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Seicheprey 1170x350

Digging Into History: WWI Trench Restoration in Seicheprey

By Christine Pittsley
Connecticut World War I Centennial Committee

The Seicheprey Trench Restoration Project is a remarkable new Education initiative planned and coordinated by the Connecticut State Library, which will take place in France this summer.

ChristinePittsleyChristine PittsleyThe project is designed to create a historic site for tourists to visit, and to teach visitors about this important battle & American contributions to the war. The restoration project will take place in France this coming July, and is sponsored, in part, by the American Legion.

Background

In April 1918 German troops launched their first offensive against newly arrived American troops in Seicheprey, France. Those troops were primarily Connecticut men with the 102nd Infantry Regiment who had just recently moved to this “quiet sector” but on the morning of April 20 they fought a battle our small state would never forget.

Connecticut lost 81 young men that day, with another 135 captured and hundreds more wounded. In 1923 Connecticut raised $5,000 to help restore the water supply as the village was rebuilt and installed a fountain with a plaque commemorating the friendship between the people of Connecticut and the people of Seicheprey. This program aims to restore and strengthen that friendship.

Project Details

This July the Connecticut Heritage Foundation, on behalf of the Connecticut State Library, will be bringing 15 Connecticut high school students on a community service trip to Seicheprey. The students, along with 15 French students, will spend July 7-20 in the village where they will work with local historians to restore a section of trench once occupied by Connecticut soldiers.

28656013Trenches of Seicheprey todayThe goal of this work is to create a historic site for tourists to visit while learning about this important battle and American contributions to the war. While there they’ll be immersed in French culture and will strengthen the friendship between our state and Seicheprey that was formed 100 years ago. Prior to leaving students will work with the descendants of the men who fought and died in Seicheprey to learn about their experiences. Upon their return will share their experiences with those descendants, their schools, and their communities.

How You Can Help

Acceptance into this program was competitive with students from across the state writing essays and providing recommendations from teachers and community leaders. We were able to assemble a diverse group of students who are excited to take part in this innovative learning opportunity. However some of our students are facing difficulty in financing the trip, which costs $3406. We are facing tight funding deadlines and want to be able to include all of the selected students, not only the ones who can pay in full, but we need your help to do so.

To learn more about sponsoring a student or to make a donation please contact Christine Pittsley at 860-757-6517 or at christine.pittsley@ct.gov or visit https://ctinworldwar1.org/trenchproject/

Doughboys1826th "Yankee" Division troops in the trenches of Seichepreyroads tfseicheprey 226th "Yankee' Division troops await the order to attack during the battle.