Fournet played its part in the D Day Landings - but nearly two years earlier....
On 12th September 1942, the French coast came under attack once again
by British Commandos.
A force of eleven Commandos landed at the plage ( the beach) at St Laurent
sur Mer, later known as Omaha Beach. The intention of the raid was to
collect sand samples and take German prisoners for interrogation.
Unfortunately the raid was unsuccessful as a dog heard the Commandos walking
on the shingle. Three Commandos were killed on the beach and three captured
immediately but four escaped of which three were later captured by German
The remaining escapee, Captain Graham Hayes MC, managed to get inland
and knocked on the door of our house here at Le Fournet.
He was taken in by the then farmer, Marcel Lemasson, whose wife fed him
and dried his clothes. Two days and nights later he was taken across the
road to the Chateau d' Asnieres en Bessin and put in the hands of Madame
De Brunville who was head of SOE (Special Operations Executive) for the
After a succession of adventures with French partisans he eventually ended
up three miles over the Spanish border ( 12 miles in he would have been
home free) but was captured having been betrayed by a double agent.
From here Captain Hayes was taken to a prison in Paris where he was eventually
shot by the Gestapo almost a year to the day after the raid. The three
Commandos killed on the beach are buried in the church yard at St Laurent
sur Mer in official war graves and there is a plaque on the sea wall at
It is here and at the church every year on the anniversary of the raid
that a service is held in memory of the men who took part.
The raid was code named ' Operation Aquatint'.