I’d been made aware of an operation by the British Special Air Service SAS during WW2 while staying with friends in the tiny hamlet of La Garde. This was a behind-the-enemy-lines-operation to disrupt the German (Nazi) movements of troops and heavy armour en-route to the channel coast to bolster the defenses for the Normandy landings (D-day).
33 members of B sqn 1 SAS who were captured and later executed by German (Nazi) forces while on Operation Bulbasket which ran from June-August 1944 in the Poitiers-Verriers region of France. On this job comprised a number of former auxiliary unit members, including men from various Scout Sections.
This story be initially read through Wikipedia. Subsequently, if interested, an extremely good book is available on Amazon. Also, another Special Operations Executive SOE operation was running alongside Operation Bulbasket. Behind Enemy Line with the SAS. An exceptional story of undercover bravery involving a British agent: Amedee Maingard.
We cycled to the village of Saint-Sauvant from La Garde. This is the adjacent village to the site where the operation was based in the woods near by. The SAS operations base was generally mobile. At Saint-Sauvant a minor party of British troopers had a missed parachute drop and landed in the village square! A memorial is erected in the square to all of the men of the operation. It hosts a map of Operation Bulbasket and a brief description of the events.
The cycle into the woods was extremely peaceful, interspersed with the chirping of small birds. A clearing had been made for a large memorial stone, next to the track where the men had been executed on the 7th July 1944. A brief walk into the woods leads to the site of three mass graves. These graves were discovered on December 1944. It’s an intensely moving place to visit.
The bodies were removed from this site and laid to rest with full funeral honours in Rom. Hosted by the people of a now, unoccupied France.
Still to this day, the Commonwealth War Graves are carefully looked after by the locals for Rom. A memorial service is held every year in Rom and at the memorial site in the woods nearby.
Since the continuous rain up through central France 🌧 my Samsung EX1 camera has given up the ghost. Not that I got it out when it was raining, it’s just the amount of moisture in the air. So photos are now solely taken with a Nokia Lumia 720 phone 😶
The map is interactive. Click on the route or icons for detail.