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- 10 -062016

Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 15

MA BA marseillaise 1501 300x214 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 15

© Paris, musée de l’Armée, dist. RMN-GP

MA BA marseillaise 1502 300x205 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 15

© Paris, musée de l’Armée, dist. RMN-GP

At Choisy-Le-Roi

The photograph on the right shows the stone sarcophagus–162 cm long, 30 cm deep and 30 cm high–unearthed on 12 July 1915. The name of the defunct is engraved on both sides. A journalist wrote in the French periodical Le Petit Parisien that the sarcophagus contained the skull and both shins, while the other remains of the deceased had been reduced to dust. The sarcophagus was enclosed in an oak casket.

MA BA marseillaise 1503 218x300 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 15

© Nanterre, Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine

A bronze wreath presented by the city of Choisy-le-Roi was placed on the casket. The casket was placed inside a van decorated with tricolour flags bordered with gold fringes. Aeroplanes flew over the park of the city hall…

A Ceremony Placed Under Strict Surveillance

“It is Wednesday, 14 July : so the remains of Rouget de Lisle were transported at the Invalides and not at the Panthéon. It was a cloudy, windy and cold day. The French aeroplanes streaked the sky, flying right under the clouds, to keep the Tauben [German monoplane aircraft] at a distance”.

Raymond Poincaré, Au service de la France : neuf années de souvenirs, [In the Service of France: Nine Years of Memories] Paris 1930, t VI

The security of the ceremony was placed under the authority of the Prefect of Paris, Émile Laurent. This was not an easy task because almost all members of the French Government were present, followed by thongs of people.

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© Paris, musée de l’Armée, dist. RMN-GP

The aeroplanes of the French V97 Squadron flew over the park of Choisy-le-Roi during the loading of the coffin in the van in order to ensure its protection. During the ceremony, French aeroplanes flew at a lower altitude over the funeral procession. On photographs, we can see a large number of spectators raising their eyes to the sky to watch the planes flying over them. Journalists and spectators alike thought that this aerial show was given in honour of the deceased.

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© Sylvie Picolet

Placed under the command of Lieutenant Jean-Benjamin Laurens, the fleet of the V97 Squadron was part of the security apparatus of the so-called entrenched Paris camp. Some co-pilots, such as Sergeant Morel took photographs during the ceremony. Equipped with machines guns or a 37 mm gun, the aeroplanes stood ready to take the air against any enemy plane spotted by the different listening and monitoring devices deployed inside and outside Paris.

 

 

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