The coffin containing the body of Marshal Philippe Petain, France's World War One hero who was accused as a World War Two traitor, has been stolen from its grave.
SV Graves in cemetery
LV & CU Petain's grave (3 shots)
CU Plaque "Au Marechal"
CU Grave: "L'Auvergne Reconnaissante a notre illustre Marechal Petain"
Initials BB/0000 TH/MR/BB/0015
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Background: The coffin containing the body of Marshal Philippe Petain, France's World War One hero who was accused as a World War Two traitor, has been stolen from its grave. A guard at the cemetery on Ile d'Yeu, off the French Atlantic coast, discovered the gravestone prised open this morning (Monday, February 19).
To confirm that the grave had been robbed, workmen were ordered to lift the heavy gravestone. They found the coffin missing.
Marshal Petain was buried on the island when he died there in imprisonment, aged 95, in 1951. He became a national figure leading the French forces during the titanic battle of Verdun in 1916.
But for many Frenchmen his heroism was tarnished when he led the Vichy Government which collaborated with Hitler's Germany during World War Two. In 1945 he was tried and sentenced for high treason. But controversy still reigns over his role in French history.