Louis de Cazenave
|Louis de Cazenave|
October 16, 1897|
|Died||January 20, 2008
(aged 110 years, 96 days)
|Years of service||1916–1918|
|Unit||5th Senegalese Tirailleur Battalion|
|Battles/wars||Chemin des Dames|
|Awards||Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur
Croix de guerre 1914–1918
Médaille Interalliée 1914–1918
|Relations||married, three children|
|Other work||railway man|
De Cazenave became the oldest poilu following the death of 111-year-old Maurice Floquet on November 10, 2006. He was also the oldest living Frenchman, as of August 23, 2007, and became the fourth-oldest man in Europe and the eleventh-oldest man in the world on December 11, 2007 until his own death just 40 days later.
Following the death of de Cazenave, Italian native Lazare Ponticelli became the last officially recognized French veteran of the First World War, until his own death on March 12, 2008. Two further French veterans, Fernand Goux and Pierre Picault, died later in 2008, but neither was officially recognised as the last French veteran of the war by the government of France because they served fewer than three months.
Louis de Cazenave was born and raised in Saint-Georges-d'Aurac in the Auvergne region of south central France. When he turned nineteen years old, at the end of 1916, he was mobilized into the military. He found himself in various units before being assigned to the colonial infantry front in the 5th Senegalese Tirailleur Battalion and fought in the Battle of Chemin des Dames.
At the end of the war, de Cazenave returned to Haute-Loire and married in 1920 to Marie, a postmistress with whom he had three sons. He became a railwayman, joining the predecessor to the SNCF. His experiences led him to become a convinced pacifist; later on, he participated in the strikes and demonstrations of the Popular Front in 1936 before going into retirement in 1941. During the Nazi occupation of France, he subscribed to the banned left-wing libertarian journal La Patrie Humaine and was imprisoned by the pro-Nazi regime.
- List of last surviving World War I veterans by country
- Second Battle of the Aisne
- Oldest people
- "France's oldest WW1 veteran dies". BBC News. 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- "Louis de Cazenave: Veteran who survived the Chemin des Dames". The Times. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-04-05.