Honda XRV Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

1,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know there's been ride reports from Oradour before, but here's mine.for those of you who aren't aware, some background:

10th June 1944. 4 days after the normandy landings & resistance activity in the Limousin region has redoubled in an attempt to prevent german troops moving north to reinforce the front. The 2nd SS panzer division "Das reich" commanded by Adlof Diekerman, harassed by resistance actions, Halts by the small village of Oradour sur Glane.

Lunch is almost over, the restaurant & café begin to empty as the inhabitants return to their occupations & the children make their way back to school.

14h00; having carefully surrounded the Village, the SS give the order for all inhabitants to gather in the square.

15h00; the villagers are all in the square, & the school children arrive, in rows accompanied by their teachers. The SS have set up macine guns all around the square, facing the people.

15h30; The SS separate the men from the women & children. The women & children are led to the church. The men are divided into groups, which then disperse at gunpoint, to various locations in the village.

16h00; An explosion is heard, at which signal the machine guns open fire on the groups of men. Some men are finished off with a pistol shot to the head, most are not, & the piles of bodies are set alight.

17h00: the SS place a large crate in the centre of the church, from which a number of fuses run. the firing of the fuses provokes a thick toxic smoke & complete panic amongst the women & children who scrabble for the doors. The SS are machine gun anyone appearing near the doors or windows. The fire spreads & the women & children die asphixiated or burned alive. One lone woman survived to tell the tale. Mme Rouffanche. The youngest of the children was 8 days old.

The SS then proceeded to burn any bodies left over, some survivors were thrown down the well & the rest of the village was burned.

That afternoon, the SS destroyed 642 lives & 328 buildings.

The village has never been rebuilt, a new village has grown alongside the old & the ruins have been left untouched. Since 1999 a "centre de la memoire" ( memory centre & museum) has been installed at the entrance to the village.

This is what I wanted to see.

being something of a technophobe, I tend to still route plan the old fashioned way, & don't have a GPS. I use a K. T.

Kitchen Table!

+ pencil & paper.zed to 81% (was 798 x 431) - Click image to enlarge

The route,
day 1
Auxerre - Oradour - Beaune les mines

day 2
Beaune les mines - Auxerre

I set off late, due to Madame feeling a bit off, I ran the kids to school for 08:30, swung by the polyclinique to pick up me scan results (sinuses again
) & didn't get away from home 'till about quarter to ten. Not cold & not raining but very overcast. Forcast to improve over the course of the day. Didn't suit up to set off but within 10 minutes needed to here at Jussey, linking the N6 to the N151 esized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

It hammered down for about 5 minutes & then let up, but I was on the N151 & as usual loving every minute of it, as far as Clamecy anyway. After that it gets a bit booring as far as Nevers, then it's just "route express" (dual carriageway) south to Moulins.then a bit more interesting, but not a lot...) from Moilins to Montluçon where I stopped for a late lunch & just stopped at a McGonads for a spicy skank-burger or whatever it was. I was pushing on despite the numerous heavy rain showers, cos I really wanted to get to Oradour in time to do the Museum Visit & then see the ruins.

A photo somewhere between Moulins & Montluçon at a quick "Pee/Cig/ fuel" stop
ized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

I'd just ridden out from under that big cloud which was a classical "Anvil" shaped cumulo nimbus, but you can only see it's trailing edge in the pic. Needless to say it had got a little "intense" riding through it, the wind was quite something

I stopped for a ciggy at Gueret, & then attacked the smaller roads up to Le Grand Bourg, it had stopped raining but the roads were still weted to 80% (was 800 x 797) - Click image to ge

I got to Oradour around 4 ish, with just enough time to do the museum & the village if I was quick in the museum...

I'm putting the next set of pics in a seperate post, partly because they're not really part of the ride & partly to separate the 2 distinct parts (for me) of the 2 days.


1,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The Museum doesn't allow pics, so I don't have any. You want to see it? you'll have to go.

The Museum explains more than I really wanted to know about the village, the political situation & so on & so forth, but also in detail what exactly happend on the 10 of June 1944 & goes on to attempt to explain why & what happened afterwards, Historically, to allow the village to remain as it is. Most of the "exhibits" are items that were left in the ruins, but that started to become seriously weatherbeaten & risked being lost entirely.

The signs & explanations are in numerous languages... German being one of them. (I don't know what to think about that... is that good or bad?)

