The Battle of Castellard

The Battle of Castellard

On July 1st 1944, German troops mounted a major operation in the Duyes valley. Their forces from the moutain-passes of Saint-Antoine, Ainac, La Croix, Volonne and Mirabeau surrounded the area. The German troops arriving from La Robine via the mountain-pass Col de La Croix stopped on the rock of Sainte-Madeleine to survey over the Riou valley. Many of the inhabitants had already left the village and fled towards Le Siron.
German troops spotted Robert Beaudun, aged 20, and Clermont Garcin, aged 24, and shot them with machine guns at around 2pm.

An armed confrontation took place at Castellard. After two and a half hours of fighting, the FFI (Forces françaises de l'intérieur), the French Resistance controlled the area. The occupying German forces, caught from behind by a group of Resistance Fighters from Mélan, withdrew with their dead and wounded. The group of Resistance fighters spent the night at Saint-Symphorien. At about 6pm, the local population gathered in the village square of Thoard to hear Nazi propaganda. The next day, German troops returned in force and burned nine farms in Castellard and the hamlet of Mélan. They killed Paul Avignon, a 20-year-old Resistance Fighter from Thoard, who was on a military mission in the area of Mounis.

The valley of Thoard is adorned, throughout the Municipal District, with the symbol of the Resistance's war cross.

Let us not forget our fallen heros.



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