The National Memorial to sailors who died for France at Pointe Saint-Mathieu


The National Memorial to Sailors who died for France

At Pointe Saint-Mathieu, the Mémorial National des Marins morts pour la France pays tribute to sailors who died at sea. It comprises an imposing stele on the esplanade du Souvenir, a fully restored cenotaph in a fort and the Chemin de Mémoire, which leads to the Musée Mémoires 39-45 via the Rospects site. A moving journey.


To all the sailors who died for France

The grateful country

The National Memorial to Sailors who Died for France pays tribute to sailors from the French Navy, the Merchant Navy, the Fishing Fleet and the Sea Rescue Service who died for France and have no known grave. A tribute ceremony is held here every year, facing the Iroise Sea.

Stele Memorial Marins Morts pour la France pointe Saint-Mathieu

Since 1927

René Quillivic's stele

Supporting families

In the aftermath of the First World War, the Pointe de Saint-Mathieu was chosen to honor the sailors who died for France. Wanted by the hero of the Dardanelles, Admiral Guépratte, the site has been home since 1927 to a stele sculpted by Finistère artist René Quillivic.At the top of this 17-metre stele, the face of a grieving woman, mother or wife ,expresses the pain of families who have suffered.

The esplanade du Souvenir français was inaugurated in 1990. The fort became a cenotaph in 2005, following the formation of the Aux Marins association.


The cenotaph

Visit the crypts

The cenotaph, housed in a former fort, contains portraits of thousands of sailors who have passed away. Their youth and their looks move the visitor. The Association Aux Marins keeps a register enabling families to search for a grandfather or request his registration. 

Cenotaph National Memorial to Sailors who died for France Pointe Saint-Mathieu



François Colin (1883 - 1916)

Son of Jean-Marie and Marie-Yvonne L'Hostis, François Colin was born on April 13, 1883 in Ploumoguer. Trained as a blacksmith, he joined the French Navy at the age of 18, working as a mechanic on several ships. In September 1916, he joined the battleship Suffren as chief petty officer. On November 26, in foggy weather and rough seas off Lisbon, a German submarine attacked the Suffren, which sank instantly. 648 sailors were reported missing, including François Colin, husband of Marie-Herveline Cléach and father of Jean-René, both of Le Conquet.

François Colin's portrait, and those of so many other sailors, can be seen at the Mémorial national des marins morts pour la France, at Pointe Saint-Mathieu.

Sailors missing at sea National memorial to sailors missing at sea Pointe Saint-Mathieu
Chemin de mémoire pointe Saint-Mathieu


The memory trail

A 4 km loop

Around Pointe Saint-Mathieu, granite blocks all along the path of memory reveal the names of ships and their crews that have disappeared, whatever the cause of the wreck (battles, storms, events and fortunes of the sea, rescue...). The path starts near the Notre-Dame de Grâce chapel. It skirts the sea by the Rospects site, then passes close to the Musée Mémoires 39-45 before reaching the Mémorial National des Marins morts pour la France for a final meditation. A moving route.