Wednesday, May 8, 2019

8th May Victory in Europe Day 2019

French Village Diaries Victory in Europe Day 2019
The grave of Fernand Prevost
8th May Victory in Europe Day and public holiday in France

8th May 2019, a damp morning where villagers, hidden under umbrellas, coats and scarves, congregated in the cemetery to stand by a plain grave, situated against the far wall. 

Fernand Prevost
Died for France
Shot by the Germans
In the woods at Bois Cambert
24thJuly 1944
At the age of 18

There was no official ceremony, or laying of flowers, just a moment of quiet reflection for the loss of a young life to war, almost 75 years ago.

The slow procession then made its way to the village war memorial outside the salle des fêtes (village hall), where the Maire read the address from the French minister in charge of the armed forces.

French Village Diaries Victory in Europe Day 2019
Ed at the village war memorial

Three years ago, our village lost its last war veteran and since then our son Ed has often been asked by the Maire to hold the flag, both at the 11th November and 8th May memorial ceremonies; where the French stand alongside the British, and the young alongside the old, united in remembrance.

Ed is 18 now, the same age as Fernand Prevost, and away at uni with a world of possibilities ahead of him. But he is home today, to do his bit once more and we are very proud of the man our village has turned him into. My mother lost her father in The Second World War, my father’s father was in northern France, possibly on 8th May 1945, so ensuring Ed remembers has always been important to us, as is the idea of a united not divided Europe, something we will never give up hope of.

To read more about the shootings in our village in 1944 see my post from last year here.
To read about my family’s history in the war see these two posts

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