Thursday, March 25, 2010

Qui est cette - Who is this?

Here is a one of the few family photos that I have from my grandmother Marguerite.

She was French and her family name was Chevallier. She grew up with her mother and sister in the village of Graffigny-Chemin, near Bourmont. Her father died when she was still young. She married my grandfather shortly after the First World War and left Graffigny. Her mother lived in Graffigny until her death.

Who is this? What are the medals? Can someone determine the unit he was from and rank?

Qui est le soldat sur la photo?

Ma grand-mère était française. Le nom de famille était Chevallier. Elle a habité à Graffigny-Chemin, près de Bourmont, France. Je crois que son père est mort avant la Première Guerre mondiale. Ma grand-mère Marguerite a épousé mon grand-père, un officier américain, après la guerre. Mon arrière grand-mère a vivre dans Graffigny jusqu'à sa mort.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

July 22, 1944

World War II touched the small village of Graffigny-Chemin on the night of July 22 1944 war.

A British Lancaster airplane returning from a bombing mission crashed in a thick fog into the hills outside of Graffigny. Thirteen airmen died in the crash and were buried later in the village cemetery. Three airmen survived the crash. Two were seriously wounded and treated by a doctor from the neighboring town of Bourmont. As their wounds were serious, they were taken to the Germans in hopes with the hope they would be treated well. The two airmen were never heard from again.

A third airman Canadian Paul Bell was hidden in the village of Graffigny-Chemin. He was then escorted to Switzerland by the French. He returned to England and rejoined his unit. Sadly, he died in the liberation of Holland.

Although the plane burned on impact, its radio transmitter, weapons, and some explosives remained intact. Villagers of Graffigny-Chemin removed these before the Germans arrived. On discovering this, the German commander took hostages and threatened to execute the hostages and burn the village if the plane's contents were not returned.

Living in Graffigy-Chemin was the widow of a German colonel who had died in 1913. She interceded with the German commander for the return of the hostages and cancellation of the order to destroy the village.

The story is by way of Dominique Martin.

Perdu dans la traduction

Je m'excuse pour les peu entrées au cours des quelques derniers mois. Je suis retourné à l'école pour apprendre le français. Alors que le français est une langue belle, elle est pour moi celui qui est difficile à prononcer. Je ferai de mon mieux.