Memorial and museum of the Pommiès Free Corps

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This memorial is dedicated to the Pommiès Free Corps - Second World war.

This memorial is dedicated to the Pommiès Free Corps (Corps Franc Pommiès or CFP), a prestigious detachment of the Résistance who, by sabotaging the Hispano-Suiza (Alstom) factory, spared the population the cruel consequences of aerial bombardment during the Second World War.

This army, organised by General André Pommiès turned the Magnoac region into a hard nucleus of the French Résistance. Born in 1904 in Bordeaux, Lieutenant Colonel Pommiès had trained in the information services, retaining his military contacts and a sense of organisation.

In 1940, Pommiès refused to accept the defeat. He was given the task of secretly mobilising an army in the High and Low Pyrenees, the Landes and the Gers regions.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Pommiès, seated in the centre, in discussion with his staff during the campaign in the Alsace. Winter 1944-1945.

    Lieutenant Colonel Pommiès, seated in the centre, in discussion with his staff during the campaign in the Alsace. Winter 1944-1945. Photograph ECPAD

  • A Pommiès Free Corps medical Jeep in the Thur valley, on the Alsace front. Winter 1944-1945

    A Pommiès Free Corps medical Jeep in the Thur valley, on the Alsace front. Winter 1944-1945. Photograph ECPAD

  • The Pommiès Free Corps, which had become the 49th Infantry Regiment (49e RI), parades in Paris on 18 June 1945. 18 June 1945

    The Pommiès Free Corps, which had become the 49th Infantry Regiment (49e RI), parades in Paris on 18 June 1945. 18 June 1945. Photograph ECPAD.

  • Photograph of the memorial

    Photograph of the memorial. Source: www.cg65.fr

Sources: www.cg65.fr et www.ecpad.fr

The Free Corps was very actively involved in the liberation of the country. In fact, the Pommiès Free Corps was one of the main constituents of the Army Résistance Organisation (Organisation de Résistance de l'Armée or "ORA") in the southern zone.

 

On the very day the Army was disbanded, 17 November 1942, Captain André Pommiès decided to create a Free Corps on the territory of the 17th and 18th military divisions (the south west). In each département, an officer was appointed to set up a clandestine unit. For two years, "maquisards" (members of the Résistance) from the Free Corps were used in transporting weapons and equipment, parachute drops and sabotage of the principal means of transport and energy production used by the occupying forces in the region. At the end of 1943, the southern zone was 30,000 strong and the northern zone 15,000.

 

Alerted by messages from the BBC, on 6 June 1944 Pommiès called on all his personnel (12,000 men) to use guerrilla tactics and intensify their destructive actions. After the Allied landings in Provence on 15 August 1944, battles for liberation succeeded guerrilla warfare. The Pommiès Free Corps took Auch, Pau and Tarbes. He was then given the mission of preventing members of the Wehrmacht, the Gestapo and collaborators from crossing to Spain. Whilst one section of the forces of the Pommiès Free Corps was maintained in the Pyrenees to guard the border, the other sections headed to the northeast. After crossing France, they met up with the army of General de Lattre de Tassigny at Autun and took part in the fighting for the liberation of the town between 7 and 9 September 1944.

 

On 24 September, fighters from the Pommiès Free Corps were incorporated into the body of the 1st Army. Now having become regular soldiers, they took part in the Vosges campaign and then that of the Alsace, most famously taking the strategic heights of le Drumont and le Gommkopf. In February 1945, the Pommiès Free Corps became the 49th Infantry Regiment (49e Régiment d'Infanterie or 49e RI), a former regiment of Bayonne with a glorious past, adopting its flag with a black star. On 1 April, the regiment arrived in Germany and advanced towards its final objective, Stuttgart, which it took on 21 April 1945. From its foundation up until the Liberation, the C.F.P was to carry out 900 military operations. The human cost was particularly heavy: 387 killed and 156 deported.
On 6 June, former members of the network came to join in private prayer during an anniversary ceremony. In June 2003 a museum area was opened in the café "Bouges" in the centre of Castelnau-Magnoac, which served as a letter drop for the maquis (Resistance fighters).
 

 

Memorial and museum of the Pommiès Free Corps

Esplanade Village 65230 Castelnau-Magnoac

Tel: + 33 (0) 5 62 99 81 41

 

 

Site du musée

 

 

 

Tourist Information Office

Maison du Magnoac 65230 Cizos

Tel. + 33 (0) 5.62.39.86.61

Fax: + 33 (0) 5.62.39.81.60

 

Tourist Office

3, Cours Gambetta 65000 Tarbes

Tel.: + 33 (0) 5.62.51.30.31

Fax: + 33 (0) 5.62.44.17.63

E-mail: accueil@tarbes.com

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