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- 08 -292014

Les Invalides during the Great War, twelfth episode : posthumous decoration

Widows, orphans and parents of deceased combatants are gathered together in the main courtyard where decorations are to be awarded posthumously.

They have all lost a close member of their family, a soldier who «died for France». A French officer hands a document to a little boy, saying a few words to his mother. The latter is wearing a hat veil. The child is wearing a sailor suit and, on his sleeve, two crossed anchors as well as chevrons which, on a real uniform, are an indication of a military rank. He has taken off his hat as a sign of respect.
They are the last in a long line. At the other end, a young girl is looking at the ground; like the civilian standing beside her, she is also holding a document certifying the decoration which she has received. A crowd of spectators are gathered on the courtyard’s upper balconies.

Ward of the State

The Act of 27 July 1917 created the status of ward of the State. Article 1 stipulates: «France adopts orphans whose father, mother or family support was killed during the 1914 war, and is a military or civil victim of the enemy». A child becomes a ward of the State when adopted by the State following a decision by the Regional Court requested either by the child’s legal guardian, or by the State itself.
A woman is considered to be a war widow and accordingly allowed to claim what is due to her as such if she was the wife of a serviceman killed in action or who died as a result of wounds or illness contracted during the action.

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