Women in the French Army 1939/40.

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tigre
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Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 19 Jul 2019 03:00

Hello to all :D; a little doubt...................

A women corps/unit in 1939/40.

AFAIK there was no women’s section in the French Army of 1939-40. However, several hundred women served as civilian volunteers in auxiliary ambulance sections, attached to the Army in the field. Is this the case? And what about the General?

Sources: Illustrierter Beobachter / Folge 2 Donnerstag, 11. Januar 1940, 15.Jahrgang
https://easternfront1941to45.wordpress. ... -services/

Trying to solve this. TIA. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Loïc
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by Loïc » 19 Jul 2019 13:19

hello

there were several Auxiliary Sanitary Automobile Sections manned by French and foreign female volunteers drivers rattached administravely to the 19e Train of Paris, there were also in the Interior many regional Automobile Sanitary Sections where the male drivers were replaced by female drivers
https://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033

concerning this last picture it is a well known picture of the Sanitary Section for Finland gathered to receive his pennant from Général Weygand, some drivers of this Section were the only small part of the French Expeditionnary Corps to Finland who reach the country and was followed by the mixed Ambulance France Finlande also with some military men

Image
Image
Image
French with Finnish origin lieutenante Henriette Mendelssohn receiving the Cross of Liberty at the Embassy of Finland in Paris in april 1940

French in Finland
viewtopic.php?t=211476

Below 11th may 1940 not yet with the French female drivers, a ceremony for the 20 Matford ambulances offered by ARGENTINA to France who will equip the newly-raised female 5401st Section the 20th may
the Section Auxiliaire de Transport Sanitaire 5401/19 "France-Argentine" from volunteers of Union des Femmes de France (one of the three branches of French Red Cross)
Mr. Martinez de Hoz in the name of the Comité Pro Francia of Buenos Aires and the Argentinian Committee in France to help the victims of the war solemnly handed 20 ambulances to Mr. Marcel Héraud Minister of Health Public representing the French government.

M. de Cascado Ambassador of Argentina to Paris, General Gouraud, General Herbillon and many personalities attended this ceremony

Monseigneur Beaussart, Vicaire Capitulaire blessed the cars and then Mr. Martinez de Hoz delivered a speech in which he reaffirmed the will of Argentina to remain faithful to the ideal of Latin civilization:
"In the hours of trial that the whole of humanity is undergoing, threatened with frightful servitude, our cause is the same, there is no neutrality for free consciences, they have all done their duty"
Mr. Marcel Héraud responded by expressing the gratitude of the French government, the 20 medical automobiles then marched to the accents of a military march.

Image
the 5401st Section operated in june 1940 around Normandy and western France

Saludos, y entonces gracias por la solidaridad fraternal Latina a La Argentina
Loïc

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tigre
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 19 Jul 2019 19:25

Thanks Loïc for your clear and full answer :wink:. Also many thanks for shedding light about that fine act of help related with my country. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 07 Sep 2019 14:59

Hello to all :D; a little more..................

The Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections (SSA) 1940.

Birth of the SSA. Transportation of the wounded.

On September 19, 1939, two weeks after the declaration of war, Edouard Daladier, Minister of National Defense and War, also took over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Created, to assist him in each of these functions, two undersecretaries of State, one in Quai d'Orsay, under the responsibility of Mr. Champetier de Ribes, and the other, in rue Saint-Dominique, entrusted to Hippolyte Ducos, for whom the reorganization of the Military Health Service is particularly important.

The importance given to the transport of the wounded comes from the memory of "catastrophies as distressing as those of 1914," he added, that tormented minds on the eve of a new conflict. In the line of fire, relief of the injured is provided by light means to the Regimental Aid Station (SRP). After first aid, the wounded are taken to the Divisional Emergency Station (DSS) in light sanitary vehicles of the motorized sanitary section of the division. The most serious and urgent are immediately driven by the automobile health sections to the ambulance group of the corps (GACA) to be operated (light surgical ambulance), while the others, whose urgency seems less, will be treated at the primary evacuation hospital ( HOE1). Therefore, the established system is based on the cornerstone of the transport capacity of the wounded.

