Apocalypse 10 lives - Learning resource files

Émilien Meysenot

  • Nationality: French
  • Birth date: March 23, 1893
  • Family/social situation:

    A farmer from a family of farmers. His brother, Hector, is a chemist in Pont-de-Claix, near Grenoble.

  • Occupation:

    Sheep farmer, then soldier

Biographical elements of the character
Elements of the historical context
  • August 1, 1914

    The heights of Chabestan in the Hautes-Alpes region of France.
    Émilien is napping. He is awoken by his friend Jules, who passes by on his bicycle and announces that war has begun.

  • Universal mobilization, August 1, 1914.

  • August 8, 1914

    In front of the Vinoy barracks in Grenoble.
    Hector has come to bid farewell to his younger brother, Émilien, who is leaving for northern France. Employed in the chemical industry, Hector has not been conscripted.

  • Development of the chemical industry in France.

  • August 15, 1914

    Col du Bonhomme, Vosges Mountains, eastern France.
    Émilien’s first combat experience. The soldiers’ bright uniforms are easily spotted.

  • Trench warfare. French infantry uniforms unsuitable for modern warfare.

  • August 27, 1915

    In the trenches at Suippes, France.
    Between bouts of fighting, Émilien writes letters and Jules carves a cartridge casing.


  • The daily routine for the soldiers in the trenches. Boredom, anxiety. The mail. Trench handicrafts.

  • September 23, 1917

    Butte de Vauquois, near Verdun.
    Émilien lays explosives in tunnels dug underneath the German trenches. 

  • Butte de Vauquois. The mine war, seen from the French side.

  • April 22, 1918

    In a train carrying the 140th Infantry Regiment, on the Flanders front.
    Émilien reads a letter from his brother, Hector.

  • Encouragement from the home front.

  • June 4, 1918

    In the French trenches, Wormhout, Flanders, France.
    The use of mustard gas in trench warfare.

  • Mustard gas, also called yperite (from its use in the Battle of Ypres).

  • April 6, 1919

    The laboratory of Hector Meysenot, Pont-de-Claix.
    Hector learns that the gas that killed his brother was the yperite he helped develop.

  • Grief.