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CAMBODIA

Auguste Pavie’s early career

As the occupation of a country by French troops progressed, it was necessary to be able to communicate quickly. The first telegraph lines were therefore put in place by the Cochinchina expeditionary force. Among the agents of the telegraph service, who had arrived from 1861 onwards, were Charles Lemire , later a Resident in Indochina, and Raphaël Garcerie , a very close friend of Pavie. Ten years later there were 1200 kilometres of lines and 22 offices had been opened for official and private correspondence. The telegraph mission made a big contribution, without mentioning the support it offered to the military, and, often summoned to the heart of the expeditions, it would pay a heavy human toll.

Pavie joined the Indochinese telegraph service in October 1869 as a trainee assistant officer. After returning to France to take part in the war of 1870, he was appointed to Long Xuyen, Ha Tien and then Chau Doc. Affected greatly by the climate, he returned to France in October 1873. According to his personal file, his physical constitution was relatively weak. However, he was a "conscientious, scrupulous and hard working employee", of "excellent" personal appearance and conduct, and who had "offered dedicated service for 4 years". Pavie sat the competitive examination for admission to the telegraph service in Dijon. In his letter of registration for the examination, he explained that he had been at the central office in Saigon and had "managed various offices within the colony all of which were equipped with Morse code machines." Having been admitted, he was appointed as a supernumerary on 30th March 1874 and in 1875, after another competitive examination, was finally integrated fully into the telegraph service. He always received favourable reports and was appreciated for his "very gentle and conciliatory character" and for being "extremely dedicated to his work." In 1876 he was appointed to Kampot, where the line that was intended to link Phnom Penh to Kampot and Kampot to Ha Tien had been started on 18th May 1872 under the supervision of Garcerie.