21 January 2008

RIP: Louis de Cazenave

Louis de Cazenave
16 Oct 1897 - 20 Jan 2008

ZUI this article from Google News:
World War I veteran Louis de Cazenave died Sunday at age 110, his son said, leaving just one known French survivor of the 1914-1918 conflict.

De Cazenave, who took part in the Battle of the Somme, died in his home in Brioude in central France, said his son, also named Louis de Cazenave.


Born Oct. 16, 1897, de Cazenave was called up to fight in 1916 and served in different infantry regiments before joining an artillery unit in January 1918, according to a statement from the French president's office.

And also this article:
Born on October 16, 1897, de Cazenave signed up in 1916 and served with the fifth Senegalese battalion, seeing active service from December 1916 to September 1917.

He took part in the Second Battle of the Aisne, the so-called Chemin des Dames, part of an offensive launched by General Robert Nivelle that ended in disaster for the French army.

On returning to civilian life in 1919 he became a railwayman. He married and raised three sons before returning to his native region where he spent his days with his family, indulging his love of the famed local salmon fishing.

That article also says:
At 110 years old, an Italian-born Foreign Legionnaire who wants nothing to do with the state funeral proposed by former president Jacques Chirac is the last man standing in France from World War I.

"The first men to fall in the trenches deserve to be honoured as much as the last," Lazare Ponticelli said, according to his daughter Janine Desbaucheron, upon learning of fellow veteran Louis de Cazenave's death on Sunday.


Ponticelli's role has an extra dimension of course: he was born in Italy. And when France's neighbour turned against its previous allies in Germany and the Austro-Hungarian bloc of that era, he also fought in Italian colours.

Ponticelli, who had enlisted in the famed French Foreign Legion at 16 in 1914 and was already active in the trenches, was called up by his homeland. He transferred to an Italian regiment the following year.

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