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Webmatters : French Resistance Memorial at Bourlon
Rough Map of Area

Bourlon June 1944

Location

This memorial at Bourlon is easily found from the main Arras—Cambrai Road, the D 939. From the A26 Autoroute take Sortie 8 (Marquion). From either direction the great mass formed by Bourlon wood is easily distinguishable to the south. Turn onto the D16 following the signs for Bourlon and the Canadian Memorial.

Just after the church the Canadian monument is sign posted off to the left up the Avenue du bois. There is a parking area immediately in front of the memorial park. This monument is off to the left up the track about fifty metres away.

Note that there is a school on the road. On descending the hill you will enter a one-way system that will take you around the rear of the church. Turning left will bring you back out onto the village high street.

Bourlon Wood Canadian Monument

Looking down the Avenue du bois from the Canadian Monument

 

Background

On the 11th June 1944 the 5th Company of the Forces françaises de l’intérieur (FFI) from Annezin near Béthune stopped in the wood whilst preparing to head further east in order to join the resistance in the Ardennes. They were led by Capitaine Alfred Coussette the military commander for their area.

The Germans, however had been tipped off and surrounded the wood.

A battle ensued in which ten of the Resistance were killed. The others (including Coussette) were rounded up and would either be deported to concentration camps or shot in the moat of the Arras Citadel.

Those executed in Arras on 18th June 1944 were:

  • Alfred Coussette, 32 years
  • Fernand Grossemy, 18 years
  • René Jamsin, 24 years
  • Maurice Leroy, 20 years
  • Louis Marquant, 19 years
  • Francis Woittier, 37 years

The firing post

The firing post at the Mur des Fusillés in Arras

 

The Memorial

Monument to eleven Free French soldiers killed on 11th June 1944

In memory to those members of the Resistance killed in this area on the 11th June 1944.

  • André Casanota
  • Florent Caudron
  • Robert Crammer
  • René François
  • Édouard Leroy
  • François Vasseur
  • Camille Vasseur
  • Paul Vasseur
  • Two unknown partisans