"I do not want to make my story a wonderful tale. Yet there is enough to feed a legend in its extraordinary history. He was born miraculously. Rémy Bourdet blows his 75 candles on the occasion of the 75e Anniversary of Normandy landings, Thursday, June 6, 2019. His destiny is bound forever at D-Day. More than anyone else, he knows that soldiers have died so that he can live.
Not a tale, but a personal memorial. In his house in Saint-Lô (Manche), the story of his family in 1944 is everywhere. Meticulously ranked. With Nicole, his wife, he releases impressive collections of postcards, newspaper articles with yellowed paper, documents, sometimes signed by the hand of General Leclerc, one of the main military leaders of free France. Gleaned over dozens of years of research in the archives of several departments, photos, letters, sketchbooks of his brother, Fernand, a young man of 19 who had begun his fight against the IIIe Reich … He did not survive.
On August 6, 1944, Fernand joined the front and the 2e armored division, a force of 18,000 men and 150 tanks, composed mainly of French who refused defeat and the idea of Germany moving to France. The young resistant will fall on August 11, 1944 in Rouessé-Fontaine (Sarthe). His mission was to complicate the supply of the occupation troops, or to delay it, by sabotage but also to harass the Germans by convoy attacks. Mutilated by shrapnel, he will agonize for three days at the hospital in Le Mans.
"I was born, he died"
The battles of Fyé and Rouessé-Fontaine constitute for the Leclerc division the most deadly episode of the whole campaign of Normandy. Fernand was first arrested by the Germans while trying to reach Switzerland. He will be tried and held in a fort near Dijon for four months, before being forcibly sent to the construction of the Atlantic Wall in the Todt organization in Calais and Dunkirk, and escape to become member of the St. James Resistance Network. A hero. Only a few days after his death, Paris is liberated.
Remy is struggling to contain his tears by retracing the life of this elder, fallen on the field of honor. "I did not do anything. I was born, he died, "Rémy apologizes. The day of his birth, however, influenced the course of his life. On June 6, 1944, just hours before his birth, when his mother was experiencing his first contractions, began Operation Neptune, the culmination of the Overlord project, the greatest military action of all time. Young soldiers thrown on the beaches of Normandy by a gray and windy morning under the deadly fire of the German bunkers. In Saint-Lô, his family is under the bombs.