- Title: Graffiti keep memories of WW1 soldiers alive in tunnels of northern France
- Date: 2nd November 2018
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF WW1 AMERICAN SOLDIERS WHO LEFT CARVINGS ON WALL
- Embargoed: 16th November 2018 14:43
- Keywords: Graffiti WW1 First World War soldiers carvings inscriptions Chemin des Dames 26th division
- Location: BRAYE-EN-LAONNOIS, FRANCE
- City: BRAYE-EN-LAONNOIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00294U3RK7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A RE-FILE OF A PREVIEW STORY FOR THE WORLD WAR ONE CENTENARY WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY FILED ON NOVEMBER 2
A complex network of tunnels houses the memories of thousands of World War One soldiers who left their mark on the walls the Froidmont quarry located near the northeastern French town of Braye-en-Laonnois, not far from the scene of the horrific Second Battle of the Aisne.
Over 1,000 inscriptions, drawings and carvings can be found on the limestone walls of the tunnels, which stretch over 20 kilometres (12 miles) and became a refuge for German, French and American soldiers.
Most of the graffiti was left by American soldiers from the 26th "Yankee" Division, so called because it was composed entirely of National Guard units from New England which is made up of the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island.
The tunnels were occupied from September 1914 to October 1917 by German soldiers followed by French and American troops once the territory was regained by Allied forces.
World War 1, fought out in large part on French soil between 1914 and 1918, left about 10 million dead on all sides and remains firmly anchored in French memories.
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 tunnels are now kept locked and opened only upon request so as to protect the precious history they bear on their walls after several incidents of vandalism.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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