Friday, May 31, 2013

The 'Godmothers' of Lille

1. Monument for the poet Alexandre Desrousseaux
Representing the children's lullaby:

"Le P'tit Quinquin" / "L'canchon Dormoire"
2. Monument for the WW1 heroine Louise de Bettignies
Alias "Alice Dubois, the Queen of spies" 
3. The "Catho" (Catholic University of Lille)
[Where wounded British soldiers were treated in 1940]

4. Monument honouring the couriers who lost their lives (1940 - 1945)
Located in front of the Louise de Bettignies monument
[Dedication by the French National Union of Couriers]
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The A.F.S. Memorial, Tavistock Square, London

1. AFS Memorial near  Tavistock Square, London
2. Site of the AFS WW2 Memorial, London
 The above photographs show the AFS memorial at the junction of Upper Woburn Place and Tavistock Square, London. It commemorates the loss of two Auxiliary Fireman who died from injuries received as a result of enemy bombing in April 1941.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Jean Moulin and Charles de Gaulle

1. Jean Moulin (1899 - 1943)
The unifying force of the internal French Resistance
2. Bust of Charles de Gaulle (1890 - 1970)
Leader of the Free French during WW2
 Photographs taken at the French Army Museum, Paris.
[Photographs taken with permission]. 

In honour of Jean Moulin, Charles de Gaulle and the flame of the French Resistance these two brave souls helped to keep burning during the Second World War.


Today, May 27 2013, throughout the country, celebrations have been held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first joint meeting of the CNR : Conseil National de la Résistance, which was led by Jean Moulin. 

On such occasions the 'Chant des Partisans' is usually played, after the national anthem, La Marseillaise 

Today there are still many people who see the French Resistance as an homogeneous movement, whose members rallied in harmony to fight for freedom and against the Nazis. 
But in those days of 1943, the picture was quite a different one. Within this movement, a lot of different political views were held, especially when it came to discussing what would happen after the war was won. 

Obviously the Communists and Socialists among them did not share the same opinions as those who had followed Maurras and his Action Française before the war. And yet many of both camps had fled to London and pledged to obey de Gaulle's orders from there.  

So, when de Gaulle appointed Jean Moulin as head of the CNR, a few were upset, to say the least. Jean Moulin had already organized underground action for a couple of years, but he had enemies. It was his task to reconcile all eight groups of resistants, and to unite them within the CNR. 

Unfortunately, on June 7, 1943, a month after this first meeting, Jean Moulin was arrested in Caluire, near Lyon. Tortured by Klaus Barbie, he never spoke and died on a train, at the Metz railway station, while being taken to a concentration camp. 

This year the celebrations have taken particular momentum. Below are some photos of the form they took, in Nice, where I live.

Professor Jean-Louis Panicacci, President of the MRA (Musée de la Résistance Azuréenne) gave a most interesting speech on Jean Moulin and the Resistance movement. 

This is a monument in honour of General de Gaulle, 
near a square formerly called PLACE DE LA LIBÉRATION
now called PLACE DE GAULLE

This part of the sculpture is 
a particular tribute to those who were sent to 
concentration camps on account of their political views. 

a plaque commemorates his presence there. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Henri Fertet (1926 - 1943) - the last letter home

1. Henri Fertet (1926 - 1943), French resistant 
2. Typescript of Henri Fertet's last letter home
Written on the the day of his execution:
26 September 1943 
Courtesy of the French Army Museum (Paris 7e)  
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