Thursday, September 6, 2012

Community Rentrée and a Sad Story

The whole of our town (well, the whole of France in fact) marks the rentrée with a rash of exciting events and things to join in with. The Forum des Associations (Clubs Fair) is on Saturday, but I've already found something to take part in: a Town Photography Competition!
The Willows are on the case, of course:
It's more their scene than the whole back-to-school thing, anyway.
The topic for the competition is the 'hidden heritage' of our town, so I'm really showing you a few photos I snapped this morning that don't quite fit that category - I need to save anything I think I might enter. I loved the cosy quilt on the bench outside the maternelle canteen! Really welcoming...
I spent a long time in the graveyard (I'd never been in before), looking for this boy. I can't tell you his name, because our street is named after him, and I don't want to publish our address. This poor boy, aged 15 or 16 (and therefore the same age as Son 1) was shot in Nazi reprisals following an ambush on a convoy just outside our town. He ran into the street by the church shouting, 'Don't shoot, don't shoot!' Ben thinks the marks left by machine-gun bullets raking across the wall are still there:
It's sobering indeed to remember that this is the fairly recent past of our town. Britian had it hard during the Second World War, but we knew nothing like this.
So I found his family tomb, and although it may seem a very gloomy way to have spent my morning, in fact I felt in tune with our town, and paid my respects to someone who, as part of our address, almost feels part of our family, too.


Jane and Chris said...

By posting this you have honoured the boy's memory...his story is now known worldwide.
Jane x

Sherri B. said...

How fun to enter a photo contest, I do hope you let us in on your final entries.

So sad about the young man and his death as part of the history in your town. I can't imagine what it would be like to have 'war' right on our street.

Have fun getting ready for the contest! xo

Angela said...

Knowing your address, I read up on the story and found details of the local memorial. How incredibly sad that so many civilians were shot. In war there are no winners, only losers.

It is good that his name has been honoured and his memory lives on.

I notice you said "Same age as Son #1" - I frequently read something [contemporary or historical] and think "same age as my girl..." and it really hits home that a parent or sibling is suffering too.

Thanks for this post. Hope you do well in the comp! xx

polkadotpeticoat said...

What a sad but beautiful of Luck to you!

A garden just outside Venice said...

I wonder how many streets in Italy are named after people like him.
I'm always amazed when I see featured on blogs the WW weekends you have in the UK and the respect you show for this subject, unfortunately here it's something we tend to forget.
Good luck for the photo competition!

Janice said...

So sad... I think it is easy to forget how different the French experience of the war was from "ours". By that I mean my parents and grandparents experience. When we moved to France last year I was interested in our street name, thinking it was names after a person... I then discovered it was named after one of the local maquis, the resistance groups who used the Black Mountains to hide. A route, through what is now our garden was an escape route into the hills, and in 1944 the entire membership of one of the maquis were massacred in a cave in the hills nearby. Another tragedy....not I have to say, forgotten in these parts...there is a memorial service each year. J.

Fat Dormouse said...

As others have mentioned, I find the "nearness" of the war here in France really interesting - the number of roadside memorials we passed when we were away on our weekend break was quite amazing...I would love to find out more about some of the stories from my area.

One thing we are proud of (although I had nothing to do with it, of course!!!) is that St Just has been nammed one of the Villages des Justes, recognised for what the villagers did during the war to help Jewish refugees escape from the Nazis. There is a plaque on the Mairie wall. You can watch a little video of the report from TF1 at the bottom of this page of the village website (

E. Charlotte said...

Wonderful and fascinating post! I like that you tracked down the brave boy's resting place. :) I think he would feel very honored.

The Curious Cat said...

That is a sad least his memory lives on...and we don't forget such times... xxx

PS On another note I do like your new banner. Nice to see you! :) x