Belgien / Denkmal
A bronze statue marks the place where, in 1914 with German invasion of Belgium, a young French officer named Charles de Gaulle was wounded. During the Second World War, he went on to become the leader of the Free French, and setup his offices in London with fall of France in 1940.
For the men on both sides during the Second World War, some had seen battle and gained experience during the First World War of 1914-18.
Similar to the German Case Yellow plans of 1940 and the Ardennes Offensive of the winter of 1944 to 45, the German army had fought on this ground before. In August 1914, they had invaded Belgium and pushed through eventually to what became the static front-line trenches of the western front.
Here, in August 1914, General de Brigade Phillipe Petain and Lieutenant Charles de Gaulle served with the French 4th Infantry Brigade. During the Second World War, and with the German invasion, on the 18 May 1940 Petain took office as deputy Prime Minister, before then going on to collaborate with the German forces and govern the Vichy French. During the inter-war period, De Gaulle was a ghost writer for Petain, before serving as a divisional commander in 1940. In 1940 He left France and became leader of the Free French whilst in exile in the UK. After the end of the Second World War, Petain was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death, this was commuted to life imprisonment due to his age.
During the fighting here in August 1914, Charles de Gaulle was wounded; He received a bullet wound to the lower leg. He was amongst the first to be wounded at Dinant on the 15 August. He was treated in hospital for his wounds before returning to duties in October. On the 2 March 1916, whilst fighting in Verdun, he was captured by German forces and became a prisoner of war. This ended on 11 November 1918 with the Armistice.
The statue and plaque now mark the place where Charles de Gaulle served during the First World War and was wounded trying to stop the German advance. He served during the Second World War, again trying to stop the German advances, and later led the Free French who took part in the liberation of Europe.
Avenue Colonel Cadoux, Dinant, 5500