This post about the war stereoviews of Paul Piotin is the second post about the collection of Guy Laluque. For an overview of Paul's life and the photos he took before the war, I refer to the first post.
The First World War broke out on July 28, 1914. On August 3, Germany declared war on France. Paul is mobilized for the French army in Chalon-sur-Saône and receives registration number 1170. During his life at the front he creates many war stereoviews.
It's remarkable that the inscription on the box with photos of the mobilization reads: “Guerre Franco-Allemande” (Franco-Prussian war). It shows that in the beginning of the war it was mainly seen by the French as a showdown between the two rivals France and Germany. Later boxes simply have the inscription “Guerre”, followed by the year.
Paul captures daily life at the front, such as: exercises, his comrades and the positions where he resides. Soldiers were prohibited from having a camera on the front line to prevent espionage and bypass censorship. However, reality was different.
Paul was killed in action during the Battle of Verdun on August 5, 1916. At that time he's a sergeant in the 1st company of the 56th infantry regiment. According to his death certificate, he was "killed by the enemy" near Fort de Souville, one of the forts of the fortress ring around the city of Verdun.
The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin
The huge numbers of soldiers who died during the First World War are hard to comprehend. Every fallen soldier was a person with ambitions and dreams. The war brought an early end to many dreams and many names have been forgotten. With these two posts about the life and photography of Paul Piotin, one of them has fallen from obscurity and Guy and I hope that his name and photography will be remembered.