "Since I have to... [Lire la suite]
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22 janvier 2009

Winter 1915-1916: the letters from Henri, and his special attentions towards his three sisters...

His thoughts were, too, very often dedicated towards Charlotte... Family photography: Charlotte by 1914. ... towards Augustine...: Family photography: Augustine by 1912. "... of course, I cannot write to everybody separately. Charlotte, Titine keep on asking me for news. So, I have to multiply myself, I am so happy to see how generous they are. Every now and then, I get a parcel from them, cookies, cigarettes, etc... I still have to thank them!" [Letter dated June 1915] "... The present letter which will be of much interest... [Lire la suite]
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23 janvier 2009

Winter 1915-1916: Angèle is ever-present in Henri's letters

Henri used to share frequently news about Angèle, his wife, whom he tried to meet as often as possible: "...For two days, I have been staying with Angèle, 20 kilometers away from the Boches [sic]. Although amazing, this is exact anyhow: with enough boldness and determination, you can brave anything..." [Letter dated 7th April 1915] "... I just had left Angèle on the 5th May; then, on the 9th and on the 10th of this month, we had to give a vigorous battle on Loos [...]" [Letter dated 26th July 1915] "... On the 3rd July, we were... [Lire la suite]
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24 janvier 2009

1st february 1916: the last letter from Henri

Then came the last letter, dated on the 1st February 1916, three weeks only before the German attack on Verdun: "... I am glad to announce you that my next holiday leave to come will be totally dedicated to you. Angèle and myself are currently making some arrangements, and I wish to commit to visit you before the end of next April. This will be a great joy for everyone, and as Angèle was saying, I would not be free of myself. This duty leave will be especially for you. So many stories to tell! And my bag is full of battle episodes! I... [Lire la suite]
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