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

The symbol of the bluet

The bluet (also known as centaury) is a flower that grows on wheat fields.

In the language of flowers, the bluet means delicate, tender and naive feelings. It translates the purity of the feelings and a certain shyness.

The bluet was the nickname given to the young 1915 , horizon-blue uniform clad recruits by the first « Poilus » (french soldiers of WW I), who used to wear thoses ominously famous madder-red trousers.

The « French Bluet » is a commemorative symbol of the First World War, It was a brooch or a pin people generally wore at the button hole.

The names of two ladies are associated with this symbol :

- Suzanne Lehnard, a nurse, widow to Captain Maurice Lehnard, who died on the Fiels of Honour in Massiges on Feb, 3rd 1915.

- Charlotte Malaterre, the daughter of General Niox, Commander-in-chief of the hospital Hotel des Invalides.



These two ladies offered the wounded soldiers in the Invalides to take part in an activity which could both allow them to get some some money and help them pass time in hospital.

These maimed soldiers would do some meticulous handicraft : they would cut petals from fabric and stamens from newspapers in order to make bluets to remember the 1915 recruits metionned above. (horizon-blue was the field-service colour).

These mutilated , disfigured, soldiers, with cut off limbs (known as « gueules cassées » : disfigured ex-servicemen) helped one another to carry out this task and they started to reconsider the prospect of getting a professional life again as they realized they could still do some work.

At the beginning this production was sold in Paris only but when in 1928 President Doumergue decided to patronize the association of the bluet, it started selling throughout the country.



Today, the bluet is still a strong symbol of memory and fellowship promoted by :

- The National Office for the War veterans and the war victims (ONAC) ;


- The National Charity « Le Bleuet de France » Hôtel National des Invalides 75007 PARIS.

Le Bleuet de France

The latter aims at promoting moral and civic assets and developping nationwide fund-rising campaigns.

The « Office National » thus continues to get involved in the socially orientated missions and continues to take part to the patriotic events and demonstrations that the « Bluet de France » was originally in charge of .

The activities of « Bleuet de France » are not just imited to the soldiers wounded in WW I, WW II and independance war in Algeria any more, it has also expanded its activities to the victims of terrorism, children and widows of civil servants killed or badly wounded on active service (policemen ; firemen, Air/Sea rescuers).

A Decree dated june 11th 1998 allows the association to collects funds from the sales of published works and from derived items with the bluet trademark besides those sold on November 11th and May 8th. Books for children have recently been created to tell them about WW I and the origin of the « Bluet » This association is also allowed to get donations from individuals as well as businesses, which implies tax abatements.

The income of the « Œuvre Nationale le Bleuet de France » mainly comes from the sellings of pins and stickers on November 11th and May 8th and they are now considering to sell bluet seeds. In 2005 they could collect as much as 1 079 000 euros.