Lettre d'information

Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations

A Major National Remembrance Site

Open to the public, the Memorial stands near the Balard site, a complex of buildings housing the Ministry of the Armed Forces commands, directorates and services. Complete footage of the ceremony of 11 November 2019. Press pack.
- Articles: Les Chemins de la Mémoire - Special edition: French overseas operations: 50 years of engagement
- National day in commemoration of the armistice of 11 November 1918 and in honour of all those who died for France
- Inauguration of the Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations

>> [ Tribute ] Inaugurated on 11 November 2019 by the President of the Republic [ Speech ]
- [ Web series ] Episodes – Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations: background to the project
- Database of soldiers killed in overseas operations (1963 to the present): www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr
- Remembrance site brochures to view online

A symbol of the Nation’s gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice made by servicemen and women deployed in the different theatres of operations since 1963, the Memorial also offers a new place of contemplation for the defence community and the families and loved ones of service personnel.
A symbol of the Nation’s gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice made by servicemen and women deployed in the different theatres of operations since 1963, the Memorial also offers a new place of contemplation for the defence community and the families and loved ones of service personnel.
Since the end of the Algerian War, hundreds of thousands of men and women have been deployed to protect their fellow citizens and, beyond our borders, to defend French interests. To date, 549 servicemen and women have given their lives across 17 overseas theatres of operations and, until now, no national monument had been erected in their honour. It was only natural, then, that the planned tribute to this new generation of service personnel, commonly known as the quatrième génération du feu (“fourth generation of combatants”), should consist of a memorial bearing the names of all those who have died for France in overseas operations.
A tribute to the “fourth generation of combatants”
This tenth Major National Remembrance Site has multiple layers of meaning:
  • To service personnel deployed on overseas operations, it means that the Nation does not forget those who make the ultimate sacrifice, showing the degree of their commitment;
  • To the families of deceased service personnel, it expresses the Nation’s gratitude and offers a place of contemplation and remembrance;
  • To the public, it serves as a reminder that the freedom they enjoy only exists because of those who are prepared to give their lives to defend it.
Its role will also be as a place of contemplation for comrades-in-arms, the military community and veterans’ associations, and as a reminder of France’s ongoing engagements around the world.
The construction of a historic monument
The Memorial consists of a sculpture depicting six service personnel – five men and one woman – bearing an unseen coffin, whose faces show expressions of pain, contemplation and determination. A wall of 37 plaques bearing the names of the 549 servicemen and women killed on overseas operations, theatre by theatre, completes the work.

As well as being used for commemorative ceremonies, it is also the vocation of these places of contemplation to be open to the public. The changing needs and expectations of visitors have made it necessary for some of these sites to develop more of a focus on passing on the remembrance message to young people. The Major National Remembrance Sites are continually undergoing maintenance and improvement works.

The ten Major National Remembrance Sites of the Ministry of the Armed Forces:
  • National Cemetery of Notre Dame de Lorette (Pas-de-Calais)
  • National Cemetery of Fleury-devant-Douaumont and the Bayonet Trench (Meuse)
  • Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp (Bas-Rhin)
  • Mont Valérien (Hauts-de-Seine)
  • Memorial to the Martyrs of Deportation in Île de la Cité (Paris)
  • Montluc Prison Memorial (Rhône)
  • Memorial to the Allied Landings in Provence at Mont Faron (Var)
  • Memorial to the First Indochina War (Var)
  • Memorial to the Algerian War and the fighting in Morocco and Tunisia (Paris)
  • Memorial to French service personnel killed in overseas operations (Paris)

Image source: Ministry of the Armed Force - DICoD / Caption: The Memorial consists of a sculpture depicting six service personnel – five men and one woman – bearing an unseen coffin, whose faces show expressions of pain, contemplation and determination. A wall of 37 plaques bearing the names of the 549 servicemen and women killed on overseas operations, theatre by theatre, completes the work.

 

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