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Trial by fire in the great war : from euphoria to trauma

In 1914, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty. Traumatised by the disaster of the Dardanelles which led to his resignation in 1915, he developed an interest in painting and this slowly became a passion which helped him to treat the depression which afflicted him and which he called the Black Dog. He voluntarily chose to serve in Flanders, donning an officer’s uniform and discovering the trenches.
De Gaulle was a lieutenant in the 33rd Infantry Regiment of Arras when he had his baptism of fire in the course of the Battle of Dinant in Belgium, on 15 August 1914. He was wounded for a third time at the Battle of Verdun in 1916, leading to his being taken prisoner by the Germans until the end of the war.

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Charles de Gaulle
Telegram to Albert Ledoux (1901-1988),
Free France representative in Latin America
1941 - Typed paper - Prive collection Bruno Ledoux

© Paris, musée de l’Armée/Pierre-Luc Baron Moreau

Colonial helmet used by Free French Forces (FFL) with badge
Made between 1940 and 1945
Leather, metal, cork and canvas

© Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/image musée de l'Armée

Fuzes, Delay Action, A. C.,
Made between 1940 and 1945
metal, glass, acetone

Musée du Déminage - Association des Démineurs de France / © Paris, musée de l’Armée

Poster « À tous les Français »
London, 1940 - Printed on paper

© Musée de l'ordre de la Libération

Charles de Gaulle
Appeal of 22 June 1940 pronounced on BBC radio
Appeal of 22 June 1940 disc
1940 - 78s. Disc -


Winston Churchill,
"Hommage à la France" (Pledge to Free France)
21 october 1940