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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rossignol: An Episode in the Battle of the Frontiers

3rd Colonial Division Memorial

Contributed by Christina Holstein

On 22 August 1914, the French 3rd Colonial Infantry Division, marching along the road from Rossignol to Neufchateau (Belgium) encountered the German 6th Army Corps and, in a day of desperate fighting, was defeated with losses of over 8500 officers and men. The loss of officers was frightful and included all three generals (two killed and one wounded and taken prisoner), almost all the officers of 1st Brigade and another 60 officers from 3rd Brigade. Only one officer survived from the divisional artillery. The French put 32 guns out of action and the remainder were either destroyed or captured. German losses were also serious but not as high as the French.

Memorial at Execution Site

On the following day, 122 civilians, mostly from Rossignol, were rounded up by German troops and taken away to Arlon, where they were shot near Shoppach bridge. The bodies, at first buried in a civilian cemetery at Arlon, were returned to Rossignol after the war in the presence of the King of the Belgians. The present mausoleum was inaugurated in 1925.

Mausoleum for the Civilians

1 comment:

  1. 8500 losses in a single day!
    What did the Germans find the civilians guilty of, or was there no charge?