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


In 1914, at the beginning of the war, the French troops wore their traditional uniforms: a dark blue tunic and red trousers. This colourful outfit made the French soldiers an easy target and has caused countless victims. In 1915 the French uniforms became less conspicuous, viz. a one- colour “bleu-horizon” outfit.

The winter in the trenches has dramatically hanged the outward apearance of our soldiers. With thick moustaches, beards and winter-outfits they have become strange- looking creatures. In their mud covered skincoats they look like shapeless sacks. In order to be less conspicious the officers have to cover their eye-catching outfits with a kind of multicoloured blouse of a pre- dominantly green colour. The blouse has a kind of hood which can be pulled up in order to cover the kepi and the face. Two holes are left open for the eyes. They look like merrymakers at a carnival party. They wear snowboots over chequered woollen inner boots ".