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Pictures | Fri Mar 21, 2014 | 4:15am IST

WWI - Verdun's missing villages

<p>The WWI Douaumont ossuary is seen near Verdun, eastern France, March 4, 2014. The sentence reads 'This tower was given to the great deeds of Verdun by their friends from the U.S'. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

The WWI Douaumont ossuary is seen near Verdun, eastern France, March 4, 2014. The sentence reads 'This tower was given to the great deeds of Verdun by their friends from the U.S'. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

The WWI Douaumont ossuary is seen near Verdun, eastern France, March 4, 2014. The sentence reads 'This tower was given to the great deeds of Verdun by their friends from the U.S'. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>The WWI Douaumont ossuary is seen near Verdun, eastern France March 4, 2014. A hundred years after the start of World War One, nine villages wiped out by fighting on France's bloodiest battleground continue to lead a ghostly existence. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

The WWI Douaumont ossuary is seen near Verdun, eastern France March 4, 2014. A hundred years after the start of World War One, nine villages wiped out by fighting on France's bloodiest battleground continue to lead a ghostly existence....more

The WWI Douaumont ossuary is seen near Verdun, eastern France March 4, 2014. A hundred years after the start of World War One, nine villages wiped out by fighting on France's bloodiest battleground continue to lead a ghostly existence. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>Crosses are seen at the WWI Douaumont ossuary near Verdun, eastern France March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

Crosses are seen at the WWI Douaumont ossuary near Verdun, eastern France March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Crosses are seen at the WWI Douaumont ossuary near Verdun, eastern France March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A combination picture shows views of the village of Fleury near Verdun, before 1916 (top) and March 5, 2014. The villages' names still appear on maps and in government records. REUTERS/Collection Fleury/Vincent Kessler</p>

A combination picture shows views of the village of Fleury near Verdun, before 1916 (top) and March 5, 2014. The villages' names still appear on maps and in government records. REUTERS/Collection Fleury/Vincent Kessler

A combination picture shows views of the village of Fleury near Verdun, before 1916 (top) and March 5, 2014. The villages' names still appear on maps and in government records. REUTERS/Collection Fleury/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A plaque marks the place where a cafe used to stand in the village of Fleury near Verdun March 5, 2014. But most of the streets, shops, houses and people who once lived around the French army stronghold of Verdun are gone. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

A plaque marks the place where a cafe used to stand in the village of Fleury near Verdun March 5, 2014. But most of the streets, shops, houses and people who once lived around the French army stronghold of Verdun are gone. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler more

A plaque marks the place where a cafe used to stand in the village of Fleury near Verdun March 5, 2014. But most of the streets, shops, houses and people who once lived around the French army stronghold of Verdun are gone. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>Jean-Pierre Laparra, 62, the mayor of Fleury, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun March 5, 2014. Mayors representing the villages are designated by local authorities. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

Jean-Pierre Laparra, 62, the mayor of Fleury, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun March 5, 2014. Mayors representing the villages are designated by local authorities. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Jean-Pierre Laparra, 62, the mayor of Fleury, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun March 5, 2014. Mayors representing the villages are designated by local authorities. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>Trees stand in the village of Fleury, near Verdun March 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

Trees stand in the village of Fleury, near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Trees stand in the village of Fleury, near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A combination picture shows views of the village of Ornes near Verdun, in 1916 (top) after a German offensive, and March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Ornes/Vincent Kessler</p>

A combination picture shows views of the village of Ornes near Verdun, in 1916 (top) after a German offensive, and March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Ornes/Vincent Kessler

A combination picture shows views of the village of Ornes near Verdun, in 1916 (top) after a German offensive, and March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Ornes/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A combination picture shows views of the village of Ornes near Verdun, in 1916 (top) and March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Ornes/Vincent Kessler</p>

A combination picture shows views of the village of Ornes near Verdun, in 1916 (top) and March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Ornes/Vincent Kessler

A combination picture shows views of the village of Ornes near Verdun, in 1916 (top) and March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Ornes/Vincent Kessler

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<p>Charles Saint-Vannes, 77, the mayor of Ornes, poses for a photograph in the remains of the village's church near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

Charles Saint-Vannes, 77, the mayor of Ornes, poses for a photograph in the remains of the village's church near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Charles Saint-Vannes, 77, the mayor of Ornes, poses for a photograph in the remains of the village's church near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A monument stands in Vaux near Verdun March 4, 2014. The quote from former French president and later prime minister Raymond Poincare reads 'Passers-by tell other people that this village died to save Verdun so that Verdun could save the world'. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

A monument stands in Vaux near Verdun March 4, 2014. The quote from former French president and later prime minister Raymond Poincare reads 'Passers-by tell other people that this village died to save Verdun so that Verdun could save the world'....more

A monument stands in Vaux near Verdun March 4, 2014. The quote from former French president and later prime minister Raymond Poincare reads 'Passers-by tell other people that this village died to save Verdun so that Verdun could save the world'. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A combination picture shows views of the village of Louvemont near Verdun, in 1916 (top) and March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Louvemont/Vincent Kessler</p>

A combination picture shows views of the village of Louvemont near Verdun, in 1916 (top) and March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Louvemont/Vincent Kessler

A combination picture shows views of the village of Louvemont near Verdun, in 1916 (top) and March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Collection Louvemont/Vincent Kessler

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<p>Francois-Xavier Long, 69, the mayor of Louvemont, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

Francois-Xavier Long, 69, the mayor of Louvemont, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Francois-Xavier Long, 69, the mayor of Louvemont, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A road sign that reads "main street" stands in the village of Bezonvaux near Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

A road sign that reads "main street" stands in the village of Bezonvaux near Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

A road sign that reads "main street" stands in the village of Bezonvaux near Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A cross is seen at the "Tranchee des Baillonettes" (Trench of the Bayonets) monument near Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

A cross is seen at the "Tranchee des Baillonettes" (Trench of the Bayonets) monument near Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

A cross is seen at the "Tranchee des Baillonettes" (Trench of the Bayonets) monument near Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>Jean Lavigne, 72, the mayor of Cumieres-le-Mort-Homme, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun, March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

Jean Lavigne, 72, the mayor of Cumieres-le-Mort-Homme, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun, March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Jean Lavigne, 72, the mayor of Cumieres-le-Mort-Homme, poses for a photograph in his village near Verdun, March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A monument stands in Cumieres-le-Mort-Homme near Verdun March 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

A monument stands in Cumieres-le-Mort-Homme near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

A monument stands in Cumieres-le-Mort-Homme near Verdun March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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<p>A WWI monument stands in Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>

A WWI monument stands in Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

A WWI monument stands in Verdun March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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