The inscription above the Poilu remembers the ‘Children of Arras, Dead in the Defense of Right’.
Arras war memorial can be found in the centre of the Place de Maréchal Foch near the railway station,…
…and commemorates the dead of two World Wars.
“The French Soldier – yesterday Soldier of God, today Soldier of Humanity, will always be the Soldier of Right.”
This inscription is all about the Wings of Peace, but exactly how this translates into every-day English I am unsure (note the perfect shell hole bottom right).
The wonderful bas-relief on the western face of the memorial depicts scenes of agriculture, industry and motherhood.
You will probably have noticed that this memorial is, quite literally, riddled with bullet and shell holes.
And the equally impressive bas-relief on the eastern face? War.
Bullet holes of various calibres, by the looks of it.
During May 1940 another Battle of Arras took place as the British and French desperately attempted to stem the German advance through France…
…and I reckon these bullet holes tell the tale of the fighting in the streets of Arras at that time…
…although it wouldn’t surprise me if the odd drunken German soldier added to them during the occupation years.
Duncan the Elder and I brave the elements for a few night shots,…
…and some not, I’m afraid.
Close-up of the bullet-spattered British tank we saw earlier on the eastern face of the memorial.
Update May 2018:
A return visit to Arras,…
…and another opportunity for Duncan and me to pay our respects at the memorial.
Despite the chunks that have been shot out of him, the Poilu retains his composure and poise. He doesn’t care. He knows who wins in the end.