After the, sobering, museum visit I walked on through to the village itself. I have loads of pics but I won't post them all. It did feel kind of bizarre taking photo's, people died here, it's not just some tourist attraction.

Just a remark I made to myself on leaving the village. I think that Oradour Sur Glane (the old village) is the only village in france where you will not get people say "bonjour", to each other in the street... most will not even make eye contact, be they brits, french or dutch. (I didn't spot any germans)

outside the memorial centre

the inscription reads " Ici des hommes firent a leurs meres, et a toutes les femmes, la plus grave injure. Ils n'épargnerent pas les enfants"

my translation " in this place some men committed the most heinous of crimes against their mothers & all women, they did not spare the children"

sign at the gate to the village

This is what the whole thing is about. This must never be forgotten, that men are capable of such atrocity.

Resized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

The well

In which a number of bodies were found. The inscription reads "here some villagers were buried" (understand buried alive)

Resized to 81% (was 799 x 564) - Click image to enlarge

Resized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

" In this place of torture a group of men were massacred & burned by the Nazis. meditate upon it"

the garageResized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

Cars in the streets

Resized to 81% (was 798 x 431) - Click image to enlarge

Resized to 81% (was 798 x 421) - Click image to enlarge

The forgeResized to 80% (was 800 x 557) - Click image to enlarge

The pharmacyResized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

"here were found 2 burnt bodies"

the Bakers

the butchersResized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

the café "chez Lucien"Resized to 81% (was 799 x 555) - Click image to enlarge

at the bottom of the road there is the church.Resized to 81% (was 799 x 517) - Click image to enlarge

"in this place hundreds of women & children
were massacred by the Nazis
you who pass by, be meditative
you who believe, say a prayer
for the victimes & their families"

the bell, melted by the heat of the flamesResized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

The youngest child was only 8 days old...Resized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge


1,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
a quiet walk back to the bike & a quick word with two english guys on BMW F650's headed south, a father & son team who'd stopped by cos the dad's father had been here many years ago & told his son about it, who'd now brought HIS son to see it.

Have a safe trip through the pyrenees guys

I took the road towards Limoges, it was now about 18h00 & I had obviously well timed my arrival on the outskirts of Limoges to coincide with evening rush hour...
Still, I knew pretty much where I was going & I found the traffic easy to deal with, as most cars judt pull over as the lines slow down, allowing even my fat arse panniers to filter through. I arrived at the Hotel easy enough a little before 7, having stopped for a coffee at a roadside café along the way.

well when I say Hotel...

it's a truck stop, with 6 rooms available. Room, evening meal & breakfast 46€. Well it was clean... ish.

I usually reckon that the food at a truckstop is going to be ok if there's a load of trucks outside at mealtimes. By the time I'd checked in, unpacked & showered there were 70+ semis parked out the back & 4 or 5 jostling for position in the front...

There's no pics of this cos it was a complete free for all
the food was ok, good solid truck stop nosh, the entrée was a buffet so help yourself

then there was lasagne & salad in portions that I would only feed to large wild animals... actually, come to think of it, I wish I'd have filmed it (with sound), it really was a bit like feeding time at the zoo
. There was no way i was going to be able to sit & enjoy a quiet meal with my nose in a book

however it all seemed fairly good natured & as everyone was sat at long common tables, it seemed somewhat churlish not to just deploy my elbows & join the throng & was soon elbow deep in greasy pasta & knee deep in an animated discussion about french transport politics... of which I have no clue but just tried to avoid being rude about bloody frog truck drivers...

I slept in late & by the time I was ready to go (about 9h30 ish) the parking was empty. The barman who served me coffee & croissant for breakfast said that it was like that every night of the week...

So, Friday morning, only slightly hung over, even at this late hour a fairly thick fog lay over all, so I'd only have wasted time waiting if i'd got up earlier. The first couple of hours of my route were the scenic twisty bits & I didn't want to do that in the fog.

I set off to cover the first 20 or so km before the real fun begins, in the hope the fog would have burnt off by the time I got to St Priest Taurion & turned up back into the hills.

