12th June 1916 was marked by the historical yet legendary "Bayonet Trench" incident.
A memorial, set on the northern slope of the Ravin de la Dame just north of Douaumont Ossuary, pays homage to the soldiers of the Bayonet Trench who were buried alive under enemy shelling. At least that is how the story gets...
The story dates back to 1919 when Colonel Collet, Commander of the 137 I.R., returned to where his unit had fought in June 1916. He noticed rifles sticking out of the ground, some of which still had their bayonets intact.
He decided to build a small memorial on the site but then the press got hold of the history and it captured the public'simagination.
A memorial, financed by the American George Rand, was promptly built and unveiled on 8th December 1920 by the President of the French Republic.
This concrete construction is made up of a large entrance, a long flight of steps to evoke the communication trenches and the memorial itself - a gable decorated with a large cross in relief behind which stands a thick slab supported by simple columns.