France to remember six-year-old wartime resistance hero

France this week commemorates the deeds of a boy who died aged just six hailed as the youngest French World War II hero for carrying messages under his shirt to leaders of the resistance against Nazi occupation.

The name of Marcel Pinte — known as Quinquin — is to be inscribed on Wednesday into the war memorial in Aixe-sur-Vienne just west of the central city of Limoges.

ADVERTISEMENT

As France Wednesday observes its annual public holiday to mark Armistice Day — remembering the victims of both world wars — a ceremony will also take place in the town to remember Pinte, who is seen as the country’s youngest resistance hero.

His father Eugene was himself a prominent commander, known as Athos, leading a strong local resistance movement around Limoges that would have 1,200 fighters by the end of the war.

According to family member Alexandre Bremaud, 28 — who has fought for recognition of Marcel — the father Eugene was able through his office work to invent false identities and even have access to official papers.

He formed his first resistance unit in 1941 at a village of Gaubertie where he rented a small farm and then made formal contacts with the wider resistance movement in France.

Eugene, his wife Paule and their five children got used to the rhythms of the regular secret meetings at the farm.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It was a hidden place and very difficult to access,” said Bremaud, adding that resistance fighters found it “practical and discreet” to meet there.

At the Pinte household, resistance work and family life were inextricably linked. Marcel watched fascinated and was desperate to take part.

“At the start, he probably took it all as a game. But then he quickly understood how risky it all was,” said Marc Pinte, 68, the grandson of Marcel’s father.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘Understood everything’ –

Marc Pinte recalled what his own father remembered of Marcel. He found it easy to get along with adults and was happy to spend time in the woods alongside the resistance fighters, getting to know their code calls.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Everyone was surprised to see how he got involved like that,” said Marc Pinte.

He said that in the farmhouse it would have been impossible to sleep at night with “constant movement” of people, regular meetings or even a British parachutist hiding in the loft.

“It was natural that the boy got involved in missions that were appropriate for his age and his abilities,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pinte said that Marcel surprised people with his “astonishing” memory and was entrusted with taking messages for resistance chiefs under his shirt.

“He understood everything at once. Naturally, no-one noticed him, no one was going to pay any attention to a boy,” he said.

A large deployment of resistance fighters arrived by parachute in the night of August 19, 1944, ahead of an expected battle around Aixe as Allied forces began to liberate France.

They were heavily armed and Marcel, as usual, followed his family. But a Sten sub-machine gun went off accidentally. Marcel fell to the ground after being hit by several bullets.

ADVERTISEMENT

On August 21, just a a few hours before Limoges was itself liberated, Marcel was “buried in the presence of numerous battalions. The coffin was covered with the tricolour flag,” said Marc Pinte.

The emotion was great. At the beginning of September, British planes carried out a final parachute drop of arms to the area using black canvases in tribute to Marcel.

While is death was an accident, Marcel Pinte is officially considered to have “died for France” as a hero.

Eugene Pinte died in 1951, aged 49. He was buried next to his son Marcel at the cemetery in Aixe.

ADVERTISEMENT

© 2020 AFP

Enjoy good journalism?

… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we’ve expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Value Raw Story?

… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has cut advertising rates in half, and we need your help. Like you, we believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we’ve expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

All countries
194,616,521
Total confirmed cases
Updated on July 25, 2021 3:21 pm
Italy
4,317,415
Total confirmed cases
Updated on July 25, 2021 3:21 pm
Spain
4,280,429
Total confirmed cases
Updated on July 25, 2021 3:21 pm
Iran
3,691,432
Total confirmed cases
Updated on July 25, 2021 3:21 pm
Germany
3,762,194
Total confirmed cases
Updated on July 25, 2021 3:21 pm

Latest Updates

Without Backpackers to Pick Them, Crops Rot by the Ton in Australia

SHEPPARTON, Australia — Peter Hall ran a hand over the Gala apples sitting in a wooden crate on his orchard in southeastern Australia, lamenting...

U.S. Will Have Enough COVID-19 Vaccines for All Adults by End of May, Biden Says

You have reached your limit of 4 free articles. Get unlimited access to TIME.com.99¢ for the first month Subscribe Now You have...

Biden Vows Enough Vaccine ‘for Every Adult American’ by End of May

But Johnson & Johnson and its partners fell behind in their manufacturing. The company was supposed to deliver its first 37 million doses by...

Popular Articles

Without Backpackers to Pick Them, Crops Rot by the Ton in Australia

SHEPPARTON, Australia — Peter Hall ran a hand over the Gala apples sitting in a wooden crate on his orchard in southeastern Australia, lamenting...

U.S. Will Have Enough COVID-19 Vaccines for All Adults by End of May, Biden Says

You have reached your limit of 4 free articles. Get unlimited access to TIME.com.99¢ for the first month Subscribe Now You have...

Biden Vows Enough Vaccine ‘for Every Adult American’ by End of May

But Johnson & Johnson and its partners fell behind in their manufacturing. The company was supposed to deliver its first 37 million doses by...

Twitch gamer Sodapoppin quits fake GTA jobs because they’re too hard

Sometimes being a fake fast-food restaurant manager can be as taxing as being a real one. This is especially true when you also have pretend...

Sarkozy says could take corruption appeal to European human rights court

France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday that he might consider taking his appeal against a corruption conviction to the European Court of...

Where Biden’s Foreign Policy Is Taking the U.S.

One day before the administration announced its decision on Saudi Arabia, Biden gave the first major indication of his presidency that he would be...

Interviews