Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Remembering the Tirailleurs Sénégalais

Above the famed Caverne du Dragon situated on the Chemin des Dames are nine tall black abstract figures made of calcified wood that seem to be rising from the ground. These thick columns with tiny heads atop are artist Christian Lapie's acknowledgement of the tragedy that befell the colonial Senegalese troops of the French Army at this site. On the morning of 16 April 1917 more than 15,000 of the Senegalese infantry attacked here. Over 1,400 of them died that day. The artwork was dedicated on the 90th anniversary of the tragedy in 2007.

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  1. Is there a history of the French Colonial effort in World War I, or more specifically a history of the Senegalese units in the war?

    1. You might try this one: Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army, 1914-1918