7 juin 2018

Augustin Trébuchon

The last soldier killed during the war

Born in Lozère on 30 May 1878, the Private First Class soldier Augustin Trébuchon was originally a shepherd. Although single, his having a family to support could have exempted him from having to fight in the war; he nevertheless enlisted as early as 1914. He would see action on all the battlefields of France. As a messenger for the 415th Infantry Regiment, it was while carrying a message that he was killed with a bullet to the head on 11 November 1918 around 10:45 AM, or 15 minutes before the Armistice was sounded.

The unknown soldier

While Augustin Trébuchon’s reputation is today set in stone, another WWI soldier has since become even more famous. And yet no one knows his name.

Indeed, in 1919, to honour the millions of Great War casualties, the remains of an unidentified soldier were chosen by another WWI French soldier from Verdun by the laying of a spray of flowers on his coffin. The anonymous soldier’s remains were duly transferred to and buried beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on 18 January 1921. The French Minister of War at the time, André Maginot, then lit the tomb’s eternal flame, a symbolic action that has since been repeated every year during the nation’s WWI memorial ceremonies.