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I saw them dying of their frightful wounds without muttering a word. it was a splendid death of a soldier giving his life (his most precious possession) without regrets, for the triump of [illegible], the welfare of his country, and for civilization against barbarism.
Noble victims of Duty, your sacrifice has not been in vain; you have contributed towards final victory. For I call to you at the bottom of your graves and you hear it, "Victory!" It is coming quickly, the victorious banners of the allies are chasing the treacherous enemy of our France which will soon be free from his defilement.
British soldiers fallen on the soil of sweet France, you who have come to help us to save it, rest in peace. The inhabitants of Picquigny will not forget that it is to you that they owe their freedom from invasions horrors and the protection of their hearths.
You will be the object of our veneration and we shall come each year to place flowers on your graves as a token of gratitude and admiration.
And you children who hear me and young men of 1920 class, who have lived with us during the dark days, how this scene is for you a lesson in history! You see that heroes do not die, that the remembrance of their deeds lives for ever. If one day the country calls you for its legitimate defence, don't hesitate to give your life for it, for the best fate, and the most to be envied, is to die for one's country.
Young pupils when you pass by this cemetery never forget the gratitude and respect you owe to the soldiers sleeping here, never enter this resting place to play, uncover your heads, lower your voices, and remember, for as our great Victor Hugo said:
"Good is it for one's country to die;Good is it that ye mourners are nigh;
Great is their name on the record of fame,
Great is their glory, devoid of all shame.
As a mother will mourn her offspring so dear
So their country for them sheds many a tear.
Then glory to our eternal France,
And to those who thus her glory enhance!
Who came to her rescue and fought with their might
Who gave up their all and died for the right;
Whose names now are placed in the Temple on High,
Who left us a pattern of how men should die."
We thank Chaplain Harper of 16th Battalion for this translation of Victor Hugo's poem.
by M. Moy, Doyen of Picquigny:
My General Officers and Soldiers of the British Army, Ladies, Gentlemen:
It is necessary to live in the times that we are living in to see such a celebration.
It is one of the characteristics of this war to have shown to us the most unexpected things, the most glorious and the most consoling, but also, alas; the most sorrowful.
Military authority, civil authority, religious authority and all three raise in turn their voice in this patriotic manifestation to celebrate the courage and valor of the soldiers of all the allied nations.
It is a pride and an honor to me to be entrusted today