WAR MEMORIAL – BAOUS OF CASTER
Name of the work : The dying Poilu.
Peille’s war memorial is part of a handful of cenotaphs described as “pacifist”, as it bears the biblical commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”. According to local lore, the model for the poilu is Émile Berto, a native of Peille and veteran of the Great War.
Erected at the summit of the “Baous” rock, the monument was built on the uppermost part of the castlethat was terraced in 1923 for its construction. The monument’s position and iconography have remained unchanged since its creation.
Statue of white stone from Tavel, to scale (1m60) of a fatally wounded soldier, standing, arched backwards, left hand to the heart, right hand to the rock, riffle on the ground, eyes turned skywards in the direction of the village and towards the north of France, seeming to call on future generations to remember the sacrifice of the men of Peille who died on the battlefield. A bas-relief, depicting the orphan and widow, shows a locally-clad woman sitting, working a distaff, with her young son on her lap. On the side and back panels, the glorious names of the fallenare carved into the stone in gilded letters. On the pedestal stands a bloc of carved stone, of the same facture as the rocks supporting the statue of the poilu.
The monument was inaugurated on the 1st of June 1923 in the presence of opera singer Mary Garden (1874-1967), who financed 60% of the cenotaph’s construction costs (9’500 francs). Her name was then given to a village square, and she was made honorary citizen and benefactor of Peille.
- Located at the top of the village, on the baous of Caster
- GPS location : 43°48’07°N 7°23’52”E