Seeking Information on French Resistance Cells in Rennes

Discussion in 'France' started by sirjahn, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. sirjahn

    sirjahn Member

    I am seeking information on the French Resistance centered in Rennes. My Father was a POW in Rennes Military Hospital (on Rue Jean Mace') who escaped and was found by members of the Resistance on 1 August 1944. I would like to know if there are any written accounts of the Resistance in Rennes and in particular any accounts of the Resistance helping the POWs.
  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Hello Dale, the D/F Section of SOE/OSS in occuied Europe normally moved escaped prisoners down their various escape lines, however at this stage in the war almost any reseaux would have assisted POWs and probably kept them locally as it was safter than risking movement with all the military activity going on.

    The resistance in France came in various guises - F Section worked directly to SOE/OSS, RF controlled the Gaullist Free French Sections, EU/P was made up of Polish workers and miners in France, and DF ran escape lines among other things. From June 1944 the Resitance Forces in France came under the command of EMFFI a Free French HQ led by General Pierre Koenig.

    Jed Teams George and Frederick Operated in the area

    a memoir by the WTO of Team Frederick can be found at:

    There is a Museum of the Breton resistance at

    Resistance Museum Brittany -
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The French Resistance Museum at St Marcel gives a good insight to the activities of the resistance in this area.Not only covert activities are covered but overt activities when the resistance pitched themselves against the Germans in open battle in July 1944.They were led by Pierre Bourgoin, the one armed resister who was parachuted into the area when Marienne the leader of the the French No 4 SAS was killed.The group was only saved by the introduction of USAAF fighters who picked up their desperate wireless traffic.

    It also houses selected last letters of the 49 young communists of Chateaubriant, executed in retaliation for the assasination of Holz the German commander of Nantes.

    Good example on show of a Renault lorry manufactured by the French for German use,collaboration which cost Gilbert Renault his company after the war.

    Cannot remember if Rennes resistance groups were covered but I would strongly expect that there would be a museum within the city and the detail requested might have its source here.Rennes fell to the Americans in early August and those offering help could come from many friendlies,some organised,some not and then there were irregular units such as the FPT,some acting independently up to the liberation.

    Rennes was not a city which the SOE had much of a recorded presence.Further west, into the hinterland of Brittany was the SOE Circuit Hillbilly which was only set up at the end of May 1944,then to the east in the Mayrenne was the SOE Circuit, Headmaster which was only re-established in March 1944 after being disjointed and non operational for the whole of 1943,the result of German counter measures.

    I think the hospital at Rennes might have been the same hospital that the St Nazaire wounded POWs were held prior to their transport to POW camps in Germany, after the raid in March 1942.
  4. sirjahn

    sirjahn Member

    As far as the St Nazaire wounded POWs yes they were held in the same place and I have records of an Indian Nursing Sepoy there from about that time who was in the Hospital staff. Did any of those St Nazaire guys escape while in Rennes?
  5. Bernard O'Connor

    Bernard O'Connor Junior Member

    Occupied by Gestapo from 1941, this chateau was attacked in a
    Mosquito raid in July 1944 in an attempt to free Free French prisoners.

    Might anyone know the story or of any SOE/OSS/Jedburgh involvement?

  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    A very interesting thread which I hope will develop.

  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I do not think that the Chateau de Trevarez (Domaine de Trevarez) was used for Gestapo prisoners.As far as I can see the Chateau was used as R and R for U Boat crews.

    In fact at the time of the raid,I think it was 28 July 1944,it was said that a Japanese submarine crew were also relaxing there. There used to be about three bombs laid out by the main door which had failed to explode during the raid.The bombs had obviously been made safe and the cases burnt open.My son was there in July and said he could not find a trace of the bombs.

    The Chateau fabric had been deteriorating for some time until the Finistere local authorities took over ownership and now have a programme of restoration.The large surrounding gardens are very attractive and the view north to Chateauneuf du Faou is spectacular.The Chateau was built by a Finistere politician in 1910,who apparently was tipped as the next French president but it did not materialise.

    The French Resistance were quite active in the area,supported by Jedburgh units after the invasion.The Germans retreating to Brest committed a number of atrocities,burning and looting the farmsteads in their path.

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