One section allows departmental archives to display some of their Great War treasures. 'Send me some 'Flea-Killer' soap,' pleads one soldier from the Lot-et-Garonne, 'I'm being eaten alive.'
The Nord archives contributes the last letter of four men - Sylvère Verhulst, Georges Maertens, Ernest Deconninck and Eugène Jacquet - belonging to the Jacquet intelligence network before they were shot at Lille on 22 September 1915: 'we die proudly as good Frenchmen, as a brave Belgian - on our feet, no blindfold, hands unbound. ... Vive la République! Vive la France!'
Photo: the memorial in Lille to those shot by the Germans, on the Square Daubenton, from an old postcard. The statue was unveiled in 1929; it was demolished by the Germans in 1940, then rebuilt in 1960. The fifth figure, on the ground, represents Léon Trulin, who was eighteen years old when he was shot on 8 November 1915.