Camille Octave Louis Rapin

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Île-de-France, Seine-et-Oise, Versailles, France

General information

last known residence:
Île-de-France, Seine-et-Marne, Melun, France
Dyer's labourer
Roman Catholic

Army information

French Army
Private Second Class
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Hauts-de-France, Pas-de-Calais, Saint-Omer, France
 —  33ème régiment d'infanterie  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Oostvleteren, Zuidhuis Farm, Belgium
Cause of death:
Died of wounds (D.O.W.)


Nécropole nationale de Notre-Dame de Lorette
Plot: Unknown
Row: Unknown
Grave: 4483

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

Additional information

Camille Octave Louis Rapin was born on 8 May 1895 in Versailles, along with his twin sister Paule. His parents were dyers of fabrics. Rapin senior came originally from Payerne, Kanton Vaud, Switzerland, and later moved to France, where he met Emélie Pilot. They were married in 1888 in Versailles and had six children, two of whom died before reaching the age of two. As well as his sister Paule, Camille had a brother called Marcel who was four years older and a brother called Robert, nine years his junior.

When war broke out, dyer Camille was registered as living in Melun, southeast of Paris. Camille Rapin, aged nineteen, received his call-up papers in December 1914. Camille Octave Louis Rapin, Soldat deuxième classe, was assigned to the 33e Régiment d’Infanterie, 2e Compagnie de Mitrailleuses. In October that same year he was deployed to the front at Aisne. Two German mine explosions immediately gave him a baptism of fire. After that his regiment took part in the Battle of Verdun in March 1916 and the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. From February to April 1917 it found itself in the heat of the battle at Chemin des Dames. Then in June 1917 the regiment made its way to Flanders.

On 31 July, at the start of the Battle of Passchendaele, the 33e Régiment d’Infanterie (51st French Division) was ready to mount an attack. It was given responsibility for taking Bikschote. Over the course of 30 July 1917 the troops had taken up positions behind the canal. As soon as night fell, the engineers began laying footbridges over the water. The attack was to be launched at 03.58 hours with as its objectives the trenches at Kortekeer and Bikschote, and forward positions at Ferme André Smits and Ferme du Cimetière – objectives that turned out to be further away than had initially been instructed.

A little after three in the morning, the troops were in their positions, ready to attack. At that very moment the Germans opened fire, and several men were killed and bridges destroyed. Nonetheless, the attack started as planned. The infantry meticulously followed the artillery barrage and the first objective, the trenches at Casque, was taken without too many problems. The second objective, Ferme Cheurot, was taken a little time later and the trenches at Kortekeer presented no difficulties. Several patrols were sent to scout out the village of Bikschote, and then it too was captured. An advance post was established in Ferme André Smits. The Germans still had a firm hold on the nearby Ferme des Lilas, however. On 1 August the advance post was finally abandoned, as a result of its isolated position and proximity to German forces.

During the attack, Camille Rapin was wounded. He was evacuated to field hospital 8/1 at Zuidhuis in Oost-Vleteren, where he eventually died of his wounds. Today he is commemorated by an individual grave (4483) at the Notre Dame de Lorette French military cemetery in France.

Sources 4

Journal de marches et d'opérations: 33e régiment d'infanterie (Direction des Patrimoines, de la Mémoire et des Archives, Paris (DPMA), 26 N 606/2).
Sources used
Les registres matricules et listes cantonales numérisés (classes 1867-1921) (Archives départementales du Pas-de-Calais, Dainville)
Sources used
Morts pour la France de la Première Guerre mondiale (Direction des Patrimoines, de la Mémoire et des Archives, Paris (DPMA))
Sources used
N.N., Historique du 33e Régiment d’Infanterie pendant la Grande Guerre 1914-1918 (Paris, Imprimerie J. Dumoulin, 1920), 28-31.
Sources used