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Lucien Hasley

There were men yelling everywhere

   In 1944,10-year-old Lucien Hasley lived at Le Port Filiolet between Picauville and Chef-du-Pont. For three days, he had a ringside seat to the battle between the Americans and the Germans on the edges of the marshland.

   On the evening of June 5th, my mother made us go to bed with all our clothes on. It was the first time we'd ever done that. About 10.30 p.m. (solar time), we heard the planes coming. It was dreadful. Looking through a small window, my mother saw one of them crash and explode not far away. We didn't see anything because my mother had forbidden us to leave our beds, and I fell asleep despite
it all. In the morning, when my father opened the front door, we found a small group of paratroopers having a rest just a stone's throw from the house. One of them crawled past us to have a look at the marshland : I can still see this big strapping fellow trying to make himself as small as possible. We and the other two families from our hamlet decided to stay together, and we moved from one house to another. There were around 250 paras in the marshes.
   In the night of June 7th-8th, a group of Germans arrived and knocked at the door of our house, which the paras had turned into a first aid post. The American medical orderly waited until all the wounded were out before opening the door. The Germans killed him as he was trying to get away. Then there was a shoot-out: the Germans lost five men and the Americans two. Things were more serious the next morning: we evacuated the hamlet and the Germans and Americans spent two days killing each other.
   We'd gone to shelter in a farm a hundred metres away and we could hear voices, shouts, men yelling everywhere. My parents even told me they could hear the sound of bayonets crossing.

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