Elie was the fourth of the seven children of a small farmers family .
His father, sharecropper, worked successively for several owners in the villages
in the north of Toulouse, then he stabilized himself in "La Fontaine".
He took the succession of his own father, sharecropper like him.
In 1914, when the war is declared, Auguste, 5 years older than Elie, is in the army. He goes to war with enthusiasm, and gains a medal! At Christmas 1914, he is made prisoner and will return from the camps only in 1919. Marius, the other brother, is mobilized in September 1914. He arrives at the battlefield rather quickly. He is seriously wounded in January 1915, and is affected in the auxiliary services until 1919.
Elie is mobilized in May 1917. He knows that the war is dangerous, there are already many young men of the village who died or disappeared. His instruction lasts a long time. Is this because of the mutinies? He arrives at the battlefield at spring 1918. He is in the first lines at the time of the release of the battle of Matz. Vis-a-vis to an enemy three times more, in an artificial fog caused to disorientate our soldiers, the regiment surrenders almost without fighting. Other French troops will stop the German push at the price of heavy sacrifices. But Elie goes for Germany, prisoner.
When the war finishes, he is repatriated because he is sick. Influenza? He recovers rather quickly and joins the army in January 1919. He is affected with the 412th RI and embarks for Cilicia in June 1919. He will come back in Marseilles harbour only on November 26, 1921.
When he was a prisoner in Turkey, Elie had copied songs in
I found epic poems among the songs which the
French prisoners sang. Written by the little officers, they tell the
outstanding facts which they lived in campaign of Cilicie.
Do you want to know
At my godmother, I found the collection of postcards of Josephine, the elder sister of Elie. These cards give an idea of the abundant correspondence that Josephine ensured with the soldiers of the village during all the First World War, and that she continued only with Elie when he was in Turkey.
My godmother also lent to me the notebooks of Auguste, the brother
of Elie, who has been a prisoner in Germany from Christmas 1914 until the end
of the war, and of the photographs which he had kept. In the belongings of Auguste, she found the only
letter from Elie that the mice did not eat.
It does not contain any historical revelation, but Elie speaks
there about Marache. And it is
seen well that, the French not being his mother tongue, it had some
difficulties with the orthography.
I found at the house the army papers of Elie, some postcards, few photographs of soldiers and some family photographs. There is also the "Golden Book" dated on 1930:
The Association of War Veterans of M. village wanted to engrave
the memory of the feats of army of the inhabitants of the commune who
were mobilized during the Great War of 1914-1918 and of the young
soldiers who obtained the status of combatant in the military
operations which followed this war.
They published this Gold Book with the assistance of the Municipality.
It is a memory of the tragic years which they lived, of the efforts which they made to contribute to the Victoire, because they had the hope that they would avoid of similar horrors to their descendants, and that it would be the last of the wars.
The commune of M. counted 608 inhabitants in 1914, including 3 foreigners (Italian).
There were 124 mobilized, they deplore 23 dead.
Florentine kept some school notebooks which mices did not eat. I found also her geography book (1906). I extracted this Turkey map.
In an attic, in West of France, I found an illustrated catechism book dating from 1908.
And then I am living close to Paris and the Castle of Vincennes. With the Eastern Bookshop, I found books on the Armenians, their traditions, their culture, and their drama.
With the "Historical Service of the Army", in the Castle of Vincennes, I could consult the "Journal de Marche et Opérations" of the 412th RI. I even saw the name of Elie in disappeared from May 28, 1920. What an emotion! I also found some of the old books written by young officers who lived the drama of Marache.
I would wish to identify the soldiers and the civil ones
who are on
in Cilicie. Do you have these photographs on your premise?
Do not hesitate to make contact!