24/02/2014

We had a visit from neighbour J’s cousin. He hadn’t seen LSS since 1985, had heard she was back in town, and wanted to catch up. He’s really into genealogy, and gave LSS an unexpected present: his research on her family name which he had managed to trace back as far as 1655. This is not as strange as it sounds, as their families are related.

He’s also somewhat of a buff regarding local history, and gave us some interesting photocopies. During WW2 there was apparently a German radar station based on the farm next to neighbour J. The electricity supply came all the way from Lamotte Beuvron, some 8km away, and was installed by Russian prisoners of war. It crossed La Darnoire and the farm of the aged FIL. Of course no trace is left today; I suspect it was carried on wooden posts.

Then in July 1944, the electricity supply line was bombed and destroyed by two RAF De Havilland Mosquitos. They also jettisoned their long-range tanks, and this chap’s father promptly took one of them for use on his farm.

The radar station itself had a 7.5 metre dish, and was blown up by the departing Germans on 20 August 1944. The radar dish was made of aluminium, and this was rapidly scavenged by the locals. There are bits of it still in use here today as handy carrying baskets. The aluminium is of good quality, and quite thick.

The concrete base of the radar station is apparently still there, overgrown with trees. We must go and have a look, one of these days. I know there were the ruins of a German-constructed building in a field next to the road approaching the aged FIL, probably about 200 metres from the site of the radar. It can still be seen on Google Earth, but not for long; the remains were removed last year by the farmer so that he could have unrestricted access with his plough.

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