Sous-Lieutenant, 9th Company, 79thRegiment of Infantry, French Army.
Killed in action 10th April 1916, age 33.
Buried at Nécropole Nationale, Esnes-en-Argonne, France (tomb 66).
Lecturer in french.
Louis was born on 1st July 1882 at SaintRambert-en-Bugey to Louis, a surveyor, and Eugenie Lailavoix. He had a twin sister, Louise. He was educated at the Lyce Condorcet, Paris before proceeding to the Sorbonne where he obtained his degree. After being awarded an M.A. from the University of London Louis joined the staff of Manchester University in 1910 as a Lecturer in French under Professor Leon Kastner. He had a strong interest in English Literature and in 1913 published a book in french about Geoffrey Chaucer.
On the outbreak of war Louis obeyed the call of his country, joined the French Army and was mobilized as a Soldat de 2nde Classe on 12th August 1914. He was promoted to Sous-Lieutenant in April 1915 and died during a defensive battle around Côte (hill) 304 near Verdun 12 months later. In 1921 he was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre for conspicuous valour during the Battle of Verdun.
In a letter to Professor Weiss Loius wrote that “Your men are certainly better off than ours, for your commissariat has ampler means… I spent a week in a shelter where the only possible position was the sitting posture, with one’s knees under one’s chin. It did not really matter, for I was hardly ever in it. The most trying time is at night, for then only can we work; the soldier becomes a navvy; he lays aside his rifle and takes up shovel and pick, digging, digging as to obtain a measure of security. And rifles go off meanwhile, bombs explode, the wounded are carried away, and the ranks close up… It is our task to rouse their flagging energies and to push on the work until full daylight. Then only can we rest, rolled up in our blankets, indifferent to the bombing of the guns, sleeping the deep sleep of oblivion until fresh duties call us up again.”
The University magazine recalled Louis to be a kind, sympathetic, conscientious, distinguished scholar. He was a popular teacher of rare ability, devoted to the cause of learning with an untiring interest in his students: “The news that he was among the fallen heroes of the war came as a severe blow, especially to those whose privilege it had been to come into close contact with him during their University course… Words are inadequate to describe the deep sympathy which we all feel for those near and dear to him who have been left behind”
Louis left a widow (an Irish lady), who in addition to their two young children, aged 18 months and three months, had an elderly mother to care for. The University was able to make a temporary grant to the family, but with a pension from the French Government of less than £60 to live on Louis’ colleagues, friends and former students started a fund to help relieve his family’s hardship and as a means of expressing their own acute sense of loss.