Remember It’s Armistice Day, a public holiday in France. We always go down to the memorial service in Nouzerines. It doesn’t seem much of an ask to give up part of a morning to remember all those who died in the First World War. There wasn’t the biggest crowd, but what was noticeable this year was the number of cars that drove by as the service was going on. Generally there’s one or two cars who disrupt it, but this year there must have been about ten. It was a real shame. The four schoolchildren who were reading a poem had to stop twice to allow a vehicle to pass so that they could be heard. The Maire and a lot of people gathered gave these thoughtless motorists the evil eye, so perhaps they’ll remember next year.
The reason we have the public holiday is because it’s Armistice Day and everyone knows that these little memorial services are going on in every single village, town and city in France. It doesn’t seem too much to ask that people don’t drive around while they’re going on. They only last about ten minutes, for goodness sake! It seems quite unnecessary and very crass to interrupt them. On another war-related note, recently we went geocaching in Ste Sévère sur Indre and discovered this wonderful statue of Ste Sévère on the hillside above the village. One of the plaques describes how she protected the village from bombardment in June 1940. I decided to look into this and discovered that on the 19th and 20th of June 1940 a lot of Indre was bombed by the German Luftwaffe. Issoudon suffered particularly badly, but other towns and cities were badly damaged too, including Le Blanc, Saint-Gaultier, La Chatre, Aigurande, Sarzay, Saint-Denis-de-Jouhet, Levroux, Chateauroux Deols, Argenton-sur Creuse – but not Ste Sévère sur Indre.
An employee of Issoudon Mairie described the bombing of that town as follows: “But from the East, a squadron consisting of fifteen [aircraft] were soon flying over the city in a terrible crash, spreading in their wake death and devastation. Crackling machine guns, bombs bursting in all directions, caused many casualties. More than one hundred deaths, countless injuries and sixty houses completely destroyed or severely damaged … plunged our beloved city in desolation.”
The bombed towns and cities surrendered and three French divisions withdrew from central France towards the Massif Central at this time. This happened during what is known as La Bataille de France, which lasted 47 days and nights starting on 10 May 1940.
La Bataille de France
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