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History of Campsite

Bignac and World War 2

 

The Charente had many pockets of Resistance who came together to liberate Angouleme. Bignac, although surrounded by Nazi camps had its own Resistance group based in buildings in the village. Camping Marco owned then by Henri Duchais, was just a field, although a very special field, used for something far more exciting than camping.

 

In June 1944 and for several months after, it became the focus for parachute jumps after attempts in a field close by almost resulted in disaster when the enemy heard that a shepherdess had discovered packages that would have resulted in certain deaths. Although this field was smaller it provided more security from discovery, and so the “Maquis de Bignac” grew. “THIS WINE IS TOO WET” was the eagerly awaited message for the next parachute drop which contained goods to help the Resistance groups and the firemen in Angouleme. This would be carried in carts covered in cloth with muffled wheels to the Mill at “Les Moulins” but always on the move to avoid discovery.

 

On the 3rd September 1944 came the final parachute drop in Bignac, announced by “A FRIEND WILL DROP BY THIS EVENING”. Just down the road from the campsite is a small memorial to the parachutists. The owner of the field was decorated by the British for his bravery and his leadership and for saving 20 Bignac villagers who were lined up in front of a firing squad. Hence the name of the road “Chemin de la Résistance”.

 

After the war the field was excavated as a quarry and was found to be the source of a finest quality gravel and sand, the best for miles around, which was transported to Angouleme and used be rebuild the many damaged areas of the town. At some point the workers hit 3 natural springs and rather than stop the quarry filling up with water, it was left to form the lake. A mutual society bought it and added fish for its many members countrywide. It became so popular that a campsite was added, the rest is history………

 

A few hundred metres from the entrance to the campsite is the memorial stone erected by the village of Bignac to remember the local Resistance activists and the support given by the British Armed Forces.  They also hold a small service of commemoration every year on August 27th to which everyone is invited.

 

You can also visit a beautiful memorial to the Resistance in Chasseneuil, a 30 minute drive away, and a museum in Angouleme dedicated to the Resistance movement.