Sunday, May 08, 2011

The War Memorials of Bartrès (65), France

(Top): Bartrès Village War Memorial
[This Civic Memorial was re-dedicated in 2005]

(Bottom): Bartrès Parish Church War Memorial
[This memorial is inside the Bartrès Parish Church]

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

The small village of Bartrès is situated in southern France in the High Pyrenees (65) 'département'. In the 21st century the commune has developed into a mainly dormitory settlement for the nearby towns of Lourdes and Tarbes. During the first half of the 20th C - when the two World Wars took place - Bartrès was mainly a small rural 'commune' with a population of only a few hundred.

This is a place far from the main First and Second World War battlefields of northern France. Bartrès is probably best known in the wider world as the place where the 19th C shepherdess Bernadette Soubirous from nearby Lourdes lived for a time just before becoming a 'visionary' leading to her being declared a saint. Nevertheless, even in this small dormitory and touristic settlement there are three war memorials in prominent locations commemorating the young men who gave their lives in the World Wars.

Similar war memorials are usually found in towns and villages throughout France. The personal opinion of the writer is that in France the upkeep of the war memorials in the best possible condition is a matter of the highest honour to the local community. Two of the Bartrès memorials can be seen in the photographs above. The third memorial is in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, which was closed at the time the other photographs were taken.

The civic memorial outside the Town Hall was restored and re-dedicated in 2005: coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the end of WW2. The war memorial inside the (Roman Catholic) parish church was similarly restored. The names on all three war memorials are the same. There were three villagers who died between 1939 - 1945 and eleven between 1914 - 1919.

For completeness, here are all the names listed on the Bartrès memorials:

1914 - 1919

Lucien JUNCA

(Dominique and Jean-Pierre Carladoux were brothers)

1939 - 1945 & 'T.O.E'*

Joseph DOMEC

*'T.O.E'. - 'Théâtres d'opérations extérieurs'
('External operational theatres of war' (i.e. outside of France)

(Thanks to Catherine for explaining the meaning of T.O.E.)

Some personal comments

I happened to be passing through Bartrès with family during a pleasant day's walk along footpaths of the Pyrenean foothills. As it is not far from the Marian City of Lourdes and the crossroads of many footpaths and cycleways, Bartrès is a good place to stop for lunch. Having an interest in the importance of commemorating the Fallen of the World Wars the friendly and welcoming villagers I spoke to explained how the memorials were important to them and that these young men of the village should never be forgotten. That was why the memorials had been restored at public expense in 2005.

As a young child many years ago I had visited Bartrès with my parents although on that occasion it had been to visit the sites associated with Bernadette Soubirous (the farmhouse where she had lived, the 'sheep fold' and the parish church. Superficially the village had changed much from what I remembered. There are many more houses for the recent 'incomers' who live in the village and commute to the nearby towns. However, even these families relatively new to the village believe it is important to commemorate those villagers whose families lived in Bartrès for many generations and who had left during the World Wars and never returned.

Thursday, 16 June, 2011  

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