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For the Historian

Discussion in 'North Africa: Western Desert Campaigns 1940 to Ope' started by Skipper, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I found these two picture postcards from 1941 or 1942 showing the French garisson of Setif, Algeria.

    There aren't too many details, but Ilike to think you dad went to same photographer shop to develop his own pictures. I don't think there were too many places to do so back in the mountains.

    [​IMG]
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  2. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    They're brilliant, cheers Skip!
    I'll have a look at Dad's pics later and see if there's an address on them.
     
  3. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Thanks , apparently they were specialised in transmissions. I have a hard time identyfing their telephones and transmitters though. The one on the far right is a French M-16 telephone. I suppose they had second hand oldtimers.
     
  4. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    That would fit; dad was Royal Signals, 36 Infantry Bde. None of his photos have a photographer's name on them, but I've posted them for your interest.

    First set are dad and his mates in Setif Dec. '42; he's the one in the greatcoat-

    [​IMG]

    Second set are of a family he knew there, the Fillons. The young guy is their son Gilbert, who was captured in 1940 but escaped and made it back to Setif-

    [​IMG]

    Next is an Algiers mosque in 1944-

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    Three views of Tunis. Left to right the cathedral, the city and the ruins of Carthage-

    [​IMG]

    Now is the puzzling one. This is Lulu, a girl he met over there. I've no idea if he knew from Setif, Algiers or Tunis though. Just before he died he gave that Fillon family card to one of my brothers and asked him to try and trace her. He had no luck, but because dad had the beginnings of dementia by that point, it might not even have been her real surname and I can't ask anyone now.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Great pictures. It's hard to say , but Algiers is a large city near the sea, so is Tunis, so I'd opt for Setif which is in an hilly country side area. As to "Lulu" no wonder you never found her, it's not a real name but short for Lucienne.

    We have another hint though. Mr Fillon lived on the "rue des 3rd Tirailleurs", which gives a name to the Military unit posted above (3 ème Tirailleurs Algeriens or 3ème RTA)

    and this : it mentionnes a Gilbert Fillon from Setif as a Tirailleur in 1945 and guarding the Sous Prefect after he was arrested after the massacres. .
    http://bone.pagesperso-orange.fr/titre_rubrique/guerre/villard_8mai45.html
     
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  6. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Ahhh... it's usually short for Louise here.
    Dad always mentioned his unit being pulled out just before that revolt, and that has to be the same Gilbert Fillon. I have photos of Lulu from 1947, so her family would still have been there then. We thought they might have moved to France when the civil war broke out, but I'll try again.
    Cheers!
     
  7. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Just found an obituary for a Mme Lucienne Fillon who died in May this year at the age of 91 in Mouchamps, in the Loire. That was her married name though, but the right age group.
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Ah, I see. So you possibly missed her because of a matter of phonetics ( Lulu vs Loulou) . If she is the one on the on the obituary it would be sad to have been so close. This being said it is a very common name in France. The former rapatriated settlers from Algeria are called "Pied Noirs" , so if you ever get in touch with a familly, ask them if they are descendents from such a familly.
    You may also follow the military lead as we are probably dealing with a prominent familly and possibly an (sous) officer . (his rank with high enough to guard Setif officials in 1945).
     
  9. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I'd definitely try to followup with the family. If they have pictures of their Lulu Fillon, you could confirm it. Perhaps, she too, had stories she told her family?
     
  10. sonofacameron

    sonofacameron Member

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    The one of your Dad in post 4 looks like he should be delivering newspapers not fighting a war, looks so young. Nice photos tho'.
     
  11. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Aye, still got his AB64 which describes his complexion as "fresh". He was 19 in that picture. Even when he was in the TA in the '50s he was still known as "Boy" Wilkie!

    Skip,
    Heard the expression Pieds Noir before right enough. Didn't realize Fillon was a common name, but I found a forum for pieds noir descendants so I'll ask around.
    Ta!
     
  12. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Wish you luck Gordon. In the meantime I will look for more wartime pictures of Setif.
     
  13. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Cheers.
     
  14. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Another picture of Setif. This seems to be late 1935-1941 . It the caserne of the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Regiments of Zouaves. These guys were Europeans (as opposed to the Tirailleurs who were natives) .


    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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  16. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Cheers. Seems to be more stuff out there than I thought.
    Managed to contact a member of the Legion d'Honneure who has done a lot of research on the old French colonial units, but haven't heard from him yet. Seems Gilbert Fillon was actually in the 7eme RTA; they were based in Constantine, but the HQ company was in Setif.
    Will keep you posted.
     
  17. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    yes , there are still quite a few things around, but ther eis much demand. This being said, luck is a major factor in this country for the relic hunters. I spotted two soldbooks yesterday, got both of them for 10 euros only . when Igot home I realized they were a father and a son who had each fought in a World war. Then in the son's book, Ifound a good conduct Dilpoma from his Unit , the 3rd Zouave in Constantine. I had no clue it was even in there, it could just as well hav eSetif or any other place.
    Another example is the medals and pictures I found from another soldier. They were still boxed in the drawers of a large piece of furniture. Nobody was interested in the furniture, and I was the first one to check them. There were some 1870 medals and a rare picture from a comparative training of tanks VS cavalry in 1918. Those days the tanks were still kind of dodgy and one needed to be certain they had a future.... Then there were some WW2 insignias. So three generations of Militaria !
     
  18. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Ok, wrote to the Archives Nationales d'Outre-Mer asking if they had records for Algeria and Setif in particular, and the only answer I got was to inform me it wasn't their job to research or provide copies of records, but here's a list of French genealogists/researchers.
    So still no further forward, but I'll try contacting some of the people on the list and sound them out price-wise.
    Also wrote to the Societe des Membres de Legion d'Honneur since I heard one of their members specializes in the history of Algerian colonial troops, but haven't heard anything yet.
     
  19. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Got an email back from a French researcher today with some good news. I wrote to the Centre De Documentation Historique sur l'Algerie, who forwarded my letter to an historian who was actually born in Setif.
    He knew three families called Fillon who all lived in Setif during the war, but none had anyone called "Lulu". I sent him copies of the photos I had, and suggested that:
    1) Lulu was her nickname
    2)The address might actually have been her brother's barracks, and not their home address.
    He came back to me today and told me someone had recognised the photo, and the woman's name was actually Yvette Dequire-Fillon. No wonder we couldn't find her. Apparently she had three sons, and left Algeria in 1961, probably for Paris. Gilbert was actually her half-brother, since her father had remarried after the death of his first wife. Gilbert died in 2007 unfortunately.
    It isn't clear if Yvette is still alive, but the researcher is giving me the address of one her sons (who lives in SE France), and we'll see what happens.
    Good news!
     
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  20. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I only just saw this Gordon. This is great news. I hope the son will answer you. It would be wonderful if yvette is still alive.
     

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