• Plage Bonaparte à Plouha (Côtes d'Armor) - Haut-lieu de la Résistance

  • Sacy-le-Grand (Oise) - Mémorial en souvenir du F/O H. H. MacKenzie (RCAF)

  • Supermarine LF Mk.Vb Spitfire EP120 - G-LFVB - (The Fighter Collection)

  • Le Cardonnois (Somme) - Stèle à la mémoire de l'équipage du Boeing B-17 #42-31325, 452nd Bomb Group

  • B-17G-85-VE 44-8846 - F-AZDX - (FTV)

 

20th February 2015

 

Beauvais (Oise)

 

Major honour to Mrs Genevieve Le Berre

 

                                                                                                              

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In the halls of the Prefecture of Beauvais, Mrs Genevieve Le Berre, a member of our Association, was made “Officier dans l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur”. A justifiable recognition of her past work as a resistant.

In the presence of many elected officials and flag-bearers, the ceremony began with a moving evocation of the Nazi concentration hell from texts written by Primo Levi and Jorge Semprun, read by students of the Jules Vallès High School of Saint Leu d’Esserent.

The Prefect, Emmanuel Berthier, then took the floor to remind us all of the exceptional career of Mrs Geneviève Le Berre, "Jacqueline" in the Burgundy escape network whose role was to help Allied airmen escape from France during World War II. He also recalled her many commitments in the voluntary sector throughout her life and her commitment to always attend colleges and high schools to teach the younger generation the duty of remembrance.

Joining the Resistance in September 1943 at the age of 22, "Jacqueline" quickly found herself with the task of escorting by train to the Spanish border, through occupied France, the Allied airmen whose planes had been shot down. Taking them in charge near the Austerlitz station in Paris, “Jacqueline” escorted dozens of airmen, often two journeys per week to allow them to reach Freedom.

First in the Perpignan area, then in Pau, "Jacqueline" handed over her "packages" to "passeurs" who took them across the Pyrenees Mountains.

After the Allied Landings in Normandy, it was decided to get to England some of the members of the Burgundy network including "Jacqueline". She crossed the Pyrenees in late June 1944 and after a few adventures in Spain, managed to reach London in early August 1944. In the English capital, she married Pierre, also a guide for the Burgundy escape network.  

Geneviève Le Berre then officially received her insignia of Officier de la Legion d’Honneur.

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Young schoolgirls then read extracts from her biography, mentioning in particular the way in which the escorting took place.

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An emotional Genevieve Le Berre took the floor and warmly thanked the Prefect and all the people attending the ceremony in her honour. "I was young, I was not scared and I wanted France to regain its Freedom. I only did my duty " she said modestly.

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Mr Maxime Gourgeois also received at the ceremony, the insignia of Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur.

Very young when he joined the Resistance in the Paris region with the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans, Maxime Gourgeois was arrested by the Germans in the spring of 1943. Incarcerated at Fresnes then at Compiegne, he was deported on 20th April 1943 to the Mauthausen concentration camp. He was 20 years old ! Released in April 1945 but weakened by privation, he was not able to return to France before January 1946.

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The students then sang the moving Chant des Partisans then the Marseillaise, the national anthem.

The ceremony ended with the reception where everyone could take time to congratulate Mrs Le Berre and Mr Gourgeois.

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Congratulations Mrs Le Berre !!

 

Officier de la Légion d'Honneur

Médaille Militaire

Medal of Freedom (USA) avec Palme de Bronze

King's Medal (GB)

Croix de Guerre

Médaille des Evadés

Nous avons 28 invités et aucun membre en ligne

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