Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Wartime Inscription



I noticed this inscription carved into a wall at about waist height in Les Viaullières, a hamlet near Chaumussay. I asked one of my companions, Joël, if he knew the story behind it. He usually knows the history of this sort of thing, but in this case, he did not. What he did tell me was that German prisoners of war had made the road we were standing on, but that would be a few years after 1940. So the date remains a mystery unless some knowledgeable reader can enlighten me.

The reference to German prisoners of war building roads in the area was the second conversation of this sort I'd had in the space of a few weeks. Jacky Foucher had also mentioned to me that they had built the road down from the Preuilly - Le Grand Pressigny road to Chaumussay, past her grandfather's farmhouse at Les Reuilles. As usual, she chipped me about my pronunciation of 'Reuilles'. It should sound something like 'rher-yuh' but I have a tendency to pronounce it 'rher-yee'. According to her it is an old word or a corruption of the word for 'stream', which is 'ruisseau'. I wonder if 'reuilles' is connected to the English word 'rill' in that case?

8 comments:

chm said...

This must have been in early 1940, because I don't think there would have been many German prisoners of war left much longer after the invasion of France in early May of that year.

That same sound in Reuilles is also found in deuil, mourning; feuille[s], leaf/ves; cueille[s], I [you] pick; seuil, threshold; veuille[s][ent] (subj.), I [you] [they] want to, as well as in Preuilly and Neuilly (near Paris

m.mobrouard said...

La date gravée de 1940 correspond plus probablement à la ligne de démarcation provisoire qui a existé du 30 juin au 15 décembre 1940. Cette ligne passait par Les Viaulieres. Pour info, la route de Preuilly au Grand Pressigny est beaucoup plus ancienne .
Michel Brouard

m.mobrouard said...

Je complète mon explication. Les allemands qui gardaient cette ligne de démarcation étaient logés dans les granges des environs et même curieusement en zone libre. On trouve des inscriptions aussi dans le bourg de Chaumussay qui etait en zone libre justement, la ligne étant au nord à 1,5 kilomètre.

chm said...

Merci, Monsieur, de ces explications qui éclairent un pan tristement célèbre de notre histoire nationale. Pourquoi, en effet, des prisonniers auraient-ils inscrit une date sur un mur plutôt que leur nom ou une quelconque obscénité?

Susan said...

Thanks for the explanation of the date MB. The line at Chaumussay ran past les Reuilles, as I am sure you know. Jacky Foucher's grandfather was the owner of the property there during the war and often had to feed the German border guards (much to his resentment, and he always refused to sit at the table with them). My impression from talking to both Joel and Jacky that the prisoners of war were German and they were talking about the end of the war, but maybe I have misunderstood. Do you know who built these roads and when?

m.mobrouard said...

Je complète encore...
La ligne de démarcation passait par les Reuilles, la Croix Gilet et les Viaulieres. Le poste de garde des Reuilles etait réputé pour etre tres dur, une section du maquis va d'ailleurs va se créer pas loin. Le passage de la Croix Gilet etait plus facile selon ma mère, 94 ans...
Il y avait des prisonniers allemands en 1945 à Chaumussay, employés dans les fermes.
Le premier chemin entre Preuilly et le Grand Pressigny etait le Chemin Vert le long de la Claise. Il date du moyen age. La route actuelle est tout aussi ancienne et probablement fort mal fréquentée vu que les fermes le long de cette route sont la plupart fortifiées.
A votre disposition?
Michel Brouard

Le Pré de la Forge said...

Well, that’s very nice local history to know....

Le Pré de la Forge said...

Actually.... I wonder how that might work with the scrafitti at Les Hautes Thurinieres.... I’ll send you the picture via FaceEater!

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