Therefore, "it was essential to immediately and quickly transport the injured to a more or less long distance. (...) Wherever there were roads, good or bad, it was motor vehicles that should be used. For them, the Health Service has raised the most distressing problem of this war: insufficient stocks in army parks at the time of mobilization, setbacks caused by requisitions, tremendous difficulties encountered with builders, overwhelmed by orders of all kinds and beset by often irreconcilable orders have sometimes led us into despair to reach the goal. However, we have succeeded completely. Unfortunately, the manufacturing plan was delayed. The army had only 1,900 of these vehicles, 1,500 light and 400 heavy. But we had planned 5,000: 2,500 for each of the two categories "

In addition, these needs were increased in the early 1940. "To equip the 248 automobile sanitary sections planned for the armies by the mobilization plan (plus 25 sections inland), 7,000 sanitary vehicles, of which 6,075 are for the Armed Forces , were necessary for April 1, 1940. In the mobilization, the Military Health Service has only 2,788 sanitary vehicles (2,283 for the Armed Forces). "

The manufacturing plan prepared on December 1, 1939 already provided for the construction of 1,375 sanitary vehicles per month: 500 light (including 300 Renault AFB and 200 Chenard) and 875 heavy (125 Delahaye 140 and 750 Renault AGC3). It is reinforced at the end of December by the monthly production of more than 400 sanitary units by Citroën, which allows to reach 6,607 sanitary units (3,299 light and 3,308 heavy) on April 30, 1940.

Sources: Jean-Jacques Monsuez, "Les sections sanitaires automobiles féminines", Revue historique des armées [En ligne], 247 | 2007, mis en ligne le 23 juillet 2008, I consulted 19 juillet 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033
https://myntransportblog.files.wordpres ... .jpg?w=840

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 14 Sep 2019 14:16

Hello to all :D; a little more..................

The Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections (SSA) 1940.

The donation.

If during the First World War, many women volunteered for the role of nurses, the enactment of the Boncour law on July 11, 1938, which provides "the voluntary commitment and incorporation of women under the armies", modifies the prospects for action to which they can participate in the declaration of war against Germany in September 1939. Among them, the French Red Cross proposes the evacuation of the wounded from the front. to compensate for the lack of personnel available for the Health Service. "Can't men be replaced by nurses in ambulances? Isn't that their place? However, who has not understood that men soon become weird in the particular circumstances of the war?"

The French Red Cross, constituted at that time by three autonomous associations, each of which has legal personality, can acquire property, collect donations and legacies:

-The Society for the Relief of Wounded Soldiers (SSBM), founded on May 22, 1864 and recognized on the same day as the French National Committee of the Red Cross, became in 1870 the Society for the relief of wounded soldiers of the armies of Earth and Sea;
-The Ladies Association of France (ADF), founded in 1879 by Dr. Duchaussoy;
-The Women's Union of France (UFF), born from the previous one in 1881.

At the end of 1939, the SSBM proposed to the French government "the provision of French army personnel services and the use of automobile equipment, within the framework of donations", whose rules were codified by decree-Law of January 31, 1940 "On the acceptance of gifts made to the State for the needs of the Military Health Service, and in particular Articles 6 and 14".

