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medal from a French resistance member


Roeland
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hello,

besides living in the Netherlands, I also live in France, very near Oradour-Sur-Glane (famous for the SS slaughter in WW2), so I've been there often.

this year I bought this from a woman who's husband was a member of the resistance in the Haute-Vienne, I bought it near Oradour.

The medal is in a box with name, and also with a miniature.

besides sharing the nice medal, I would also like to know if anybody can tell me more about;

-the receiver, I would like to know more about his life (date of birth, perhaps date of death, where he lived etc.),his carreer (a resistance member of also a soldier?) and if he has more decorations, any other information welcome.

-the medal itself, I know it is from the ANACR, the national veteran resistance members association, but that is all I know.

Any other information is very welcome.

The name of the receiver is Renee Berigaud, a veteran combattant of 1939-1945, I don't know if I have the name correct as I can't read the IG part very well.

thanks for any information! I very much appreciate helping me to correctly display the item and protect a piece of history from being forgotten.

kind regards,

Roeland

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Edited by Roeland
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http://www.anacr.com/

The Association Nationale des Anciens Combattants de la R?sistance (ANACR) was founded in March 1945 by members of the Gaullist FFI (Forces fran?aises de l'int?rieur) and the predominantly Communist FTP (Franc-tireurs partisans), sometimes known as France-tireurs partisans communistes or France-tireurs partisans fran?aise, depending on how radical a given unit's politics were. The ANACR name was adopted in 1952. This veterans' organisation was born of an attempt to unite the various factions, which remained splintered during and after the war, despite the best efforts of some Resistance leaders. The Gaullists have sometimes been accused of airbrushing the FTP and other non-FFI groups out of the picture and there is perhaps some truth in the allegations levelled by FTP veterans. For instance, it is very hard to find published information on the so-called Battle of Saint-Denis, when FTP units engaged heavily armed German convoys in that northern Parisian suburb in August 1944. In the fierce house-to-house fighting, which involved Fallschirmj?ger and armoured units, the centre of Saint-Denis - around the crossroads of the Route Nationale 1, a main withdrawal route for German units retreating from the Paris area and the Seine and Oise valleys - was flattened and resembled Stalingrad or Grozny. Old buildings are rare in the area. Yet nobody speaks of it, to the chagrin of FTP veterans I know who fought there. I also interviewed a former German paratrooper who met the FTP in Saint-Denis and on the edges of the Montmorency Forest and he said they were formidable fighters. Many were veterans of Spain, of the L?gion (French bad boys who pretended to be Belgians to get in!) and of the War of 1939-1940. Anyway, get in touch with the ANACR. Let me know if you need any help with the language.

PK

Edited by PKeating
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Hello PK

I was very interested by the story about the fighting in Saint-Denis in 1944. Indeed, I had never heard it mentioned, nor had I read anything about it.

You recall the gallant fighting the F.T.P. performed there, which I am sure is quite true. Allow me, nevertheless, to differ with some of your statements about the men who made up the F.T.P. troups. A significant number of them were no doubt former Spanish Republican soldiers who had escaped the Frankists by coming over the Pyrreneese border into France when their cause was lost. They were interned in very poor conditions by the French and later some of them managed to join "maquis" units formed by the F.T.P. who were, indeed, strongly influenced by the communist party.

They were also joined by veterans of the International Brigades, many of them French, who had fought on their side in Spain. But the bulk of the F.T.P. were Frenchmen.

The number of ex-Foreigh Legionnaires in their ranks is debatable.

Please allow me to modify somewhat your description of the legionnaire :"French bad boys who pretended to be Belgians to get in". The Foreign Legion is often mistaken for other units called Bataillons d'infanterie l?g?re d'Afrique", "Bat'd'Af" in French military slang where French bad boys who were serving time in prison for civilian crimes were sent when they were of age for conscription. Such units have been disbanded for many years.

The Foreign Legion was, and remains, an elite corps of professionnal soldiers from all countries in the world, serving under contract to France. It is true that Frenchmen were not allowed to enlist as such : the rest of the French forces were open to them. If a Frenchman wished, for any reason of his own, to join the Foreign Legion the tradition was to do so as a citizen or a subject of any other country of his choice.

During both World Wars a special unit of the Foreign Legion was formed, the Regiment de Marche de la Legion Etrangere (R.M.L.E.). It is one the most heavily decorated regiment in the French Army. Among other distinctions, it is one of the very few non-American military units to have received a Presidential Unit Citation from the U.S.A.

During WW2 it was part of the French 5th Armoured Division. It was engaged in France in November 1944 to crack German resistance int the Belfort area and fought its way to the Austrian border next May 1945; at the cost of 506 killed, 1311 wounded, out of an original complement of less than 1500 officers and men. Fighting the German Wehrmacht was a very dangereous job in thoses days, they were were experienced warriors and sincerely felt they were defending their fatherland.

I happen to know, being one of the survivors.

We all enjoy chatting on this excellent forum. I hope I have not been to "heavy".

Very best regards

Veteran

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Not at all! What you have written is very interesting to me! I knew a man in London who was one of the organisers of the FFL S?ction Grande Bretagne. He had been some kind of acrobat at the Cirque d'Hiver but was a bit of a "bad boy" on the side. He told me he enlisted in the L?gion to "disappear" and that he said he was Belgian. Maybe he meant the Bat d'Af! Anyway, all was forgotten and forgiven when I knew him as we used to go to the French Embassy for FFL--related events together. I have sent you a PM. Our meeting is long-overdue!

P

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thanks for the information about the organisation and the link to the site, I'll write them a letter in French, I think I'll manage.

Veterean, you say you are one of the survivors, where you a soldier during the 2nd World War?

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Hello Roeland,

The answer is yes. I served as a legionnaire 2nd class (private) with 10 Cie / IIIrd Batallion / Regiment de Marche de la Legion Etrang?re (R.M.L.E.) / 5th Armoured Division / 1rst Army (French).

Liberation of Belfort (Nov. 1944) - Upper Alsace Liberation of Thann (Dec. 1944) - Defense of Strassburg (Jan. 1945) - Colmar gap (Jan./Feb. 1945) - Siegfried Line (March 1945) - Black Forest (April 1945) - Capture of Stuttgart (April 1945) - Austrian border Bregenz (April-May 1945).

This is, I suppose, one of the reasons I reacted to PK's post. We have met since and made great contact.

Thank you for your interest.

Best regards

Paul

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