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.