Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Raymond Jubert (1889 - 1917) - French WW1 soldier poet

Raymond Armand Alexis Jubert was born on 5th November 1889 in Charleville-Mézières (Ardennes), France. His parents were Ernest and Nathalie Jubert. Raymond studied law and was called to the Bar in Reims.  He volunteered to serve in the French Army in September 1914, joining the 91st R.I. (Infantry Regiment).  

In April 1915, Raymond was promoted to the rank of junior officer and posted to the 151st R.I. (known in French as the "Quinze-Un" (151)), seeing  action with them in the forests of the Argonne. On 1st July 1915, Raymond was shot in the foot with a bullet and received eleven grenade splinters in his right arm. His younger brother, Maurice Joubert, was killed fighting in the Argonne. A corporal in the 91st R.I., Maurice disappeared in the Bois de Boulante on 13th July 1915, only short distance from where Raymond had been wounded. Maurice's body was never recovered.

In November 1915, Raymond was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant and served at Verdun in March, April and May 1916, and again during the attack on the Chemin-des-Dames in April 1917, where he was wounded again - in the left arm. During his three years of service with the 151st, Jubert was awarded the Orders of the Division and Army Corps, along with two more in the Orders of the Army. He also received the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre with two palms, and stars of vermilion, gold and silver. His Legion of Honour citation read:

"Brillant officier, of high moral valour, a true leader of men, proven himself in the Argonne, Verdun and the Somme for his gallant conduct under fire. Twice cited in dispatches: on 16 April 1917, brilliantly led his section in the assault, wounded, nevertheless continued to lead the progression and did allow himself to be evacuated until after received orders."

The 151st returned for a fourth tour to Verdun in August 1917 to take part in the French counter-attack on the Right Bank of the River Meuse. Raymond was killed on 26th August 1917 after leading his men in an attack in the Bois des Caurières (Ravin de l'Ermitage). Last seen at the objective -Tranchée Bois de la Chaume - his body was never recovered and, like his brother, Raymond has no known grave. Raymond is remembered on the memorial plaque in the Saint-Rémi Church and on the Monument to the Dead in Charleville-Mézières, France.

During his period of recuperation after seeing action and being wounded at Chemin-des-Dames, Raymond wrote his memoirs which were published as “Verdun (mars-avril-mai 1916)” by Payot, Paris in 1918.

When he was 14 years old, Raymond sent these rather prophetic lines to the French poet François Edouard Joachim Coppée (26 January 1842 – 23 May 1908):

Salus Patriæ suprema lex

Pour cela, nous suivrons l’exemple de nos pères,
Et, portant fermement le drapeau, nous irons
Défendre notre foi, le pays et nos frères,
Et s’il le faut, nous périrons.

The safety of the country is the supreme law

For that we will follow the example of our fathers,
And, carrying the flag firmly, we will go
Defend our faith, the country and our brothers,
And if necessary, we will perish.

Sources: http://151ril.com/content/history/151e-ri/12


French Croix de Guerre  

The Croix de Guerre is a military decoration of France created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. 

The decoration was first awarded during the First World War, again in World War II, and in other conflicts; the croix de guerre des théâtres d'opérations extérieures ("cross of war for external theatres of operations") was established in 1921. The Croix de Guerre was also bestowed on foreign military forces allied to France.

The National Order of the Legion of Honour (French: Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur), formerly the Royal Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre royal de la Légion d'honneur), is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it has been retained (with occasional slight alterations) by all later French governments and regimes.

The order's motto is Honneur et Patrie ("Honour and Fatherland"); its headquarters is the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur next to the Musée d'Orsay, on the left bank of the Seine in Paris.

The order is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand officier (Grand Officer) and Grand-croix (Grand Cross).