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WORLD WAR ONE FRENCH VETERANS COMMEMORATIVE BRONZE PLAQUES – UNION NATIONALE des COMBATTANTS (NATIONAL UNION OF COMBATANTS) – SPECTACULAR PAIR WITH FINE DETAIL AND A BEAUTIFUL AGED PATINA:  This is a matched pair, or two single, identical pieces, commemorating the French Union Nationale des Combattants (UNC) [National Union of Combatants].   

The concept of the UNC was created among convalescing French soldiers during 1917, it was chartered in late 1918, and the French government recognized the organization as a society of public interest on June 20, 1920.  Membership is open to former combatants in all conflicts from all branches of the French armed forces and their widows, and to former and currently serving members of the military.  Its aims are to preserve the interests of France, peace and friendship between peoples, and the remembrance of former servicemen.

Recent studies have documented the political mobilization of the UNC and the Union Federale (UF) – the two largest French veterans’ associations during the interwar years.  In the midst of the civil unrest that moved across Europe in the 1920's and 1930's, the UNC sought to extend their influence into the political arena through public demonstrations, propaganda campaigns and the foundation of auxiliary groups.  By the end of the 1930s the UNC and the UF had come together in a campaign for authoritarian political reform, and eventually were closely allied with Marshal Pétain’s Vichy regime. 

These pieces of bronze art are beautifully designed and gracefully executed.  The plaques feature the French Model 15 Adrian helmet as the centerpiece which is laid over combined sprays of foliage bound with a riband bearing the initials “UNC”.  The detail of the casting is quite well done and they must have been intended to decorate a gate or building entry way.  These two pieces do not appear to have been used as they show no wear or damage.  Both retain a soft naturally aged patina that is so desirable in older bronze pieces.   

These are substantial bronze castings, each weighing close to 2.5 pounds and measuring 20” long, 7” high, with a relief of ¾” at the center of the helmet.   

This is a unique offering and one that would be a nice addition to a World War One French militaria collection.  These two pieces can be purchased as a set, or individually - $450 each or $775 for the pair.   



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