War heritage Detection Program
In 2012 the journey towards the reconstruction of the forgotten life of a French Resistance member started with the discovery of an old B33 motorcycle in a small village near Houffalize, in the Ardennes region of Belgium. When France capitulated and the Vichy regime appeared, the Lapierre family in Malestroit ( Morbihan ) chose to resist and Armand became the liaison between Agon-Coutainville and Paris, guiding crewmembers of downed allied bombers taken down by FLAK at the Atlantic Wall. Gaston Lapierre, member of the “Pat O’Leary” evasion network gave shelter in his home but got arrested in 1943, the young Armand fled to the center of Paris. There, living under cover in the Rue de Boulinvilliers,  Armand was introduced to an information network, called Réseau Alliance and he became a “ boîte de lettres “, a liaison between the Calvados region and Paris. Visiting Caen, he transported stolen radio parts from the SFRE in Paris, ending up with Jean Caby to build the highly important transmitters that where used by the network to communicate with the allied SOE in the UK. After the 17th of April 1944, when the Calvados sector of Réseau Alliance was compromised and vital members got arrested by the Gestapo, Armand was one of the several resistance members answering the call for help by Guillot, who knew Jean Caby very well. With codename Région Ferme, the upper Normandy section had lost all of it’s vital members an more, the information on D-Day was circulating in the airwaves... the landings where comming. Mister Cairon, a farmer just outside Commes, pulls the transmitter every day from a cache in his garden and heard the important message for the first time... "Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne, blessent mon cœur d'une langueur monotone “ ... D-Day was on. Armand arrived in Collevile-sur-Mer, at the “cabane de Cabourg”, on the 30th of May 1944, leading to sabotage actions at the Normandy coast, in his case the region of Port-en-Bessin, Commes , Colville-sur-Mer and Trevières. The other section of the presented 22 men went to the Manche coast. By not receiving the delay on the landings, originally planned on the 4th of June 1944, his group “Guillot” executed the cutting of all communication lines on the domain of the Chenevière, as well as the powerlines of a coastal German transmission post at Bouffey at 4 am in the morning... In the night of the 5th of June, they cutted the lines towards the two German transmission posts on the coastline in Colville-sur-Mer. They never got to the attempt of liberating their captured Réseau Alliance companions, emprisoned in Caen, since on the morning of the 6th of June 1944, all 87 prisoners were executed by the SS and their bodies were never found... At hte coast of Colleville, Armand decides to go back to his homeregion, joining Big Red One 83th Rec Bat, near Cabourg, in the ranks of the affiliated French FFI. After the harsh fighting in the Falaise pocket and crossing the 3th US Armoured Division heading straight for Paris, the American forces lead him to Tilly, where he gets the Motobécane B33 from an architect friend of his father. Attached to the 83th Reconnaisance Armoured Battalion, he will move straight up to the Belgian border in the august days of 1944 and leap into Belgium on the 2th of September ‘44 with C Company. He notes the loss of a US officer when a Sherman tank got a full blown hit.  In the small village of Nouvelles (Mons), just over the border, he receives a Belgian flag that was displayed on the actual local school building, to lay over one of his fallen comrads, just outside the center. Armand will keep it as a token of remembrance for his friend... Moving into the Ardennes region in september, the Battle of the Bulge will bring an end to his journey in december, since in January 1945 his bike was found by Joseph Balthazar in the maquis of the Filly woods, where several resistance fighters were hiding for the Germans once again. His documents, the flag, belongings and the heavily damaged motorcycle remained in the family for more then 70 years, until a coincidence lead us to the finding of this forgotten story, reconstructed in 4 years of research. As there are so many. Simple people who made a radical choice at a time to fight for the freedom of everyone, without selfishness. Women, men and even children stood up against a regime of destruction, got lost in bombardments or suffered the consequences by execution, resulting in a nameless grave. That’s why Armand’s story became the rooth of the Armand Lapierre Memorial, to bring honor to and find those who are forgotten in time and the horrible effects of more then 4 years of war. The first “milestone “, the memorial plate of Armand Lapierre at the domain of La Chenevière, is the token of the never ending search in history.  His effects and motorcycle are fully restored an preserved at the HBFV museum.
The origin of the Armand Lapierre Memorial
Armand Lapierre Memorial at Domain ‘La Chenevière’ Ecures-Commes, 1450 Port-en-Bessin NORMANDY, FRANCE
Armand’s story is based on his diary, that was recovered in 2013 and restored. Since lots of sheets are missing or got lost by moisture and mold, 32 pages remain readable. The pages can be divided in two sections : the first part he wrote by typewriter in Paris on recycled paper and the second part after he left for Caen and Colleville-sur-Mer, on May 28, 1944. These pages are handwritten by pencil. His writing renders closure on the fact of a missing link between the Calvados intelligence service Alliance and Paris, and how a forgotten action of 22 men led to the sabotage of German telephone lines and boards of the “Kabelbrunnen” at the Atlantic Wall, several hours before the landings. Reports of them following the 83th Rec Bat, attacks on the transmission post of Calayau near Poix-du-Nord, the kind encounters during the liberation of Liège and the harsh results of the Battle of the Bulge. Just some flashes remaining, but enough to reconstruct the nature of this story.