This speech was written for the 50th anniversary commemoration of D-Day in Bieville-Beuville. The audience included many British veterans. A speech by Philippe Bouriez of Bieville was given at the same event. The text comes from the Shropshire Regimental Museum, Shrewsbury, England.
Go to Bieville Picture File / Boys on D-Day interview / Claire Bouriez interview / Letter from Normandy Mme. Bouriez of Bieville / Normandy Diary of Marie-Louise Osmont D-Day in Periers / British units WWII see KSLI and Staffordshire Yeomanry
The Beuville château liberated by the KSLI on D-Day--and destroyed by fire set by the Germans. (Courtesy the Shropshire Regimental Museum, Shrewsbury, England)
THE LIBERATION OF BEUVILLE
by Madeline Marie LeFrançois
Ladies and gentlemen,
On this day of the Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of D-Day in Normandie, the inhabitants of Beuville want to thank all the Allies for having liberated us from our invaders, the Germans.
The village people who were present here in 1944, have got together to bear witness and recall the events lived on and after the sixth of June.
At the dawn of this historic Tuesday, we were awakened by the noise made by the bomber planes, unusual noise at that hour, because every night, between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00, Allied planes were passing overhead on missions of destruction of the factories in order to slow down the war-production of the Germans.
Around 5 o'clock in the morning, a few people could see paratroops dropping on the fields of Saint Aubin d'Arquenay and Benouville.
The first farm liberated in Beuville was la Ferme de Bellevue. Later on this farm was named by the English “La Maison des Norfolk”. It was fitted with a view point from which the allies could observe the enemy and their artillery situated in both the valley of Bieville and on the height of Lebisey. Two English soldiers were killed and buried in front of this farm’s porch.
The Thoroude family, exploiting the “Ferme de Beauvais”, had been ejected in May 1943, and the German army took possession of the site not far from this farm. Twelve blockhaus had been built on 24 hectares, which made more difficult the overtaking of this sector, of which a part was situated in Colleville. The liberation was effective on the 7th of June.
The English Army coming from Hermanville took over “La Ferme du Ponchet” where a first aid-post was established. Further away the buildings of the ancient “Ferme Seigneurerie” where enemy soldiers and some forty horses were taken by surprise by flame-throwers. All perished.
Advancing to the village itself, in the forge of Monsieur Barette, a German transmitter post was discovered, worked by an Italian, who was made prisoner.
In the estate “Les Pommiers” occupied by the German staff of the Kommandantur du Château, they had installed in the linden trees some observers with the mission to fire on the Allied troops coming from the monument. Ten Allied soldiers, wounded or dead were counted in the grounds of the property.
In the road itself, opposite the “Maison Lecourt”, one horse, which had escaped, was killed and buried by the staff of the farmer Monsieur Legrand, on his land route of Mathieu. Other animals suffered the same fate during this period.
In the belfry of Beuville church, a lone sniper was hidden. He was taken prisoner. In the direction of Bieville, in the large oak tree near the actual pharmacy, was hidden another lone German sniper who was observing the road. He was killed by the English.
One plane had crashed behind the house of Monsieur Degron, in the gardens of the road to Mathieu, not far from a precarious shelter where some fifteen local inhabitants had taken refuge. The pilot, having managed to jump with his parachute, landed on the roof of a house and was recovered with the aid of locals and a ladder.
Another sector of Beuville, in the Château, where the soldiers of the kommandantur resided, at night they used to leave and go to spend the night in the blockhaus at Colleville.
Some inhabitants of this sector had noticed that every day at exactly the same hour a dog was coming from “Le Londel” on its way to the Château de Beuville. It was carrying messages. Being told about it, the English followed this unexpected “informer” up to its destination Le Château! A skirmish started which left fifteen dead among the English troops.
Some German soldiers, during the day of the sixth of June while burning their archives, had set fire to the Château; they had then, taken refuge in the underground passage, but they were made prisoners and sent marching towards “la Ferme du Ponchet”, where a camp was established.
In the moats of the Château, two horses which had escaped, had fallen in, but were still alive. Some locals managed with a lot of care to fetch them out. In the outbuildings, where Monsieur Barbier now lives, rue de la Charrière. a second first-aid post was established for the wounded, who were thereafter Transferred to :he Bayeux hospital, or to hospitals in England.
On the dawn of the seventh of June the village of Beuville was liberated, but the Battle continued.
Being no longer under the rule of the Wermacht, we were still under artillery fire. On the twenty fourth of June the Allies decided to evacuate the population towards Cresserons, Amblie, Bayeux.
Following these events, we were to sadly grieve over the seven civilians dead, of whom the names are:
Alas, a few people are deceased now.
We will not miss thanking Monsieur Angot, the Mayor of Bieville-Beuville and also the organisers of this reunion.
Dated the third of June 1994.