Remembrance Louis Hébrard - Ieper - 06/03/2019
Friends of the In Flanders Fields Museum
Remembrance on March 6, 2019 at the French military cemetery of Saint-Charles de Potyze at Ieper

The DEAD of 6 March
Soldat 2e Classe Louis HÉBRARD
153e Régiment d’Infanterie, Armée Française

As part of the European project MEMORY (Make European Memory Our Responsability towards Youth), a delegation from Dunkerque (CEFIR, Maison de l'Europe and the Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque) and the cities of Rostock and Gdansk visited Ypres City of Peace on 6 March 2019. Introducing them to the unique memorial practice that the Viff-remembrance has become over many years, seemed useful to them and us.


From all the dead who are included in the List of Names with 6 March as the date of death, we chose one name: Soldat 2nd class Louis Hébrard. He is one of eight members of the French 153rd Infantry Regiment who died on 6 March 1915. Of these eight persons, only he has a final resting place known to us today: tomb No. 429 at the French national cemetery St.Charles-de-Potyze in Ypres.

But with Louis Hébrard, of course, we also commemorate each of the 415 victims who died in Belgium on 6 March as a result of the First World War. The List of Names aims to be an inclusive register of all victims who died or are commemorated in Belgium as a result of the First World War. The 415 names are united with the same date of death. But there are many ways to divide them into very different groups or to bring them together.

To the year of death:
  • 157 in 1915
  • 58 in 1916
  • 51 in 1917
  • 115 in 1918
  • 30 in 1919
  • 4 in 1925
To the distinction between civilians and military
  • 46 victims were civilians. 369 were soldiers: 129 in the German army, 113 in the British, 80 in the Belgian, 34 in the French, 8 in the Canadian and 5 in the Australian army.
By rank: there were 13 officers, 53 non-commissioned officers and 303 other ranks: ordinary soldiers, privates, sailors, gunners, troopers etc.

By gender: 5 women and 410 men

To the country or place of birth:
  • 255 of which we know the place of birth:
  • 1 from Poland, India and Tunesia
  • 2 from Algeria and Australia
  • 3 from Ireland and Canada
  • 17 from Germany
  • 31 from France
  • 93 from the United Kingdom
  • 101 from Belgium
  • 24 of which we know the country of birth, but not the place of birth and
  • 136 of which we can suspect the country of birth but do not know yet. There is still work to be done!

Louis Hébrard was born on 1 May 1894 in Nissan-lez-Enserune in the district of Bé-ziers, in the department of the Hérault in the south of France. He was called up with the militia class of 1914 in Béziers, and became soldat 2nd class in the 4th Company of the 153rd Infantry Regiment, in the 39th Infantry Division. From all the research for the List of Names we know that this regiment was in the Westhoek in three different periods and kept a very detailed war diary - Journal de Marche (JMO), in which all losses, - dead, wounded, missing and sick - are mentioned by name, without distinc-tion of their rank in the army. The research shows that these losses were very high. In the first period the regiment counted no less than 37 losses daily, of which nine dead!

153e Régiment d’Infanterie, Armée Française

6 March 1915 was almost exactly such an average day.

The JMO reports the following deaths:
  • Dormont Albert (caporal fourier), Javeland (2nd cl.) (1st Coy.)
  • Hébrard (2nd cl.), Pavé (2nd cl.) (4th Coy.)
  • Robert (2nd cl.) (5th Coy.)
  • Werner Emile (2nd cl.) (6th Coy.)
  • Nicolaï Marcel cl.13 No 3055 (9th Coy.)
  • Lafitte Prosper (3rd Coy.)
Caporal-Fourrier Albert Louis Dormont received a death certificate with 7/3/1915 as date of death and soldat 2nd cl. Pierre Cyprien Georges Marie is listed in the JMO on 5/3/1915, but on his card with the dead of March 6.

Of all these dead, only the last resting place of Louis Hébrard is known to this day: grave no. 429 in the Nécropole nationale de St.Charles-de-Potyze in Ypres. One grave stands for 7, 8 or 9 dead from the French South...

As the cause of death his file says "died of injuries". So it would have been that Louis died in the medical aid post of St.Charles de Potyze himself, which at that time was still in use in the Potijze primary school, here in the northwest corner of this cemetery. But more likely he died on his way here, during the transport from the trenches east of Zonnebeke. He was first buried in Zonnebeke and only transferred here on 3 March 1923.


One last thought on the death of the 20-year-old Louis Hébrard from the French South. His native village of Nissan-lez-Enserune is now a relatively fast-growing municipality in the district of Béziers. Today there are almost 4000 people living there, in 1914 there were more than a thousand less. The war monument for the victims of the First World War contains 112 names, estimated at about 15% of the then conscripted inhabitants. That is a high toll. Five of these names can also be found in the List of Names. Two died in the first year of the war, three in the final days of the 4th Battle of Ypres (La Bataille des Monts de Flandre - Kemmel). Many dozens of the 112 names are no longer so well known to the inhabitants of Nissan. For four of the five names on the List of Names, we have been able to add details ourselves on the sheet dedicated to the Nissan monument on the Geneanet website. Until today, Louis Hébrard was only known as L. Hebrard (1914-1918). Thanks to this commemoration we have come a little closer to a horrible reality, today 104 years ago. And today also this place and Louis' birthplace have come a little closer, because they have become more recognizable to each other: a place of birth and a place of remembrance.

It seems to us a good reason to continue these remembrances.

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  Page made by - / Foto's/Pictures: Daphné Vangheluwe.