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69941: Letters from a French soldier in a German POW camp

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posted on 2023-12-07, 12:49 authored by Oxford At War Project Team

Jean Larrue was born on the 23.07.1885 and came from SW France near Bordeaux. He served in the French army with 95th infantry regiment, 35th company. Signed SP or LP 182. He was captured at the end of the battle of Chemin-des-Dames, and made prisoner on the 27.05.1918. When captured, he was with the 64eme Infanterie, 10eme Cie. His conscription number was 1643. On the day he was made prisoner there was a gas attack by the Germans, followed by the invasion of the French positions using flamethrower. Larrue was among 1,500 members of the regiment who disappeared that day. A number of letters written by Larrue survive, written between 1918 and the end of the war to his family, wife and in-laws during his time in captivity in Gefangenenlager, village Neuhammer. The first letter from the Lamsdorf Camp was dated 28.10.18, 5 months after his capture. Presumably the family had been without news for all that time. The letters have similar content and say that he's well and is receiving parcels from his wife. He sometimes asks for food and tobacco. Some letters were written in pencil but are still readable as they are so well preserved. Most have the stamps of German censorship. There are also letters by the Red Cross informing the family of the POW`s condition. One of the letters is sent from the front rather than the camp - 10 May 1917. He writes about monthly rent. He was then still with the 95 Infantry. The letters are being shared by Larrue's great-great grandson who was recently given them by an aunt. (This story and material was shared at the Oxford at War 1914-1918 Roadshow on 12 Nov 2016)

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Xavier Laurent

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Letters from a French soldier in a German POW camp

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CC BY-SA Xavier Laurent

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