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    1914 graduating class of the French Army Officers Academy St.Cyr

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    Hello readers.

    The following entry is based on an article by Brig.Gen. ( retd) Jean Boy dated Nov. 2007 and 2.Nov.2010 published by the French Army Officers Academy St.Cyr publication. The article is concerned with the 1914 graduating class the examinations of which were stopped by the outbreak of the war. All 791 ( count varies in some reports ) members were considered graduates and were to enter active service to receive four months of training. In early December 1914 they were promoted to the rank of 2nd Lt. and sent to combattant units.

    In January 1915 this class received the the name " Promotion de la Grande Revanche ".but other particulars normally established such as class ranking, choice of particular arm ( colonial infantry, artillery etc) did not take place.

    Losses of this class during WW I and later also vary in the several reports which exist. One account, that by Col. Jean Le Boulicaut in the Golden Book listing those graduates of St.Cyr who died on the Field of Honor gives fourhundred sixtythree who lost their lives as follows:

    - fourhundred and six died in action or from wounds during WW I;

    - eight in Marocco;

    - one in the Middle East in 1920;

    - one in Syria in 1924;

    - one in China in 1938;

    - twentyfour during WW II including in deportation;

    - two in Algeria;

    - twenty given without details.

    One member of this class was honored by the later class , the one of 1986-89 which adopted his name. Thus the 173rd class of the Ecole Speciale Militaire de St. Cyr was named Promotion General Callies.

    The General Jean Callies was the recipient of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and the Military Cros ( Medaille Militaire ).

    One example of the above described losses is the fate of Lt. Robert Casenave, who was so severely wounded in March of 1915 in the head and both hands , that the latter left him with only two fingers on each hand. He struggled to regain an assignment of front line duty and he joined the 46.Infantry Regiment. He was again severely wounded on March 28, 1918 and all trace of him was lost.

    I believe the above brief description demonstrates dedication and sense of duty of these young men during a time of war into which they were thrown from one moment to the next to fill positions of leadership.

    Bernhard H. Holst

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    Interesting facts. Almost 60% of the class died in service to France. I wonder how that compares to other nations' academies.

    Hello Rick.

    I have not come across information about other participants' academies losses. But in continuing the subject into the French phase of the Vietnam or rather the Indochina war ending in 1954 it was said that France lost every year the equivalent of a graduating class in that conflict. As a reference point the graduating class of the course 1948/50 named Promotion General Frere had 441 graduates. The newly promoted officers would not reach the theatre of war until after continuing training in their respective arm or not before 1951/52. Officers tour of duty in Indochina was 27 months. Of these 441 graduates 42 lost their lives in Indochina and 16 in Algeria, 6 of them had the rank of captain and 52 that of lieutenant.

    Bernhard H. Holst.

    Edited by Bernhard H.Holst
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    Not a true comparison, but I found that the West Point class of 1942 - the first graduating class after war declared in December 1941 lost 70 of 374 graduates in WWII. They could have had a few more deaths in Korea and Vietnam. The class earned a total of 134 Purple Hearts; some of those additional 64 casualties were possibly KIA in the later conflicts.

    But still nowhere near the loss percentage of St. Cyr 1914.

    Edited by IrishGunner
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