Joseph Lesage (1884-1918)
Soldier and artist in the First World War


To Verdun:

" I am happy because this morning I have been to church. I can leave with a quiet conscience. Our desti-nation is "hell", the area which is already notorious for 6 months. (Censorship forbids any reference to Verdun) "I am afraid that the telephonists will again have to run like mad. It's no good ! No good ! After having survived 2 years of ordeal it would be a pity if I were to die now. A minor injury necessitating 6 months of rest would be a blessing. I will send you postcards as often as possi-ble saying: "All is well ". I count on your prayers. Till we meet again ! Have faith like myself. We now start to retaliate

15 - 8 - 1916

At Verdun:

" This stretch of land, which once was a wood, looks like an undulating beach with countless holes like footsteps on a much frequented beach. But it is a beach of shell holes and the sand is a layer of ash, 1 meter thick ".


" Uninterrupted gun-fire, especially during the nights. Imagine a summer-nigh t with fierce flashes of lightening followed by the most terrible thunderbolts you have ever heard. And it does not stop. How can such amounts of ammuni-tion be available ! Mortar shells are just raining down. But I assure you: we strike back ! Just like us, and probably more so, the Germans must curse Verdun ".


" In this infernal sector, relief of duty only comes when losses are as high as 50%. Our relief will come soon ".


27 - 8 - 1916