Normandy June 2015 – Day#08 Sunday 7th June

Tilly, M. Filoche and Jublains

Another hot day dawned. We had seen a weather forecast for this week before leaving England that had been bad. So, we had been exceptionally lucky to have had, largely, sunny hot days. However, the heat might make the journey to see M. Filoche, and the Roman ruins at Jublains, a little uncomfortable.

North, south or both

As mentioned, today we were heading south to visit M Michel Filoche. He owned the farm where Flt Lt John Harder had crashed his Spitfire. However, before heading south we went north. Today was also the day of the Annual Tilly Book Fair, or “Salon du Livre de la Battaille de Normandie”. We decided to start the day there for two reasons. Firstly our friend Stéphane Jacquet organises it. Secondly, its purpose is to raise awareness of, and funds for, the museum at Tilly sur Seulles.

At the Salon du Livre – Tilly sur Seulles

Despite the relatively early hour the book fair was fairly busy. There were the usual array of stalls largely selling books on the second world war. I never cease to be amazed at the huge range of titles that continue to be written & the level of research that goes into them.  Needless to say, I purchased one – Stéphane’s latest, part one of a two-volume book on Operation BLUECOAT. The first volume covers the activities of XXX Corps; his next one will feature VIII Corps. Muir Findlay has written the forward to it following an introduction to Stéphane from me two years ago.

Had I the spare funds, there were lots of books I’d have willingly purchased. There were some absolute gems. Especially as they don’t seem to cost as much in Euros!

We saw the 12th SS veteran we had met on 5th June there signing books. I am not sure whether he’d written the book, or it was just that it was about the 12th SS Panzer Division. We also met up again with Eain & Muir Findlay for a brief chat, and just as we were leaving, Mary & Jack Treadgold arrived!

Anyway, having a two hour journey ahead of ourselves, we decided that it was about time to make tracks south

At Chez Filoche

Michel hadn’t been able to attend the 70th Celebrations last year, so we decided to drive down and see him.

When we arrived, we found that he’d arranged for some of his family to join us.  Also there was Gilbert Lechat, a local journalist, and his wife Danielle who did a fantastic job of translating.

Following the occasional glass of cider, and a photo-shoot, Michel took us to see the harvest of crayfish that he was collecting in his two fishing lakes.


Then, unfortunately, it was time to leave with a promise to return.  Michel has offered to let us dig up the field where John Harder’s Spitfire crashed to see if we can find any more. However I’m not sure whether that was merely to save him the job of ploughing the land as we had to wait until after the harvest!!


Heading back, we stopped for a look around the Roman ruins at Jublains. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to visit the baths or amphitheatre, but we did have a look around the Temple on the outskirts of the village. Having checked this out since returning home, it’s a far larger layout than we thought, so I suspect that we will return.

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