The bridge at St Priest,zed to 81% (was 799 x 421) - Click image to enlarge

sized to 81% (was 799 x 452) - Click image to enlarge

further onized to 81% (was 797 x 799) - Click image to enlarge

esized to 80% (was 800 x 501) - Click image to enlarge

esized to 81% (was 799 x - Click image to enlarge

esized to 80% (was 800 x 499) - Click image to enlarge

oh Borrox (as the japanese say)

esized to 80% (was 800 x 777) - Click image to enlarge

well that's put the kybosh on one section then...

ne'er mind, plenty more where that came fromesized to 81% (was 799 x 605) - Click image to enlarge

Resized to 80% (was 800 x 467) - Click image to enlarge

by the time I'd got back to Le Grand Bourg, I felt a bit like I'd been in a washing machine on "spin" cycle..

then the serious stuff started again, the interminable ride home along mile after mile of almost straight a flat roads, the only exception being the 1st section of the D940 from Gueret to genouillac which is superbe, long fast sweepers with good visibility & a good surface
the views dont do it any harm either


esized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

a rest stop alongside the Canal laterale a la loire, somewhere south of Cosne sur loireesized to 80% (was 800 x 600) - Click image to enlarge

oh look a boat!esized to 81% (was 799 x 607) - Click image to enlarge

Druyes les belles fontainesesized to 81% (was 799 x 441) - Click image to enlarge

the castleesized to 81% (was 799 x 505) - Click image to enlarge

nearly home, my house lies somewhere in the fold of the valley, just this side of the dark hill in the centre & a bit further leftesized to 81% (was 798 x 444) - Click image to enlarge

overall distance was 806km & it only raind on the thursday morning.


1,041 Posts
Great report...nice balance of serious and humourous stuff....:thumbright:

Was down your way last week...popped in to see Mark, and ended up staying the week to help him out:rolleyes: His 'big project' is finally coming to fruition...I'll post the pics after next weekend if all goes to plan...;)

4,811 Posts
By taking photos you have helped pass on this story. I gather that the most traumatic aspect of many wars is the mistreatment of civilians. If we forget the likelihood that it will happen again increases.

Should know better
2,980 Posts
Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk 2

Fantastic but heart- and gut-wrenching report there, Moon. The pictures really tell the story so well. Horrible to know that anyone can be so cruel and inhuman but, as has been said, we need to remember to stop it from ever happening again.
  • Like
Reactions: Mervinh

Wing Commander
14,437 Posts
Very moving. Will have to plan a visit myself.
  • Like
Reactions: les9509

1,275 Posts
Chilling story and images. Great report thanks for sharing.

1,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
By the way what engine bars are on your TA ???
fitted by the previous owner & I think they're homemade specials... there's one or two "oddities" about them that make me think they're homemade, but they do the job fine so I ain't complaining.:thumbup:

Senior Consulting Member
1,982 Posts
Thanks for the post Moon.

I visited Oradour-sur-Glane on the way back from the Stella Alpina a few years back. I thought it'd be worth an hour's 'look see' but ended up staying nearly all day. Moon's report is excellent, and I especially appreciate the translations, but I'm sure he'll agree that you really have to visit to appreciate the very strange and moving atmosphere. To think of each individual's terror and the horrors that were endured there (hopefully only briefly) really penetrates your soul, especially on a bright and sunny day when the Skylarks sing.

It would be nice to think that rememberance would prevent similar atrocities, but both history and current events mean that that's unlikely.

1,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I do think that rememberance is important & that one of the reasons that atrocities are still happening is because we refuse to learn from the past. I don't know what happens in uk schools these days as my kids are schooled here (& are more french than french frogs legs in a bucket of snails) but french schools involve the kids in what is called the "devoir de memoire" which translates as an "obligation to remember" & this transcends age, gender, religion or race. Obviously adapted to the age of the child... (I don't expose my twins at 5 to the same information or images as N°1 who is 10.) but I know that even at school they will see documentrys about the war, the camps, the shoah etc & that they will be able to visit some of the sites, even if it's only the memorial & museum of the Shoah in Paris.
The memorial dates & services are still taken very seriously here, across the generations & every opportunity is given to parents to explain to the younger generations the why's & wherefore's of the war memorials, the flags & the rememberance services.

I would like to think that this was the case elsewhere but I have my doubts...

"those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
George Santayana

one of the lost boys
6,127 Posts

Thank you Moon, A great write up.

History repeats it's self too much.

I watched a BBC film many years ago about the British soldiers in the former Yugoslavia, the film was called Warriors, (Peacekeepers) Horrific but well documented film
Warriors (TV series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1 - 16 of 16 Posts