French WWI veteran dies aged 110
One of France's two remaining World War I veterans died on Sunday at the age of 110
PARIS, January 20, 2008 - One of France's two remaining World War I
veterans died on Sunday at the age of 110, the French veterans ministry said.
Born on October 16, 1897, Louis de Cazenave signed up in 1916 and served
with the fifth Senegalese battalion, seeing active service from December 1916
to September 1917.
He took part in the Second Battle of the Aisne, the so-called Chemin des
Dames, part of an offensive launched by General Robert Nivelle which ended in
disaster and widespread mutiny for the French army.
On returning to civilian life in 1919 he became a railwayman, marrying and
fathering three sons, before retiring at the age of 41 and settling in the
small town of Brioude, in the central Auvergne region.
"He died as he wanted to, at home," Cazenave's son, also called Louis, told
AFP. "He had stopped speaking yesterday, he had a peaceful death. He didn't
suffer at all."
Cazenave is to be buried on Tuesday in a simple ceremony.
President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement expressing the "nation's
condolences" to Cazenave's family and paying tribute to the 1.4 million French
fighters killed in the Great War, as well as the 4.5 million injured.
Cazenave's death leaves a single surviving French World War I veteran,
Lazare Ponticelli, who turned 110 in December.