The Lost Hamlet of Les Bordes

So there we are stumbling our way through the forest, we pass a ruin, there is not much left but the out lines of the general layout of the building could still be defined, in this dense undergrowth its hard to imagine whether the windows originally faced the sun or not, we decided to continue to a local landmark that was not far away but we do not find what we are looking for but instead stumble on something with a much darker history, not much is known about Les Bordes (not far from Bonnefond) except it used to be a hamlet of afew houses and barns, and is listed on the old Cassini Maps but in 1944 it would be wiped from the map forever.

The house we were looking at was a base for local resistance fighters and on the 5th of May they were caught by the Wehrmacht (Part of the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946) Lucien Niarfeix, Charles Terracol and André Laval are killed, René Dumas, Louis Brousse are sent to POW camps, along with Roger Lavielle, who later died at Dachau.

There houses were burnt to the ground, never to recover from what they saw. Large parts of this departement have never recovered especially this area where we are, today on many maps, hamlets had now disappeared, taken over by foresty company’s who brought up all the land making most of it private property

A quote from an article by Denise Brédimus published in the Echo ” The camp of our detachment (Claude Larmonie), which has 25 men, is located 7 kilometers across the mountains, at the edge of Bonnefonds. The knowledgeable Germans, and a hundred of them, only put in one hour to reach our camp, where we sleep, tired by the two days of walking that we have just done since Vigeois. (Bonneond is located 40 km as the crow flies from Vigeois, but double when using the paths.) Rene Dumas is at the guard station. At five o’clock in the morning he hears unusual sounds, but can not see anything because it is barely day and a thick fog covers the surroundings.

He goes down to the hamlet to alert the men who are there, and in particular Roger Lavielle, leader of the detachment. That’s when the shooting broke out: The Germans were on all sides. Charles Terracol runs to the village but a machine-gun shot kills him, seriously injuring him. In the small forest, Lucien NIARFEIX is killed. René Dumas is wounded by an explosive bullet in his arm. Roger Lavielle and Louis Bush are captured.

We, together with the men of the detachment, we slept a mile away, in a undermined hollow in the forest. (Sape du Camp de Marquis des Bordes) The shooting’s wakes us up. We go out in a hurry to find out what’s going on. When the gunfire ceases, we understand that it is our comrades who have succumbed. We’re leaving the dugout. And at night, we go down to the village of Les Bordes to see what remains. Everything was burnt to the ground. We pass next to our two comrades without even seeing them.”

2017