Jules André Peugeot was born on 11 June 1893 at Étupes in the Doubs. His father was a factory worker while his mother was an elementary school teacher. After completing studies, he was appointed, in 1912, as an elementary school teacher at Villers le Lac. Called up for military service in the infantry, he was promoted to corporal, and started preparing for the competitive examination to becoming a reserve officer.
Fate had it otherwise
Things turned out differently with the assassination, on 28 June 1914, at Sarajevo, of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie Chotek, duchess of Hohenberg. With the formation of alliances, Europe soon found itself in a war. Thus, on 1 August 1914, Germany and France decreed an all-out confrontation.
Corporal Peugeot served in the 44th RI, the so-called "reserve unit" in charge of guarding the Franco-German border and was the commander of a squad in the 6th company of the 2nd Battalion. On 2nd August 1914, a German eight-man reconnaissance detachment of the 5th chasseur cavalry regiment of Mulhouse, an Alsatian town under German occupation since 1871, violated the French border on their way to Joncherey from Faverois.
The commander of the German detachment, a twenty-two year old second lieutenant, Albert Mayer, upon seeing the position of the French squad, decided to charge forward on horseback with swords. Without killing the squad sentry, he fire thrice at Corporal Peugeot with his Parabellum pistol. Despite being fatally wounded by two bullets, the corporal summoned his last iota of strength and fired back in retaliation. His shot hit Second Lieutenant Mayer on the stomach, and before he breathe his last a few moments later, as well as his attacker, who had received a second shot from another French soldier.
It wasn’t until the following day, 3rd August 1914, that the war was declared
Corporal Peugeot was commended in the order of the regiment and received the War Cross and the Military Medal, though posthumously. In memory of the death of this brave soldier, Mr Louis Docourt of Joncherey apposed at the front of his house a plate decorated with a cross bearing the inscription: "Here lies Corporal Peugeot, who died on 2nd August 1914". On 26 July 1922, President Raymond Poincaré inaugurated a monument in his memory, at Joncherey. In July 1930, the Anatole-France Street situated in the Paris 17th District, was named after Corporal Peugeot. A square too has been named after him.
Delle, a land that has become a shrine for all the men of France, shall bear testimony to our children as to how, at the warfront, at the age of twenty, the first French elementary school teacher, died for the defence of his Fatherland, for Law and Justice.