On February 17, 1940, Hippolyte Ducos signed the decree on "acceptance of donations consisting of personnel services and use of equipment offered to the State by the Charitable Women's Automobile Sections (SSBM), for the needs of the Military Health Service ( ...) These sections are attached to the train depot of Train No. 19. They are made available to the Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces, or to the General Commanders-in-Chief of the theaters of operations located outside France, or directly of the Ministry of War. "

The director of the Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections, which is located at the SSBM, 19 rue François 1st in Paris 12, is insured by Countess Roussy de Sales, president (as a senior nurse, member of the Central Ladies Council of the SSBM). ), Miss Nicolle, Chief 13, Countess of Tocqueville (Deputy Chief), a six-member team (Baroness H. La Caze, Madame de Peyrimhoff de Fontenelle, Ms. Paul Reynaud, Ms. Colette Schwob [de Lure], Ms. Hélène Terré, Viscount of Villiers de la Noue), staff members (Countess Gaston de La Rochefoucauld, Mrs. Peretti de La Rocca, Mrs. Schreiber-Cremieux) and honorary members (Mrs. Jacques Lebon, Countess of Maublanc, Princess Jerome Murat , Viscount Noailles, Mrs. Trefusis).

The 1st Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections was formed shortly thereafter, on April 16, 1940, in Train No. 19 (Section 5 202/19), to which it was attached. Its composition is defined by the instructions of April 16, 1940. It includes French and foreign personnel subject to donations (a French officer, a section chief, a deputy section chief and thirty-eight female drivers) and personnel provided by the army (a sergeant, a brigadier and three drivers). The former are in charge of the liaison vehicle and the twenty sanitary vehicles of the donation, the latter: the liaison vehicle, the van and the kitchen truck provided by the army.

Sources: Jean-Jacques Monsuez, "Les sections sanitaires automobiles féminines", Revue historique des armées [En ligne], 247 | 2007, mis en ligne le 23 juillet 2008, I consulted 19 juillet 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033
https://www.ebay.it/itm/WWII-M-DE-LILLE ... Sw9idaE2Vb

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 15 Sep 2019 11:57

Hi Raul,
Since 1934 there was also the IPSA (infirmières pilotes d'aviation sanitaire)
The Ipsa was created in 1934 by three women:
Françoise Schneider,
la Marquise de Noailles
and Lilia de Vendeuvre
I think that the IPSA belongs to the French Red Cross but after that the IPSA was belonging to the Armée de l'Air (I think so but I am not sure at all)
Here below a pic dated from the 18th of august 1946.
image007.jpg
Germaine L’HERBIER-MONTAGNON is awarded by General JUIN of the French Légion d'Honneur

Kindly regards
Prosper :wink: :wink:
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Loïc
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by Loïc » 15 Sep 2019 13:24

The IPSA Infirmières Pilotes (et) Secouristes de l'Air gathered Air activities of the three branches of the French ✚ Red Cross ✚ in 1939-1940, the Red Cross didn't belong to the French Army but supported the War effort of course due to its activities, in particular by Red Cross nurses and Auxiliary Hospitals

from what I have read they counted around 300 to 500 rescuers and 30 to 45 pilots and I doubt they served a lot like that in 1939-1940 if not in the Sanitary Trains, moral support etc...

the own Sanitary Aviation of the Armée de l'Air in 1940 was totally deficient from the first to the last day of campaign according to conclusions from the Aide-Major Général of Service de Santé adding lapidary the Sanitary Aviation had no history for the campaign of 1914-1918 and we can't affirm it has one for 1939-1940...

Image

Regards
Loïc
Last edited by Loïc on 15 Sep 2019 13:47, edited 1 time in total.

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tigre
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 15 Sep 2019 13:43

Hello to all :D; interesting indeed, thanks Prosper and Loïc for those complements :wink:. Feel free to improve the thread. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 15 Sep 2019 17:28

Yes indeed Loïc and that's the reason, i wrote:
IPSA was belonging to the Armée de l'Air (I think so but I am not sure at all)
Regards
Prosper :wink: :wink:

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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 21 Sep 2019 13:50

Hello to all :D; a little more..................

The Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections (SSA) 1940.

The SSA in operations.

If the mere reading of the composition of the general staff of the women's sanitary section immediately evokes the charitable tradition (works and Red Cross) of the great French nobility, social membership (less marked) and motivations of the first volunteers who serve as drivers can also be analyzed from the commitment documents that are stored in the train archives (sanitary). The majority of them, French (85%) or foreigners residing in France (around 15%) submitted their application in February 1940 and signed their commitment two months later.

