Enter your search

Shot to make an example: traitors or faithful patriots?

Default Anecdotes
Many soldiers were shot to make an example during the First and Second World Wars. These victims sometimes forgotten.

The village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont is home to a memorial in memory of the 600 soldiers shot to make an example during the First World War.

In Fleury Wood, Second Lieutenants Henri Herduin and Pierre Millant of the 347th Infantry Regiment were executed without trial on June 11, 1916, for having retreated in Verdun. Having run out of ammunition and unable to receive reinforcements, they decided to save what remained of their company.

At the end of the war, the widow of Second Lieutenant Herduin contacted the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, which began an investigation. In 1921, Louis Barthou, the Minister of War, wrote to the families indicating that the two men who had been shot had died for France, but the deceased were not legally cleared of wrongdoing. Finally, their names were officially cleared in 1961.

On November 4, 2009, a memorial erected in memory of Henri Herduin and Pierre Millant was inaugurated at Fleury-devant-Douaumont. This memorial is located a few hundred meters from the place of execution of Henri Herduin and Pierre Millant, near the war memorial and the Chapelle votive de Fleury. At the Verdun Memorial, you can read the last letter Henri Herduin wrote to his wife.

Memorial to the shootings of Herduin and Militant.

Discover other sites of memory

Back to all stories

Share your story

Do you have information about events experienced by your family during the world wars? By sharing your story, you will enrich our “Drawing inspiration from heroes” section.

I testify

Follow the Land of Memory community