Chateau La Fiere

Discussion in 'Civilian' started by Pat Curran, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,523
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi All,

    I have been contacted by Jil Launay, the owner of Chateau La Fiere, asking if we can discover what part the Chateau played in the La Fiere Bridge actions of 6th - 9th June 1944 and, in addition, any more general historical information on her home.

    The Chateau is located just north of La Fiere hamlet as indicated on the extract from the war time Sheet No. 31/18 N.E. (Ste Mere Eglise) below:
    [​IMG]

    Until Bruno set me straight on the 'My Longest Night' by Genevieve Duboscq thread here, I had been confusing the Chateau with the Manoir at the bridge - thanks again Bruno ;)

    One thing I did notice when I read the 82nd Airborne Headquarters & Headquarters Company AAR for the 6th June is this statement:

    Again, in error, I just always assumed the coordinates referred to the bridge, but I see now they actually refer to a point immediately east of the Chateau if I am reading the map correctly. Looking at the extract, it might be erroneously assumed that the hamlet of La Fiere was the Chateau and associated buildings because of the placement of the label La Fiere, but the hamlet is down the road towards the bridge. In any event, I think the assembly point referred to was Chateau La Fiere - whether it then became a CP for the 1st Battalion, 505th is another matter.

    There are in existence photographs taken with captions tying them to a 1/505 CP 'near the bridge' but in order to make careful comparisons, can I ask you Jil to take some photographs of the buildings marked A-G on the IGN overlay below please?
    [​IMG]

    Also Jil, I note that building 'F' is marked on more modern IGN maps as a chapel; is this correct? - see extract below:
    [​IMG]

    In addition to still photographs, there is 82nd Airborne footage showing troopers at rest at a large farm or chateau but it may not be this location - again photographs of the buildings would help.

    Thanks Jil.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  2. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,523
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi All,

    Jil has forwarded on some new information and photos of Chateau La Fiere. Her email, reproduced here with permission, in part reads:

    These four photos Jil attached:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I was interested to see if any of Jil's photos would match a number of unknown 82nd locations which have been on my 'wanted list' for some time now. Below are three stills from Tyler Alberts '82nd Airborne Division - Invasion of Normandy Series' DVD (which now appears to be superseded by this version):
    The first is a meeting between General Gavin and Colonel Harry L. Lewis, CO 325th GIR and one of Gavin's staff officers. I had wondered if there might be a location match with Chateau La Fiere but seeing Jil's photo showing the front of the Chateau, I think the window sill height is too great if, as I suspect, the three men are sitting on the ground. BTW, Col. Lewis is by this time suffering from terminal cancer and clearly looks unwell in this footage.

    I also wondered about another scene where a radio operator is passing a message through an open window at an 82nd CP:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Again, I think we have no match with Chateau La Fiere. The top of the window frames are curved in the footage which again appears to rule out Chateau La Fiere. It is probable that the footage was taken further westwards near Picauville around the 13th June but that's another day's work.

    The chapel is interesting also; I wonder if it was used as an aid post during the battle for the bridge and causeway?

    I want to post some still shots next from Michel de Trez's book.

    Comments and corrections welcomed and appreciated.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  3. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,523
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi All,

    While researching for post #22 of the 'My Longest Night' by Genevieve Duboscq' thread, I came across a reference to the governess at Chateau La Fiere, Madame Brisset, being "killed by the bombs" as the author of that book describes the tragedy. She had a daughter Bernadette who appears to have survived this incident.

    As far as I know the Chateau was never bombed, but it was shelled by the Germans from the Chateau d'Amfreville ('Gray Castle') on at least one occasion on the morning of the 6th June.

    Does anyone know how Madame Brisset was killed or know if her family survives in the area today?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  4. Sean

    Sean Active Member
    Researcher

    Oct 24, 2012
    311
    1
    Male
    Battlefield guide
    Normandie
    Hello Pat and all,


    This book says an "obus" (shell) killed Mme Brisset onthe 6th June. nothing more specific.

    There ten Brissets within 10km of Ste Mere Eglise but none within the commune itself, according to the 'phone book.
    Of course if her daughter survived and married the name would likely have changed.

    Cheers,

    Sean
     
  5. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,523
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi Sean,

    Many thanks for checking this out for me.

    To an eleven year old child, there is not much difference between a shell and a bomb which is the thing not grasped by those who criticised the book 'My Longest Night' when it was published.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  6. hans_ni-hi

    hans_ni-hi Active Member
    Researcher

    Nov 30, 2014
    184
    0
    Hi Pat, Sean,
    for my the house in the 'combat-reel' picture is more of the type 'Hotel'. The small extra roof above the entrance staircase, the black plate next to the entrance (would be nice if we would be able to read it), this indicates (for me) it is not a private home but is more 'public'. Also a jeep is in front of the entrance (close to a road) and to the right there is either a extra building of another part of the house standing out/not following the fron line of the main building.
     
  7. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,523
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi Hans,

    Yes, I see what you mean :exclamation:

    There appears to be sloping hand rails mounted on the wall either side of the doorway for the steps which also indicates a public building. I had considered the Picauville area around the 13th June when the 82nd Airborne had a rare quite day, or perhaps one of the buildings in the large hospital complex in Pont l'Abbe, but wherever it is, it's not Chateau La Fiere.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  8. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,523
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi All,

    Just a note to say we have confirmed the location of the Tyler Alberts 82nd footage location to Chateau Francquetot (Coigny). See the 'Chateau Francquetot (Coigny) Footage' thread for more.

    Regards,

    Pat
     

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