Thursday, September 22, 2011

Castelnau-l'Avignon

One of the towers of Castelnau-l'Avignon is all that remains of the castel.

Driving through the countryside admiring the lay of the land, the crops, the farmhouses, when we enter a small village;  just a collection of houses, with what looks like the remains of a castle tower.  When we follow the curve of the road, suddenly there is a large monument, totally out of place for such a small village.  Of course, we had to stop.

The church in Castelnau, l'Avignon, with the memorial to the side.
After the Normandy invasion, a group of freedom fighters, French and Spanish, led by an American secret agent, used this place as a diversion to keep a rather large part of the German army from leaving to fight in Normandy.  It was a bold move that worked.  As the group was retreating from the town, they wired the old castle with explosive, so when the German forces arrived, it blew.   Several of the FreeFrench fighters were killed or injured, but there were more German dead.  In retaliation, the Germans destroyed the entire village.

The memorial to brave men and women.
As a rememberance to the brave men and women who fought here, the memorial was built.  It is just one small story, in a tiny place that helped win the war in France and eventually, Europe.

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