Bronze Hand - Monument on Dobro Pole in Macedonia



As someone who originates from village Gradesnica, (Mariovo Region) when I was young many times I had heard the story of the monument "Bronze Hand" which in 1938 was placed on Dobro Pole. My grandfather who told me the story had only 13 years then, and since this was a big event in my village, with many visitors and officials from France and Serbia, this was one of the stories connected to First World War which was/is told to all kids in the village.

Dobro pole location as seen from the border line from Macedonian towards Greek side
Dobro pole location as seen from the borderline from Macedonian towards Greek side
According to this story, the hand of a certain soldier was ripped by shrapnel during the Battle for Dobro Pole, so he wrapped it into some cloth and hide it under some rock. When he came 20 years later to place the monument, supposedly he found some small bones under the rock.

I'm not sure if my grandfather had ever seen this "monument" since it soon disappeared and from his story, I got the impression that the monument was in form of a hand made in bronze, but several years later in 2012, I had an opportunity to find out more about this story.

Namely the soldier who lost his hand was the French artist and sculptor Marcel Ganguilhem (1895-1949) also known by his artistic name “Cel-le-Gaucher” translation: Leftie. Marcel participated during the offensive on September 15, 1918 not on Dobro Pole, but on the nearby hill “Sokol” where he lost his right hand. After the war he created artworks using only his left hand, and in 1937 he made the monument which on the occasion 20 years after the end of First World War, was placed on Dobro Pole, to mark the importance of this location.  The French delegation was led by Louis Cordier and together with the Serbian authorities, they have placed the monument on September 19, 1938.

Marcel Ganguilhem with the monument
Marcel Ganguilhem with the monument

Bronze Hand - Monument on Dobro Pole in MacedoniaBronze Hand - Monument on Dobro Pole in Macedonia

 

 Monument on Dobro Pole in Macedonia
 

Photos from the private archive of Franck Roger 

In addition, there were a number of other ceremonial activities, which according to the stories of the local population were discontinued by a telegram for the French delegation, informing them about some hostile German activity at the beginning of the Second World War.

Over time the monument was lost and only holes in the rock were present, marking the location where the monument was placed.

Forgotten and only known by the local population this location was visited on September 29th 2012 by Franck Roger from "Association Nationale pour le souvenir des Dardanelles et Fronts d' ORIENT". Franck with the help of Fabien Schaeffer and the local population identified the location where once the monument was placed and again revived the story about this event.

I had an opportunity first time to visit this location in May 2016, and it’s sad to say but I’m one of the very few people which have done this. The main problem is the accessibility of this location, since it can be only visited with 4x4 vehicle, driving on road which is in very bad condition and not marked. First time visitors can be easily lost if they are not accompanied by a local guide.




Dobro pole - The rock on which the monument was placed

Dobro pole - The rock on which the monument was placed
Dobro Pole - The rock on which the monument was placed

Also, very few people know the story of the monument and the importance of The Battle for Dobro Pole.

Dobro Pole
Dobro Pole

Panorama of Mariovo region in Macedonia
Panorama of Mariovo region in Macedonia


Border line Macedonia / Greece
Borderline Macedonia / Greece


Panorama - Dobro Pole - looking from Macedonian / Greek border toward Greece
Panorama - Dobro Pole - looking from Macedonian / Greek border toward Greece


Bunker from WW1
Bunker from WW1

Taken the importance of this location and also the number of soldiers which participated in the battle, we can be sure that in the next period many descendants, historians, and tourist will visit this location.

Text and photos: Pargovski Jove


Update October 2018

As member of the association for exploring and travel OFF ROAD Macedonia, I had the honor of organizing an event which marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Dobro Pole. You can find out more about the event on the following (link), and the promotional video from the event. As part of the actrivities for the 100th anniversary, a copy of the monument was placed at the French cemetery in Bitola, as part of the activities of the "Association Nationale pour le souvenir des Dardanelles et Fronts d' ORIENT""


How to Get to Dobro Pole

The best and safest way is with Jeep Safari




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