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A totally bombastic frontliner group....

Chris Boonzaier

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2nd one says a lot about him being the ultimate super combattant. He and a comrade evacuated the body of their regimental commander killed in the attack on the 25th of September and saved the life of the Lt. carrying thwe colors who was badly wounded. They carried him back through 5kms of heavy infantry and artillery fire...

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2 more citations...

Top one (I have no idea where the award document is, was not on auction) is a divisional one... he was wounded attacking the German front line during the nivelle offensive.

2nd one I am after still... it is on auction...

carried out his missions as a liason runner for 22 days under heavy fire, constant artillery etc. etc. always a volunteer for dangerous missions...

2 docs for those are 1) never seen and for 2) hopefully soon mine.

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About the highest level you can go below... cited at the Corps d'Armee level....

"Bravest of the brave, always giving more, showed courage in the fighting in 1918 carrying out the most dangerous missions through barrage and MG fire with intelligence and good humour....

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Most of the time when we have a group it stops with the medals and award documents.

With this group it is possible to see a bit into a war heroes final years....

Tiffay left the Army in 1921, maybe pensioned off (I am not sure exactly WHEN he joined.

He settled in Commency and was employed at the postoffice. he seems to have married a war widow named Toussaint who had a daughter named Edith.

Somewhere along the line there were two further children Achille (daughter) and Charles.

At the beginning of 1930 Tiffay and his wife were killed/died.

The three went to an orphanage near Bar le Duc, that same year the daughter seems to have been sent to a boarding school...

She was considered a "Pupilles de la Nation" a special class of orphan whose father was killed in the war. I am not sure if the two boys were classified as such

The daughter Edith seems to have gone to a boarding school in 1930.

In 1940 Achille wrote to the notary at Bar le Duc asking if her brother Charles could begin a apprenticeship at a gardener near Robert Espagne.

Must have been a pretty shitty time for the kids.

Thats where the group ends.

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Hi Chris

This man's story makes sense. Born in 1878, he would have been called up in 1898 for Military Service (but he may have volunteered one or two years ealier with parental permission). Volunteering was quite frequent with the Infanterie Coloniale. Since he was still serving in 1909, either he stayed on after his Military Service (3 years in those days) or re-enlisted with the Infanterie Coloniale.

In 1909 he was obviously an regular. Madagascar was a VERY UNHEALTHY part of the french empire, thousands of men died of various sicknesses during the Conquest of Madagascar at the turn of the Century.

I rather believe he received the Medaille militaire on the basis of his years of service ("tableau d'avancement - at least 15 years as a regular), which would have been his case. He then went on with the Infanterie coloniale during WW1; the Infanterie coloniale was heavily engaged at the end of the war in what was called the "Front d'Orient", helping the Roumanians and the Serbs against the Bulgarians. Hence the roumanian awards.

He obviously survived WW1 and went on with his carreer, becoming an "adjudant" or an "adjudant-chef". Since he had received his MM in 1915, by the time he could retire (about 1923/26) with 25 years + with the colours, having a good croix de guerre in addition to MM, he would have been eligible for the Legion of honor, a scarce award to a NCO. In other words an old warrior who had seen much service and risen all the way through the ranks as could, in those days, a man who could read and write, period.

A lovely bunch of papers, far scarcer than the medals he wore..... I would certainly be tempted to get period awards together to go with the papers, or at least his "chest".



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