World War I
Maginot Monument – Fleury-devant-Douaumont
André Maginot, the politician and the soldier
André Maginot was born on February 17, 1877 in Paris, in a middle-class family from Révigny-sur-Ornain in the Meuse department.
He got his Doctorate in Law in 1897 and embarked on a political career.
He held various administrative functions and positions at the Ministries of Interior and Health and Safety between 1903 and 1914, and was appointed junior minister at the Ministry of War from December 9, 1913 to June 8, 1914.
He was elected MP of the department of Meuse in 1910, a mandate he held until his death in 1932.
Mobilized on August 1, 1914, he requested to be assigned as a simple soldier to the 44th Regiment of Territorial Infantry in Verdun.
Convinced of the necessity of a permanent reconnaissance group, he soon succeeded in obtaining the creation of a patrol.
Sergent Maginot was obviously placed in command of the patrol, and was based in the village of Bezonvaux.
From there, he organized and led more than 50 reconnaissance patrols inside the Germans lines.
His acts of bravoury earned him 5 citations, and the Military Medal on November 8, 1914.
The Patrouilleur de Verdun, as he became known, was seriously wounded the following day.
He spent a year tacked on a hospital bed, before being reformed due to the severity of his injuries.
He was granted the status of Grand Mutilé de Guerre (disabled ex-serviceman), was made Chevalier de la Légion of Honneur, and awarded the Military Medal, Croix de Guerre 1914-1918 and Médaille des Blessés Militaires (wounded servicemen).
He was appointed to important ministerial positions from 1917 to his death in 1932, and dedicated his entire career to the establishment of a welfare structure for veterans, the elaboration of laws for victims of WWI, and the reorganization of the army.
He was appointed Minister of War from November 3, 1929 to February 17, 1930.
He died in Paris on January 7, 1932, and was buried on January, 10 in the cemetery of Révigny-sur-Ornain after the celebration of a national day of mourning.
His national funerals were held the same day at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris.
All who knew Maginot, remembered him as a great man, in size, heart and intelligence.
In 1956 the National Federation of Veterans Affairs decided for André Maginot’s surname to be added to the name of their association.
President Albert Lebrun inaugurated the monument dedicated to Maginot on August 18, 1935.
His speech included this dedication:
“We ought to erect a memorial to the man, whose legendary bravoury will be remembered forever and owned him the name of “Soldier of Verdun."
The memorial was erected on the Plateau of Souville, right on the spot where Maginot was awarded the Military Medal on November 8, 1914.
It consists of a bronze sculptural group by Gaston Bocquet.
It represents André Maginot and two fellow patrolmen with their back to a fortified wall and a huge shield symbolizing the defense forts of Verdun and the Maginot Line.
The Maginot Line was a line of fortifications erected between 1928 to 1940 along the French borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
André Maginot, while minister of war, succeeded in having the government voting the funds necessary for its construction (the line of fortifications was named after him, but built by his successor Paul Painlevé.)
The base of the monument is inscribed with the following dedication:
“André Maginot, sergent au 44e Régiment d’Infanterie Territoriale, ministre de la Guerre (1877-1932)”
A commemorative slab was affixed at the base and pays tribute to François-Joseph Jolas, who is represented rescuing Maginot, when this one was severely wounded by the Germans on November 9, 1914.
The memorial is located along the D112 by Fleury-devant-Douaumont, and there's a small parking lot opposite.
Other sites of the Battle of Verdun:
Citadel of Verdun - Sacred Way – Douaumont Ossuary and National Cemetery – Abri 320 – Bayonet Trench – Fort of Douaumont - Fleury-devant-Douaumont "Village Détruit
Department of Meuse - Lorraine region - Grand Est
Coordinates Memorial Monument on D112: Lat 49.186664 - Long 5.431784
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