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War Memorial

Monument - Petit-Bourg

Constructed of concrete in a representational style, the War Memorial was dedicated on August 15, 1926, bearing the inscription: “à la mémoire glorieuse des soldats du Petit-Bourg morts pour la France“ (“in glorious memory of the soldiers of Petit-Bourg who gave their lives for France”). It depicts a dying solider erected on a pedestal wearing the traditional “poilu blue” uniform, with greatcoat and legging bands, pressing the French flag to his breast. A plaque is engraved with the names of 46 young men from Petit-Bourg who died for France. The plaza around the memorial was renovated in 1997. Over 1,100 citizens of Guadeloupe lost their lives in the First World War. Military service became mandatory in the colonies during the Third Republic, motivated by the desire for equality and recognition as full citizens “with all the rights and responsibilities pertaining thereto.” There were, however, many legal obstacles to overcome, in addition to the reticence of military leaders, and for this reason, although the law was passed in 1889, the first military conscriptions did not take place until 1913. The first conscripts from the Antilles arrived in mainland France in the fall of that year. They soon found themselves faced with severe hardship, relating in particular to sanitary conditions and the climate.

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