Among the first thirty volunteers assigned to "section A" (which will soon be number 5 202/19), there is a large majority of women whose domicile reflects social welfare. Parisian women predominate (20/30). The average age of the volunteers (32.46 ± 7.85 years) and the high proportion of married women (54%) confirm that we have more to do with specific individuals with determination rather than with "passionaries": five are only under 25, seven are 25 to 29 years, thirteen are from 30 to 39 and five are from 40 to 48. All volunteers on this list have no professional occupation, with the exception of Lise Garaud, 29, a teacher at Mac Mahon, Algeria.

The same findings can be made from the commitment lists of the other two sections in April 1940. In the end, these first volunteers listed in the SSA in their creation come from a rather privileged social environment, where links with the military tradition, State service, clergy, nobility, probably explain their motivations, following a pattern similar to that observed for nursing volunteers.

Shortly before the start of the German offensive, the three sections of women's sanitary automobile are on the move. If the beginning of its operations remains fairly well documented until June 1, the archives become rarer beyond, until the dissolution reports that follow the armistice. In addition to this, there are the activity reports of the other units of French women, namely the women's automobile sanitary section "France-Argentina", the automobile sanitary sections of the SSBM front and the auxiliary sections of health transport (SATS), and the female motorized section 25.

Initially assigned to medical transport from secondary evacuation hospitals, the ambulances of these women's sanitary sections were gradually found, during the campaign of France and its successive development, exposed to the movements of the first lines.

Sources: Jean-Jacques Monsuez, "Les sections sanitaires automobiles féminines", Revue historique des armées [En ligne], 247 | 2007, mis en ligne le 23 juillet 2008, I consulted 19 juillet 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 28 Sep 2019 14:23

Hello to all :D; a little more..................

The Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections (SSA) 1940.

The SSA in operations.

On April 30, 1940, section 5 202/19 left Fontenoy district at 06:30 hours. with its twenty-five vehicles (twenty ambulances) for the Bar-le-Duc secondary evacuation hospital (HOE2), who arrived during dusk.

Since the German offensive on May 10, the rhythm of the convoys of the wounded has accelerated, as evidenced by the report of operations of the section under Lieutenant Dreyfus to the direction of the train on May 29. "The service has been distributed since the beginning of the active war period between section 5 202/19 and a section of the Cie 985/23, each section has eight-hour shifts. Transportation is important as, In addition to the evacuations by land, the front formations send to the HOE on average 2 to 3 sanitary trains of 300 wounded every 24 hours, trains that are completed or recharged before leaving inland.This work translates into a daily trip average of 40 to 50 km per ambulance. The importance of these transports requires considerable effort on the part of the women drivers. "The team is also subjected to more severe tests, but it gives satisfaction, according to the section chief:" the lightweight Renault sanitary vehicles marches satisfactorily; however, they can be criticized for their relatively high fuel consumption (20 liters for a transport capacity of 3 berths) and, secondly, for the difficulty Access to the various organs for maintenance or disarmament; This access difficulty is particularly sensitive with respect to Telecamit lubricators. "

It also analyzes the behavior of its members with the attention demanded by the partially experimental nature of this female training: "The drivers show considerable dedication, rolling day or night with a smile, as noted by the HOE chief doctor in a paragraph Congratulations on May 23. His physical resistance was a surprise to me: the service is divided equally between the women's section and a section of the 985th Company of the 23rd Train; and the female drivers retain their jobs in conditions as tiring as their male counterparts. The Assistant Chief of Section shows zeal and authority. "

