La Ferté-sous-Jouarre memorial
The La Ferté-sous-Jouarre memorial is a World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

War memorial
A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or to commemorate those who died or were injured in war.-Historic usage:...

 in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, located on the south bank of the River Marne, on the outskirts of the commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 of La Ferté-sous-Jouarre
La Ferté-sous-Jouarre
La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.It is located at a crossing point over the River Marne between Meaux and Château-Thierry.-History:...

, 66 kilometres east of Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, in the department of Seine-et-Marne
Seine-et-Marne is a French department, named after the Seine and Marne rivers, and located in the Île-de-France region.- History:Seine-et-Marne is one of the original 83 departments, created on March 4, 1790 during the French Revolution in application of the law of December 22, 1789...

. Also known as the Memorial to the Missing of the Marne, it commemorates over 3,700 British and Irish soldiers with no known grave, who fell in battle in this area in August, September and early October 1914. The soldiers were part of the British Expeditionary Force, and are listed on the memorial by regiment, rank and then alphabetically.


The memorial itself is a rectangular block of white stone, 62 feet by 30 feet and 24 feet high, surmounted by a large stone sarcophagus. On top of the sarcophagus are carved representations of trophies of war, including a flag, bayonets, and a helmet. The year 1914 is carved below the sarcophagus, while the names of the dead are carved in panels on all four sides of the memorial. The two shorter sides of the memorial are decorated with a carved, downwards pointing sword, while the front and back of the memorial are carved with inscription panels surmounted by a carved wreath and a carved stone crown. The inscription on the river-facing side is in French, while the inscription on the other side is in English. The memorial is mounted on a stepped stone pavement, at the four corners of which are stone pillars, carved with the coats of arms of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 (the coats of arms are labelled England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 and Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

), and topped by stone urns. One of the stone pillars was designed to hold a memorial register, which is now kept at the local town hall. At the front of the memorial's pavement is a stone of remembrance inscribed with the words: "Their name liveth for evermore."


The memorial's French inscription says:
A la gloire de Dieu et en souvenir durable des 3888 officiers et soldats dont les tombes ne sont pas connues appartenant au Corps Expéditionnaire Britannique qui, mobilisé le 5 Août 1914, débarqua en France en Août 1914 et combattit à Mons, au Cateau, sur la Marne, sur l'Aisne, jusqu'en Octobre 1914.

The memorial's English inscription says:
To the glory of God and the lasting memory of 3888 British officers and men whose graves are not known who landed in France in the month of August 1914 and between then and October fought at Mons and Le Cateau and on the Marne and the Aisne.


The memorial was built on land given by Adrien Fizeau, former mayor of Jouarre, in memory of his father Hippolyte Fizeau
Hippolyte Fizeau
Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau was a French physicist.-Biography:Fizeau was born in Paris. His earliest work was concerned with improvements in photographic processes. Following suggestions by François Arago, Léon Foucault and Fizeau collaborated in a series of investigations on the interference of...

 (1819-1896), a member of the French Institute and a member of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

. The Fizeau connection is commemorated by bilingual inscriptions either side of the steps leading up to the river-facing side of the memorial. This memorial was one of only four free-standing British World War I memorials to the missing to eventually be built on French soil. There had originally been proposals by the Imperial War Graves Commission to build 13 free-standing memorials to the missing in France, but this was eventually reduced to four: the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, the Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial
Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial
The Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial is a World War I memorial in France, located on the outskirts of the commune of Neuve-Chapelle, in the département of Pas de Calais. The memorial commemorates some 4742 Indian soldiers with no known grave, who fell in battle while fighting for the British Indian...

 to the Missing of the Army of India, the Soissons Memorial
Soissons Memorial
The Soissons Memorial is a World War I memorial located in the town of Soissons, in the Aisne departement of France. The memorial lists 3,887 names of British soldiers with no known grave who were killed in the area from May to August 1918 during the Spring Offensive...

 to the Missing that fell in the German offensives in 1918, and this memorial at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre to the Missing of the Marne. This memorial was the only one of the four where the design was opened to competition. The winning design was by the minor war cemetery architect Major George Hartley Goldsmith MC, who had studied under Sir Edwin Lutyens
Edwin Lutyens
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, OM, KCIE, PRA, FRIBA was a British architect who is known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era...


The La Ferté-sous-Jouarre memorial was unveiled on 4 November 1928. The English and French military officers present at the dedication ceremony included Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch , GCB, OM, DSO was a French soldier, war hero, military theorist, and writer credited with possessing "the most original and subtle mind in the French army" in the early 20th century. He served as general in the French army during World War I and was made Marshal of France in its...

, Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand was a French military commander in World War I and World War II.Weygand initially fought against the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, but then surrendered to and collaborated with the Germans as part of the Vichy France regime.-Early years:Weygand was born in Brussels...

, George Milne
George Milne, 1st Baron Milne
Field Marshal George Francis Milne, 1st Baron Milne, GCB, GCMG, DSO , was a British military commander who served as Chief of the Imperial General Staff from 1926 to 1933.-Army career:...

 and William Pulteney Pulteney
William Pulteney Pulteney
Lieutenant-General Sir William Pulteney Pulteney, GCVO, KCB, KCMG, DSO was a British general during the First World War.-Military career:...

. The ceremony also commemorated the contributions of Joseph Joffre
Joseph Joffre
Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre OM was a French general during World War I. He is most known for regrouping the retreating allied armies to defeat the Germans at the strategically decisive First Battle of the Marne in 1914. His popularity led to his nickname Papa Joffre.-Biography:Joffre was born in...

, John French
John French, 1st Earl of Ypres
Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres, KP, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCMG, ADC, PC , known as The Viscount French between 1916 and 1922, was a British and Anglo-Irish officer...

, and Michel-Joseph Maunoury
Michel-Joseph Maunoury
Michel-Joseph Maunoury was a commander of French forces in the early days of World War I.-Biography:He was born on 17 December 1847....

, the commanders of the armies who had fought in the area. French in particular was the first commander of the British Expeditionary Force in World War I. Maunourey and French had died in 1923 and 1925, while Foch would die in 1929 and Joffre in 1931. The memorial is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves, and places of commemoration, of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars...

 (as the Imperial War Graves Commission was renamed), and the site includes flower beds and a small park with an avenue of trees. On 27 July 2004, the memorial was rededicated during the 90th anniversary commemorations of the battles, in a ceremony attended by Sir John Holmes
John Holmes (British diplomat)
Sir John Holmes, GCVO, KBE, CMG is a British diplomat who is a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator-Life and career:Holmes was born in Preston, in the north of England...

, the British ambassador to France.

Royal Engineers memorials

Near the main memorial, on each bank of the river, either side of the nearby bridge, are two identical memorials commemorating the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 who built, under fire, a floating bridge at this location in 1914. The English inscription says:
At this point was built under fire by the Royal Engineers of the 4th Division a floating bridge for the passage of the left wing of the British Expeditionary Force after the Battle of the Marne. Portions of the division had already crossed by boat at the weir near Luzancy and below the destroyed bridges.

Communal Cemetery burials

The nearby La Ferté-sous-Jouarre Communal Cemetery contains the graves of five British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 soldiers (including one unidentified) who died in September 1914.


Troop movements in this area during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 include the 1st Division crossing the River Marne here on 3 September on their way south to Rozoy
Rozoy is part of the name of several communes in the Aisne département of northern France.* Chéry-lès-Rozoy* Grand-Rozoy* Rozoy-Bellevalle* Rozoy-sur-Serre...

 during the Retreat from Mons. The 4th Division crossed here a week later on 9 September on their advance northwards to the River Aisne, during the Battle of the Marne
Battle of the Marne
There were two Battles of the Marne, taking place near the Marne River in Marne, France during World War I:* First Battle of the Marne * Second Battle of the Marne...

. One of those commemorated on the memorial is the Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

 driver Cobey, who is featured in a painting by Terence Cuneo.

See also

  • Battle of Mons
    Battle of Mons
    The Battle of Mons was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. It was a subsidiary action of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the Allies clashed with Germany on the French borders. At Mons, the British army attempted to hold the line of the...

     (23 August 1914)
  • Retreat from Mons (24 August - 5 September 1914)
  • Battle of Le Cateau
    Battle of Le Cateau
    The Battle of Le Cateau was fought on 26 August 1914, after the British, French and Belgians retreated from the Battle of Mons and had set up defensive positions in a fighting withdrawal against the German advance at Le Cateau-Cambrésis....

     (26-27 August 1914)
  • First Battle of the Marne
    First Battle of the Marne
    The Battle of the Marne was a First World War battle fought between 5 and 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. The battle effectively ended the month long German offensive that opened the war and had...

     (5-12 September 1914)
  • First Battle of the Aisne
    First Battle of the Aisne
    The First Battle of the Aisne was the Allied follow-up offensive against the right wing of the German First Army & Second Army as they retreated after the First Battle of the Marne earlier in September 1914...

     (13-28 September 1914)

External links

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