In his first battle almost everyone around him was killed

Charles DeGaulle served in the French Army during WWI. After being wounded twice and sent back to the front lines the unit he was commanding was captured by the Germans during the battle of Verdun. He tried to escape twice but caught both times and finally put into a high security prison where he and another prisoner made a successful attempt to escape. They made it 2/3 of the way to Switzerland before they were captured again. He even escaped three more times but was recaptured each time. He ended up spending the last 2 1/2 years of WWI as a German prisoner.

(Book – DeGaulle: The Rebel 1890-1944 – Jean Lacouture)

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