It has been confirmed that President Macron will visit the small village in northern France where the last French soldier to be killed during the First World War is buried.
The President will pay his respects to Augustin Trébuchon and others who fell on the field of combat, in the week leading-up to the official November 11 commemorations – during a tour of the former “Western Front”, from Alsace to the Somme.
His visit to the village of Vrigne-Meuse, where Trebuchon was shot just minutes before bugle announced the conclusion of hostilities, will help to amplify the belief that The French Ardennes has more reason than most areas of France for marking the centenary of the end of WWI.
Four years of commemorations across the nation will draw to a close at 11.00 on November 11, 2018.
And, for France, it is The French Ardennes that will be providing the full stop, at the end of the final sentence, in the last chapter of the history of the conflict.
It was here, in The French Ardennes, where the last official French victim of The Great War, Augustin Joseph Trébuchon, fell – just fifteen minutes before the cease-fire at 11am on November 11, 1918.
Trébuchon is buried in the cemetery of Vrigne-Meuse, an Ardennes village of 220 inhabitants, where visitors today will find a church with 18 white crosses surrounding a memorial, in honour of the men of the 415th Infantry Regiment who all died on November 11 1918 during the last offensive while attempting to cross the River Meuse.
The unveiling of a new memorial in honour of Trébuchon is just one of the events planned for November 11, 2018, in The French Ardennes. Leading politicians have been invited to attend a special ceremony – with Trébuchon set to become a symbol of tragedy of The First World War.
Unable to be in Vrigne-Meuse that day, it is currently believed that The President will be represent by Geneviève Darrieussecq, Ministry of the Armed Forces.
The new sculpture commemorating Trébuchon will be unveiled close to where he fell. It has been hewn from the famous blue stone found near to another French Ardennes town, Givet. It will depict Marianne, a national symbol of the French Republic – a personification of liberty and reason, and a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty – holding the head of Trebuchon.
A new memorial trail will also be launched – one that can be followed by boat, bicycle, and on foot.
Stamps, bottles of champagne and beer will also feature Trebuchon’s image during 2018. And at a what promises to be a fitting tribute at Vrigne-Meuse on November 11, there are plans in place to stage a fly-past of planes from both the French and German airforces.
All tourist information about The French Ardennes can be found at http://gb.ardennes.com