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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

the Mademoiselle from Armentieres monument


laurent59

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inaugurate on 11/11/2008 and put on a place near the communal cemetery, the statue represent Mademoiselle from Armentieres sit on a shield carried by four soldiers from British empire.

After have been destroy by vandalism twice in a year (the heads of the soldiers cut off !), the monument was stored in a storehouse since 2009.

recently, the statue have been put in the "French military cemetery square" where are buried the soldiers from Armentieres dead in the great war.

If this place is ideal for the monument, it's sad that the seven British soldiers dead in 1915 are buried in a corner at the end of the communal cemetery, and few people know that they are at this place.

That would be great if they could be reburied with their French "brother in arms" in the military square and close to Mademoiselle from Armentières. That would be a great symbol.

But I think that is impossible.

remember them

post-65463-0-67214400-1313650300.jpg

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Whilst I appreciate the sentiment behind the memorial, and appreciating that it might look different in the flesh, I have to say that it really jars with the setting. Surely somewhere more appropriate could have been found?

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I'm tempted to vandalize it myself. That statue is grotesque and should not be in the military cemetery square. It looks like a float in a Santa Clause parade and makes the piper at Longueval look like a Henry Moore. Imagine if that paperweight was placed in a CWGC cemetery?

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I was trying to be diplomatic, Conner, but I must say it doesn't look very nice.

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Laurent

Thanks for taking the trouble to post the pictures and also to those who were involved in the original project. I would also add, that given the situation, it was a wise decision to place the statue in its present location.

TR

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I was trying to be diplomatic, Conner, but I must say it doesn't look very nice.

You are right. flew a little off the handle there. I will re-phrase and state that it doesn't suit my tastes, but that's just me.

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it's true that the style of this monument can be debatable, but for the place and the symbol, I'm not jarred, for two reasons:

- first : this place is not a military cemetery, but a communal cemetery whith a square for soldiers and civilian victim of the great war. and in Armentières, the British soldiers and Mademoiselle from Armentières are a very great symbole of the great war.

- two : Mademoiselle from Armentières is the symbol of the suffering and the pride of the North-French women in the war.

The authentic Mademoiselle from Armentières's name was Marie LECOQ. She was widower and did work in a pub named "Café de la Paix". She's has been victim of the gas and was invalid. She raised her girl herself, and she dead after the war. She's buried in the communal cemetery with her girl.

O.K. this monument is not beautiful, but the symbol don't disturb me.

Laurent

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Laurent,

Unfortunately for me "Mademoiselle from Armentiere" immediately reminds me of a ribald song,I was taught in my youth,which apparently came from WW1. :D

Or it may have been "Three German Officers crossed the Line"

George

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below a photo of Marie LECOQ, the true "Mademoiselle from Armentières"

Marie Lecoq is born in 1898 and has just 17 years post-65463-0-10998800-1313753177.jpg

when she did work in the "Café de la paix" and she is already widower. In a day of 1915, a British soldier be short of respect with her, and she slap him, beside was a Canadian soldier who worked in the army theatre.

This stage inspire to him for writting the first verse of the song (several account exist on the first writer)

Laurent

post-65463-0-10998800-1313753177.jpg

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Bonjour. I assume that Laurent's first language is not English. He should be congratulated for telling the forum about this monument. Most members will be aware of the old song 'Mme de Armentieres parlez vous, mme de Armentiere parlez vous, has'nt been kissed for 40 years, inky pinky parlez vous' etc - and other versions. The information that she was a real person was new to me. I wonder if Laurent or anyone else can expand.

Cordialment,

Old Tom

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Whether Statue,in a Cemetery in Armentiere,will convey a message is open to question.

But I never realised that the full version of "Three German Officers" was readable on the Internet.

Laurent,

What Marie did was important and we old Brits applaud her,if not for anything more than for her "Song" which is now sung in her memory.

If I ever have male Grandchildren and they join youth organisations and go to Camp, as teenagers, would you mind if I taught them "Mademoiselle" and "Three German Officers" :D

George

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Merci, Laurent, for posting these photos. Do we know who commissioned this work, and who the sculptor was? It looks as if it is perhaps moulded in reconstituted stone.

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It's true, Old Tom, the English is not my first language, and as I learn it myself, I must prepare all my messages with my "British/French" dictionary. I hope to can put away it sometimes or other. Thanks to the ones which encourage me.

The project and the model is the "Mad Beat" scuptor's work in 1964. A local newspaper organised a big subscription and sale some post-cards for help this project. Some veterans from everywhere in the world send some money for the project, but the money receipt was widely insufficient (14656 francs instead of more 73000 francs in 1964), and the modele did remain in the communal archive service until 2008.

in 2008 :

This is the town-city who commissioned this work for 23000 Euros, and the statue was made by the undertaking "Wattrelot" from Armentières, and specialist in "signaletic, enseign, big size numeric printing".

The statue's material are Polystyren and Polyester's resin with a steel skeleton (like a boat), the pedestral is in concrete.

For the song "Three German Officers", I'd never heard it. is it a popular British song from WWI ?

Thanks for your attention

Kind regards

Laurent

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Thanks for all that. You may have noted from post 14 that the origin of the tune could be as early as 1870, Franco Prussian war ?? As to Three German Officers, the same tune but the words referring to the appetites of the officers are not for polite conversation.

Old Tom

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[quote name='laurent59' timestamp='1314035164' post='1633865'

For the song "Three German Officers", I'd never heard it. is it a popular British song from WWI ?

Thanks for your attention

Kind regards

Laurent

Laurent,

If you type "Three German Officers crossed the Line" into your Internet search engine e.g. Google you should find it listed amongst WW1 Soldiers songs.

But be warned it will "broaden" your English vocabulary. :D

George

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hello,

many people had not thought that the statue of Mademoiselle from Armentières in the communal cemetery is not very beautiful !

Here is worst ! a statue of Mademoiselle from Armentières in front of the Armentières's hospital.

it's represant Melle from Armentières wich helping a man (British soldier).

post-65463-0-26260600-1314686688.jpg

the plate in front of the statue indicate the inscription:

"Mademoiselle from Armentières

Symbol of the French/British friendship

1914/1918"

(translation from French)

post-65463-0-26260600-1314686688.jpg

on the second plate there are the names from the five town major of Armentières :

12/1914 - 05/1915 Major HILL

05/1915 - 07/1915 Major REAL

07/1915 - 10/1915 Major MANDLE

10/1915 - 07/1916 Major WALLON

07/1916 - 04/1918 Major WHITE

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OMG! What is that? At least the Piper has a friend. That looks truly appalling and in a cemetery of all places. It seems to me that with very few exceptions the so-called memorials erected on the Western Front over the last few years leave much to be desired and are frankly pointless.

Regards

Norman

PS Almost forgot to include that awful "thing" outside the new hotel at Albert. Does anyone see a pattern emerging here?.

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We may all have a good laugh at some of these so-called works of art but there is a more serious side to this in my view. Take the subject of this thread for instance how incongruous this thing looks in a cemetery and what exactly is it supposed to be depicting. If the photos are anything to go by the work is very poorly executed indeed just look at the figures and what are they doing holding some sort of tea tray with yet another figure sitting on it?.

Even if there was any artistic merit to this then why choose what seems to be Plaster of Paris for its construction knowing that this will totally clash with the intended surroundings. The most worrying thing to me however is the fact that the town approved of this and agreed to allow its original installation in a prominent location. What does this say for the respect that this period of mass slaughter holds for those who are charged with the civic responsibility that such a town so richly deserves?

Norman

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