In 1914, the City of Soissons started work on a monument to pay tribute to its rich history. When the monument was completed in 1926, it had a dual role, paying tribute as well to the citizens of Soissons who died in the Great War.
The limestone monument, created by sculptor Albert Bartholomé, is on Place Fernand Marquigny, behind the cathedral.
Three bas-reliefs on the base were created by Raoul Lamourdieu. They depict:
- King Charles VII and Jeanne d’Arc entering Soissons on 23 July 1429.
- Crushing the vase of Soissons to defy Clovis in 486.
- Evacuating the city under bombardment.
The fourth side of the base names the victims.
The dedication – À Soissons immortelle: À ses enfants tombés glorieusement pour la patrie – and names of WW2 victims are on the middle level, with an angel of victory protecting three poilus. “Leur sacrifice a sauvé la patrie et la liberté.” On top, four allegorical figures hold a flame.
Four sentinels stand guard around the column:
- Two poilus.
- A man holding a parchment, to mark the abolition of feudal servitude in Soissons in 1181.
- A soldier, Carolingian defender of Soissons, the Frankish capital in 923.
News: On 9 July 2022, the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence made a national apology to the descendants and families of the No. 2 Construction Battalion for the systemic anti-Black racism endured before, during and after their service during the First World War.
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