WW1 in Alsace - Linge Battle - 63rd Anti Aircraft Regiment - 96th poste semi-fixed

M. Lazare Ponticelli

Mr. Lazare Ponticelli

Hi my Comrade,

That's it, finally, you join us.

Here are many years for which we waited you ; yesterday even I said it to the friends « but when is he thus going to cross his last parapet ? ».

It is the head full of memories, shouts, atrocities, explosions, blood, exactions, that all, we paced throughout the vestibule, the antechamber with the whitewashed walls, at the Field of Remembrance where you are going to put down your pack.

The Paul, who is here since September, 14, one of the first ones there, did not stop raving as in the most beautiful days of replacement, when « the others », These good-for-nothings of lazyboneses were late and when in the mud of the trench, the troop stamped in the cold asking that clouds do not discover the moon.

Gaëtan scrutinized the horizon with his single eye lost at Lachalade and did not stop reviving our memories by imitating the explosion of whiz-bang. You will believe in me if you want, but of his empty orbit, a tear flowed when he evoked his wound and his best friend taken by the same shell which knocked the right side of his face.

François the freshman remained silent, while his thoughts to welcome you, reading and reading again the small welcoming text which it will be in charge of reading you. His right sleeve is empty, but since April, 18, he learnt to live without, despite the pain which this disappeared member provokes him.

And all the others, foot soldiers, artillerymen, cooks, flea-bittens, couriers and stretcher-bearers, knock down in the prime of their life, crushed, massacred, scattered in this land of France, reddened from the North Sea to Alsace.

And you arrive Lazare, with for backdrop a national tribute for all of us, finally, recognized.

Do you think in this tribute, the most humble will be associated ? Do you think that the Émile and Eugène the Parisian will not be any more evoked as cowards, fugitives, suicide ? Do you believe that the guys of Souain, of Vingré, modest corporals and soldierss killed by our own bullets will be entitled to the same tribute ?

Do you believe that all the wounded in the face, the putting in blacklist and all the teammates, locked to have lost the head under tens of hours of bombardments, which finished their life in the anonymity and sometimes the shame, will be too honored ?

Come Lazare, doubtless your disappearance will see getting up a new day.


Text by Alain GIROD


The surviving British veterans on March 12th, 2008
Henry Allingham 06/06/1896
Harry Patch 17/06/1898

The surviving Canadian veterans on March 12th, 2008
Gladys Powers 10/05/1899
John F. Babcock 23/07/1900

The last surviving German veteran on March 12th, 2008
Franz Künstler 24/07/1900

There are no more surviving Italian veteran on March 12th, 2008

The last surviving U. S. veteran on March 12th, 2008
Harry Landis 12/12/1899 04/02/2008
Frank Buckles 01/02/1901

There are no more surviving "Poilu" (French veteran) on March 12th, 2008
Louis de Cazenave 16/10/1897 20/01/2008 Legion of Honor Knight Foreign Infantryman
Lazare Ponticelli 07/12/1897 12/03/2008 Legion of Honor Knight Mountain infantryman
Raymond Cambefort 17/04/1900 16/01/2008 (Is not considered as war veteran) Infantryman, voluntary