- Title: Macron pays tribute to soldiers killed at Battle of Verdun on WW1 memorial tour
- Date: 6th November 2018
- Summary: VERDUN, FRANCE (NOVEMBER 6, 2018) (AGENCY POOL) OSSUARY OF DOUAUMONT IN VERDUN MEMORIAL FRENCH VETERANS STANDING OUTSIDE OSSUARY
- Embargoed: 20th November 2018 16:47
- Keywords: World War 1 centenary Verdun soldiers Macron memorial tour
- Location: VERDUN, FRANCE
- City: VERDUN, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVA00195DBL1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: EDIT 0251-WW1-CENTURY/FILE CONTAINS ARCHIVE IMAGES OF WORLD WAR ONE
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute on Tuesday (November 6) to the soldiers killed at the Battle of Verdun as part of his week-long memorial tour for the World War One centenary.
Verdun was the longest and most bloody battle of the conflict, lasting 10 months, and killing around 300,000 French and German troops.
The bodies of 16,000 soldiers, who fell during battles which took place between 1914 and 1918 in the region, lie in the Douaumont Cemetery at Verdun's WW1 memorial. Macron paid his respects by visiting the ossuary and laying a wreath at the memorial.
He was joined by students from a local high school.
In a war fought largely on their home soil, about 8.4 million French soldiers served and about 1.3 million were killed in battles that transformed familiar place names such as Verdun and the Chemin des Dames into bywords for horror and suffering.
The First World War, and its devastating impact on a whole generation remains deeply ingrained in the memories of French citizens.
The lasting image of the war was the trenches that snaked across northern France and Belgium where soldiers, hunkered down in the mud, fought a terrible war of attrition where territorial gains could be measured in a matter of meters (yards) won over months and years.
The physical impacts of the Battle of Verdun can still be seen, with the traces of old trench networks scarring the fields, and the ground pockmarked by the blast holes from exploded shells.
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