La Première Ligne: Organ of the 25th Battery of the 3rd Colonial Artillery. Number 53, November 1917

Description

La première ligne (Front line) is the trench journal published by the 25th Battery of the Third Colonial Artillery Regiment of the French armed forces during World War I. Trench journals were produced by and for soldiers at the front and were known for their black humor, portrayal of life on the front lines, poems, drawings, and other features. The journal appeared, usually on a bi-monthly basis, and each issue ran to four pages. It was produced on a simple duplicating apparatus, most likely a mimeograph machine. The Third Colonial Artillery Regiment was engaged in battles on the Western Front throughout the war, including the Battle of the Marne in the summer of 1914, the Second Battle of Champagne in September‒November 1915, the Battle of the Somme (July‒November 1916), and defensive and offensive engagements in 1917 and 1918. The unit suffered heavy casualties and received several citations and commendations for its valor. The copy presented here is from a collection of 47 issues preserved in the National Library of France. The collection includes a handwritten note sent “From the front lines, March 9, 1916” and addressed “To the curator (printed materials), National Library of France.” It reads: “I hope to be helpful by sending you an issue of ‘Première Ligne.’ If this publication is of interest to you, we’d be happy to send you a copy every week.” The note is signed, “Cordially, G. Bidier Colonial Artillery, Battery 78 Zone 86.”

Last updated: January 10, 2018