Annual commemoration at the SOE French Section memorial in Valençay
This significant ceremony at the Valençay memorial is held every year on May 6th from 11am, and arranged by Libre Résistance, the Paris-based official SOE French Section association based.
The Secret WW2 trustee Paul McCue was one of the official French and British wreath layers; and he'd also arranged for 104 poppy crosses to be on display in front of the memorial, to represent each individual SOE French Section agent who'd perished as a result of his or her secret mission to support resistance in France and its eventual liberation. These poppy crosses were an additional feature of the ceremony that was initiated in 2016 by The Secret WW2 Learning Network.
With 2017 being the 75th anniversary year of the first parachute drop of female French Section agents (Lise de Baissac and Andrée Borrel in September 1942) it was highly appropriate that so many current and past members of the FANY were present - and for all the attendees who then attended the official lunch at the Château de Valençay's Orangerie, the historian Paul McCue gave a special talk on the ‘The Unlucky 13’ – the women agents named amongst the total of 104 SOE agents listed on the engraved marble plinths which face the central memorial.
In addition to the now regular annual attendance of Louisa Russell (Chair), Paul McCue (Trustee), Martyn Cox (co-founder) and Meryl Jones (volunteer) the ranks of The Secret WW2 Learning Network were boosted this year by the attendance of Carol Browne (volunteer) and Ann Palmer (supporter) who'd travelled from Britain especially to attend this year's events.
Web links for more Valençay information -