An Exceptional Memorial
This exceptionally impressive memorial for such a small village is located in public gardens just opposite the château and consists of a statue of a French soldier standing beneath a stone arch listing the men of Proyart who 'died for France'. The front and sides of the memorial display bas-reliefs depicting the scenes of war and two pillars topped with sculptures helmets mark the entrance to the memorial.
A Village Marked by War
Proyart saw fierce fighting on 29th August 1914 during the first months of war as the Germans quickly overran the French Army, rapidly taking the territories situated to the north of Paris. The French showed great resistance at Proyart, but with little success. The battlefields were strewn with dead and the village occupied. In September, during the Battle of the Marne, the French and British Armies advanced on German troops and both sides tried to outflank each other; the battle front was pushed forward allowing the French to recapture Amiens, its surroundings and part of the area known as 'Santerre'. The Germans no longer occupied Proyart, which found itself located just behind Allied lines when the front stabilised to the east of the village. Fighting returned to the village in 1918 when the Germans launched a major offensive on 21st March and recaptured the whole of the Santerre plateau. The German dead were buried in the cemetery to the north of the village.
A Personal Initiative
In the 1920s, Edgar François, a rich industrialist who had lost his son during the war, gave the village a plot of land opposite his home. With Cognac, which had “adopted” Proyart, they provided funding for the construction of a war memorial, enabling Proyart to erect the largest village war memorial of France. It was officially unveiled on 18th September 1924 by General Castelnau.
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Latitude 46.846886 / Longitude 2.965811