by Pierre-Jacques Ober
It all started in 2014 as an idea for a present for my father’s 80th birthday.
I come from a military family and it was the Centenary of WW1 so I decided to do a little series of images of my WW1 figurines and models in memory of his own father. I never knew him because he died before I was born, his body worn out by a lifetime of warfare.
My father is now 83 and what began as a little creative project has turned into a full-blown exercise in photographic novel making…
Today I would like to introduce my grandfathers :
Jacques Ober, my paternal grandfather :
A professional soldier, he fought continuously from 1912 to 1924.
He was badly wounded three times (1914,1917,1920). He obtained four citations for bravery in combat ( 1915,1917,1918,1920). He was awarded la Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1922, la Médaille Militaire (1915), la Croix de Guerre avec Palmes 14/18, la Croix de Guerre des TOE (1913), la Médaille Militaire Maroc ( 1912), la Croix de Guerre Belge avec Palmes (1916), la Croix de la Vaillance Polonaise (1921), and a few other ones….. He was made Chevalier du Ouissam Alaouite in 1924 and Officier du Nicham Iftikhar in 1933.
Pierre Demenus, my maternal grandfather :
Professional soldier and equestrian master. Non-commissioned officer in the artillery he graduated from the Cadre Noir, the French military Riding Academy. Taken prisoner in June 1940, my grandmother organised his escape from a prisoner camp in Germany and smuggled him to Algeria where he joined the Armee d’Afrique. He fought in the Italy, French and German campaigns between 1943 and 1945 then spent 17 years in the Sahara breeding Arab stallions for the French national stud farm. Back in France at the Independance of Algeria he created and run his own Equestrian Centre in Epernay, the capital of Champagne.