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There Was Little Left in St Malo for the Nazis

Discussion in 'History of France during World War II' started by Jim, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    A Couple of News Paper Reports from the Daily Mirror: 1940 ​

    HEROISM of a remarkable kind was displayed in the evacuation of St. Malo, the famous port and tourist centre on the Brittany coast, just as the German troops drew near. The scene was described by Mr. Le Marquand, owner of an auxiliary yacht, when he returned to a British port. "I saw the total destruction of the harbour after all the British troops had been safely evacuated on June 18. The Germans were then reported to be fast approaching, but the British naval officer in charge of the demolition party was amazingly cool. He would not allow his men to take any risks-he stood alone in the open to watch the destruction. Once, when four charges were ignited, it was doubtful whether all had exploded. The men were definite that three had, but some of them wanted to venture into the danger zone to see what had happened to the fourth. The officer refused to allow them to leave cover. A few seconds later a deafening explosion from the fourth charge hurled portions of dock gates into the air. Amid all this, the officer still took no cover, but stood alone while all the debris was flying about and dropping all around him. He seemed to have a charmed life."

    A GLOWING tribute was paid to the work of the British demolition party at St Malo by the Countess de Pret. She had escaped from Belgium and was doing Red Cross work in France at the time of the German invasion. She eventually got from St. Malo to Brest in a small English yacht. The Countess said "After all the scenes of panic in France it was wonderful to see the calmness with which the British officers and soldiers carried out their duties at St. Malo. Although the Germans were within a few miles, the British made a thorough job of the demolition of St. Malo harbour. They blew up everything, and the harbour will be out of use for at least two years. We also learned that the British had made Cherbourg useless as a port and had destroyed the harbour works there. In France there was complete lack of organization. It was an inspiring contrast to land in England and to find everyone so calm and well disciplined. "

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