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Bordeaux & South-West France Branch

History

Keeping archives is one of the difficulties for an organisation like ours which has never had its own premises. An added difficulty was the sale of St Nicholas Church some twenty years ago, which was the one place where some of our records had found refuge.

According to the documents in my possession, our Branch existed in 1935, it may well have existed before then but I have no proof of this.

It was re-born in 1946, the AGM was held at the Café Richelieu in Bordeaux on 17 October with S/Ldr E Bardsley in the Chair.

The members and the activities for the next 18 years were essentially centred in Bordeaux. Apart from attending the usual Remembrance ceremonies both French and British the outstanding event for that period was probably having the names of the Bordeaux British residents lost during the 1939-1945 war engraved on the Cenotaph that stood at the door of St Nicholas Church.

At the sale of the Church we had it transferred to the Allied Military Cemetery in Talence. J M Clark was in the Chair for the last Committee Meeting appearing in the Minutes Book held at the Café Richelieu on 22 October 1964.

After this date there were no further meetings due to lack of support, but for the next sixteen years thanks to J M Clark a parade was held each year both at Talence and at St Nicholas Church for the annual Remembrance Service at which Harold Henshaw carried the Standard. If we exist today we can say a very big thank you to Jim.

When Jim Clark was about to leave Bordeaux, Tom Payne took over as Chairman and gradually succeeded in building up a Branch; owing to failing health he was unfortunately compelled to relinquish his position which Jack Douay then took over having been Branch Secretary for a few years. Jack held this post with distinction for the next 20 years. By this time we were in the early 80s and the trend which had become apparent in the 70s, namely a decrease in the number of British residents intra-muros and their increase in Dordogne, Lot et Garonne and other rural areas was confirmed.

This led to developing communications in order to keep in touch with Members by means of several Newsletters each year, choosing somewhere to hold the AGM and lunch the most centrally convenient for the greater number, and finally to become more and more competent with modern technologies such as Internet.

Thanks to the Paris and Lyon Branches who have preceded us in this direction, and offered to give us a helping hand in our beginners footsteps we hope that those of our Members who have chosen to surf on the Web will be happy to consult the Legion site to learn of the forthcoming events, read the reports of events they may not have able to attend, read interesting contributions from their fellow Members, and why not send us their own contributions?

We exist thanks to the perseverance of our predecessors, now that technology makes everything so much easier we mustn't let our Branch fade away, we rely on all of you.

John Allsop, Chairman

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