David. Homsher writes: "I and a number of other Americans, including officers and historians of the U.S. Marine Corps, have had the extraordinary experience of having a young, and extremely knowledgeable French historian take us over the American battlefields in the Marne Salient of 1918. This area includes the town of Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, Torcy, Belleau, Bouresches, etc., and covers the battlefields of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 26th, 28th, 32nd, and 42nd American Divisions, ranging from the vicinity of Chateau-Thierry and northwards to the Ourcq and Vesle Rivers during the Aisne-Marne Defensive and Aisne-Marne Offensive campaigns in June, July and August of 1918. M. Lagin knows them all extremely well.
It is my feeling that the knowledge and services of this dedicated French historian should be brought to the attention of as many Americans as possible. The young historian's name is Gilles Lagin, and he is all of thirty-three years old. Gilles is totally dedicated to the memory of the American Expeditionary Force which fought in his area of France, and in particular to the U.S. Marine Corps and its actions in Belleau Wood, Hill 142 and Bouresches. For the last ten years he has assiduously studied the A.E.F. combat actions in the vicinity of Chateau-Thierry, and ranging up to the Ourcq and Vesle Rivers. M. Lagin is a battlefield historian who knows the American battlefields very well, where the units fought and what happened in each area, down to the location of unit foxholes!
So dedicated to the American Doughboy and his cause in France is M. Lagin, that his greatest hope is someday to open a museum dedicated to the A.E.F. in his home town of Marigny-en-Orxois, just a few miles away from Belleau Wood." ~~ David Homsher
As I say, this was twenty years ago. Since then Gilles has completed his museum and has become very well-known indeed. His reputation as a battlefield guide and historian has grown to the extent that, in 2008, the then-Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, travelled to Belleau Wood personally, to present Gilles with an official certificate acknowledging that he had been made an Honorary Marine, only the second non-US resident to ever receive that honor. (A link to the Marine Corps news story about this ceremony can be found in the right-hand column on this page).
The chief purpose of this blog is to make it easier for visitors to the Belleau Wood region to contact Gilles--- to obtain information about his battlefield guide services--- and about his Belleau Wood museum. For specifics, check the right-hand column on this page. Also found in the right-hand column are links to news stories about Gilles.
~~~ BJ Omanson
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See the pre-production trailer
for the documentary film
The Devil Dogs
about the Battle of Belleau Wood,
featuring Gilles Lagin.
The Devil Dogs is a documentary film project about remembrance and the different forms it may assume. The remembrance of a battle, the Battle of Belleau Wood, and of the American Marines who came to France in 1918 to fight a battle, costing the lives of over 7000 souls.
This battle remains a founding element in the story of the Marine Corps known, to the Germans at that time and place, as Teufelhund or Devil Dogs for the doggedness they showed in battle.
Teaser - The Devil Dogs project from Antoine Favre on Vimeo.
by Antoine Favre and Laura Froidefond
about GILLES LAGIN and his life's work
to perpetuate the memory
of those who died at Belleau Wood..