In fact, the maintenance and repairs of sanitary vehicles are not kept at the pace required by them, which leads the head of the SSA, Mrs. Edmée Nicolle, at the request of Miss Schwob, to request train assistance from the 4th Department (Captain Gosselin) on May 29: "I especially point out," she says, "that the maintenance of the vehicles leaves much to be desired and so far nothing has been done to remedy this state of affairs." Our team, as you know, is new; It is unfortunate that the five men who are part of this section cannot do all that is necessary in terms of repairs and reconditioning of cars. "

The feminine formation then retreats, continuing the medical evacuations step by step. If the archives lose their activity in June, they know the same pace and the same dangers as the other units. In addition to non-targeted bombings, vehicles are usually machine-gunned on purpose by German aviators. The numbers are complemented by the news entered at the end of May, and the section participates in the transport of wounded during the last days of fighting in the Loire. Then it retires with their thirty-eight female drivers, to the southeast, and we find the trail in the archives, on July 18, in Chazal, near Pau.

Sources: Jean-Jacques Monsuez, "Les sections sanitaires automobiles féminines", Revue historique des armées [En ligne], 247 | 2007, mis en ligne le 23 juillet 2008, I consulted 19 juillet 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 05 Oct 2019 15:51

Hello to all :D; a little more..................

The Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections (SSA) 1940.

The SSA in operations.

The second section (5 203/19), made available to the commanding general of the 3rd Army, left for Metz on May 7 and settled there the following days in a more confusing situation than its counterpart in Bar-le-Duc. The twenty-seven volunteers in the section, supervised by Lieutenant Roques and his assistant, Miss Margaret Ford, withdrew during the June debacle, losing six ambulances, trucks and liaison cars in the section. When they arrived in Bagnols-les-Bains (Lozère), the formation, which is very well tested, now only has fourteen sanitary vehicles and the morale of the drivers is deteriorating.

On July 7, Lieutenant Roques wrote to Captain Derutin, in the sub-direction of the train in Montauban: "The order of movement of my section to Chateauroux comes from the EMA. The 11th Region could not provide the necessary gasoline, the Service Directorate of Health of the 3rd Army requested platforms for the transport of the vehicles by rail, and in the latest news, refugees would be transported by my section so that gasoline is guaranteed (*).

I think I need to draw your attention to the following points:

The vehicles I have here have not been seriously checked since Metz's departure, due to lack of maintenance workshops and especially spare parts. The return to service without review would present risks, especially with the refugee overload; from the armistice, reigns a spirit of lassitude in my conductors that is manifested by the resignation requests and two have already left, including one without leaving an address. Despite the measures taken, even to the custody of the village, I fear that other leaving, the lack of planned sanctions left me unarmed before them; Without going against the intentions of the SSBM, I think it would be wise at this time to dissolve the section or merge it with another. "

(*) Upon reaching Chateauroux, the section ran out of gas on July 12.

Sources: Jean-Jacques Monsuez, "Les sections sanitaires automobiles féminines", Revue historique des armées [En ligne], 247 | 2007, mis en ligne le 23 juillet 2008, I consulted 19 juillet 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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tigre
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 12 Oct 2019 11:32

Hello to all :D; a little more..................

The Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections (SSA) 1940.

The SSA in operations.

A third fraction of the SSA, half-section 5 201/19, commanded by Lieutenant Jean Henrion, has only ten sanitary vehicles and twelve female drivers. It was taken to the Levant in late April 1940 by Mrs. Reynaud, who pledged to it. The plan to assign one of the sections to the Levant dates from the meeting in the EMA (Etat-Major Général de l'Armée) on December 29, 1939, of General Colson with Mrs. Reynaud and Miss Nicolle, who retakes the terms by letter the next day: "I thank you for the welcome you kindly reserved for Mrs. Reynaud and me during our visit yesterday. I come to confirm that at the end of January we will have a half section of light sanitary vehicles for Syria. "

Surprisingly, the administrative obstacles between the train and the (reluctant) Health Service continued until April. The acts of commitment of the drivers and Mrs. Reynaud are signed only on April 10 and are transmitted on the 25th to the direction of the train, the day before their departure by train to Marseille, from where the drivers, material and Sanitary vehicles were sent to Beirut.

