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- 05 -012018

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« A dedicated life », episode 26: The 118 Companions of the Liberation in the Great War

Taken as a whole, the 118 future Companions of the Liberation who fought in the Great War exhibit truly spectacular characteristics in at least two areas.

Firstly, the very high rate of volunteers, 40% compared to 3% of the French Army as a whole after the declaration of war in August 1914.

Next, the considerable proportion of pilots, 13 out of 118, i.e. over 10% (versus 0.20% in the French Army), which demonstrates both their attraction to a new weapon but also their pronounced taste for action. Apart from this exception, their distribution across the various armies reflects the military realities of the conflict, hence the major role of infantry and the importance of artillery. Thus, 96 were mobilised in the territorial army (62 infantrymen, 22 artillerymen and 7 cavalrymen) versus only 8 marines.

Lastly, during this particularly bloody war, 45 of them were wounded at least once, suffering a total of 95 wounds. Their value in combat earned them 99 Croix de Guerre decorations and 287 military citations, an average of 2.5 each.

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