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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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By Train to Bordeaux

by cambsaction

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Archive List > World > France

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
William George, Tilda ‘Dolly’ George (Mother), Charles George (Father)
Location of story: 
Maison Laffitte, nr Paris, France
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A7945446
Contributed on: 
21 December 2005

The document which my Grandmother had to take to the local Police Station, so that French Police could sign every day to say she was still in the same area.

My Family lived in France at start of war, in Maison Laffitte. We were told to leave France, and ended up at Bordeaux. We were escaping ahead of creeping German occupying forces. We went by train from Bordeaux to Pointe du Grave. The troop ship we were going to return to Britain on was in the middle of the harbour, and we needed to take a smaller boat out to it. As we travelled across the harbour, 3 German Planes attacked the harbour and bombed the harbour behind us. One plane was shot down by the British troop ship. After waiting 3 days and 3 nights we found a crew member and asked why we had not moved, and we were told the Germans had mined the harbour. The Ship’s Captain made a decision that if we did not move before midnight we were going to be captured, so the ship went slowly through the mine field. My Aunts and uncles were interned in France. When my father’s brother, Rodger, was encountered by German Army, they thought he was from the Brittany region as he spoke French with an English accent. They discovered he was a jockey, and didn’t intern him immediately, on the condition he looked after their horses. Upon internment, my uncle was in a concentration camp in St Denis near Paris. He had adopted a cat, and used to bet people the cat could pick up hats or berets. When people bet it couldn’t, he would place the cat on the hat, lift it’s tail, and spank it’s backside. The cat would splay out it’s legs, stick it’s claws in, and then the hat and cat could be lifted up! Upon my return I went to live in Cambridge but some of the family remained in France. I am now showing the document which my Grandmother had to take to the local Police Station, so that French Police could sign every day to say she was still in the same area. I was 6 at the time.

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