Monday, 7 June 2004

D-Day Memories: Insurgent suicide bombing

The SOE had been aiding & supplying the Resistance to prepare for their role against the German occupation forces once the Allies invaded. After D-Day one important job was to divide them & cut off retreat.
A panzer corps was ... heading towards ... Eure to cross the last remaining bridge on the Evreux River. [The SOE] sent an urgent message to their best man on site: "BRIDGE AT EVREUX MUST REPEAT MUST BE DESTROYED NORMANDY BATTLE HINGES ON IT HAVE YOU EXPLOSIVES FOR JOB REPLY MOST URGENT MESSAGE ENDS". … HervĂ© replied "MESSAGE RECEIVED AND UNDERSTOOD WILL DO IMMEDIATELY EXPLOSIVES AVAILABLE VIVE LA FRANCE VIVE L'ANGLETERRE." HervĂ© borrowed a bicycle from the local postman and filled its saddlebags and satchel with explosive … then cycled boldly up to the bridge and past the guards … [A]s he reached the centre … he flung the bike and himself to the ground and pressed the detonators … blowing the bridge & himself to pieces.
… [T]he panzers were stranded and left as easy targets for … RAF anti-tank planes … On such acts of selfless heroism would the war be won"

They Fought Alone: The Story of British Agents in France, Colonel Maurice Buckmaster, Odhams Press, London (1958); Nancy Wake: The Inspiring Story of One of the War's Greatest Heroines, Peter Fitzsimons

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