During the laying of a new gas pipeline on the Rue de Douai in Roclincourt (Pas-de-Calais), workmen came across the ruins of a communication trench listed on the maps held by the general staff as the ‘Lesieur trench’. At the bottom of this trench lay the body of soldier Pierre Grenier (Private No. 1771 in the 4th Company of the 1st Battalion of the 59th Infantry Regiment.). On 24th September 1915 his unit spent the night at Arras, before being moved up to the Roclincourt sector at the far right flank of the offensive line put in place for the
third battle of Artois.
Pierre Grenier passed through a communication trench to join up with his company; meanwhile, under the pressure of the German artillery fire, the walls of the trench collapsed and buried him. The records for 25
September 1915 shows that the 4
Company recorded 10 men killed, 52 wounded and 4 missing in action. On 11
April 1921 Grenier was officially declared to have “died for his country” by the court at Tournon.
Private Grenier was carrying a light haversack containing a tent, a gas mask and two days’ rations. He was also carrying his personal documents, including photographs of his family, a pencil, his wallet (which contained his gold wedding band) and a handful of coins of which the most recent was a gold ten Franc piece from 1911. Among his personal effects were also found a puzzle in the form of a boat, two aluminium rings and one (unfinished) copper ring, a pocket watch, a pipe and lighter, a penknife, a bronze cross and a small prayer book.