The Ouest-France newspaper mobilizes for D-Day with its series "War in the eyes of the Normans"

Two sequences are currently available out of the thirty episodes developed and produced in collaboration with the Fabrique de Patrimoines in Normandy, from personal images of Normans. On the Ouest-France website, an original and moving testimony, filmed by locals and narrated by historians.


Ouest-France, custodian of the Norman memory


While waiting for the ceremonies of June 5th, 6th and 7th, when many heads of state will pay homage to those who worked for freedom at the risk of their lives, festivities are being organized and the program becomes richer every day at the initiative of cities, associations and citizens. As part of this trend, the editorial office of Ouest-France is committed to deciphering this period and recounting the daily life of the French in turmoil. In its chronological series, where the tension will mount crescendo, the clandestine images shot by the Normans testify about daily life during the Occupation and at the time of the Liberation.


Episode 1: 1939, rising tensions

We know that the war is near, France is rearming. In June 1939, Pierre Le Bihan, a farmer in the Eure, attends the Navy days, in Le Havre. He films the two battleships Dunkerque and Strasbourg, put into operation a few months earlier, which are the pride of the Navy. He captures the last images of the famous cruise liner Normandy, upon his arrival in the port of Le Havre, upon its return from New York. Two months later, the ship will begin her last voyage.


Episode 2: 1939, deployment of troops

You will discover unpublished images, dating from 1937, shot in the barracks of the Quartier Lorge in Caen (Calvados).

We see soldiers in their daily lives, two years before the beginning of hostilities. The setting is the command post of the Fifth Division of Motorized Infantry, this barracks, set up in a former monastery was an important strategic point at the time.

Quartier Lorge still exists. It has undergone major renovations in recent years to accommodate the regional center for contemporary art.


These images collected by the Fabrique de Patrimoines in Normandy with the departmental archives of the Manche and Normandy Images are not images of propaganda and that is what makes them unique. Amateur films immortalize this great moment in history and there is no doubt that videographers are aware that they are testifying before the unfathomable gulf of war. No one knows yet what the conflict will be, but the imminence creates the urgency to see, witness and share with future generations. To accompany the 75th anniversary of the landing in Normandy, "The War in the Eyes of the Normans" (in French) is part of an interesting approach to remembrance.


Photo (c) West-France


Related reading:

-D-Day 75th Anniversary: Taxi Charity for Military Veterans to Carry British Veterans

-Tourists flocked to Normandy in 2018!


The housing solution in Caen

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