On May 23, the situation had not yet been clarified. "We are still in Beirut," Lieutenant Henrion writes in the mail that Mrs. Reynaud reports to the direction of the train upon his return to Paris on May 30, "but we leave tomorrow, some of the drivers go to Aleppo, others to Tripoli, but soon they will join us in Aleppo (...). Female drivers works with courage and in a satisfactory way (...) On the side of the vehicles, we managed to overcome the difficulties we encountered at the beginning. I notice that Renault's work is not serious, and that we spend our time making revisions because there were some construction errors. To report a damaged connecting rod due to a driver error. The repair will be done here. "

Finally, on May 24, the half section was well distributed, following the instructions of General Corbel, director of the Health Service of the theater of operations of the Eastern Mediterranean, between the Aleppo and Tripoli hospitals. In September, the formation, still in service, was assigned to the El Mina military base in Syria. His repatriation, requested since September 8 at the Ministry of War in Vichy by Miss Simone Bart, who writes from Châteauroux, where the SSA is stationed, will finally take place at the end of January 1941.

Sources: Jean-Jacques Monsuez, "Les sections sanitaires automobiles féminines", Revue historique des armées [En ligne], 247 | 2007, mis en ligne le 23 juillet 2008, I consulted 19 juillet 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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tigre
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Re: Women in the French Army 1939/40.

Post by tigre » 19 Oct 2019 12:32

Hello to all :D; a little more..................

The Women's Sanitary Automobile Sections (SSA) 1940.

In the frontline.

The Women's Union of France (UFF), second component of the French Red Cross, also managed to establish, on May 20, 1940, thanks to the material (20 Matford sanitary vehicles) offered by the Argentine Committee in France, a sanitary automobile section whose troops were women. The recruitment of this auxiliary section of sanitary transport (SATS No. 5 401/19) "was carried out in Paris, in the eight days prior to its departure and, consequently, without choice or preparation," comments Ms. Ebba Champetier de Ribes, who, with the rank of lieutenant, was entrusted with the responsibility of the section. "Since the number of recruits was insufficient (25 instead of 40), the 20 ambulances worked most of the time with an unaccompanied driver. Under Lieutenant Bernardini, assisted by Second Lieutenant Geneviève Chevalier, the section won Evreux on May 29, where it was made available to HOE2 No. 7. "I went to HOE2; a lovely house, we stayed in the premises of a castle with a train company »

From May 30 to June 6, a brief training session could be held, along with the running of the vehicles. Then, the section ensures the transport of the wounded that arrive from the health trains to the field hospitals (advanced), in increasingly difficult conditions the following days, due to the bombings in Evreux.

"The railroad is cut. All ambulances operate late at night (...). On 09, it is ordered that the health service be removed to Verneuil sur Avre (...). Traffic is made very difficult by the rubble of the houses and the craters of the grenades (...). The evacuation was not interrupted by the frequent bombings that were especially hard that day (...). When arriving at Verneuil at two in the morning, the drivers resume evacuations of the wounded at Le Mans at four in the morning.The section at that time evacuated for three days and two nights, with only two hours of rest.The resupply was almost nil.The distance traveled by each driver was 4 to 600 km per day. They also treated the injured, helped with loading and unloading in hospitals, where the staff had often been evacuated. They were often forced to act as stretcher-bearers of the injured, collected on the roads. Evacuations from Verneuil to Le Mans continue for two days, ambulances work both at night and during the day. "

The same rhythm continues during the retreat to Poitiers, on June 14, despite the constant bombing. On June 21, they redoubled "as the Germans approached." Twelve ambulances work. Slight nervousness in the section. All women are ready to fight, but none wants to be a prisoner. We received the order to stay in Poitiers! The section remains as prisoners in Poitiers until June 28, the day our ambulances return to Paris, supervised by the Germans and in charge of medical staff. Upon arriving in Paris, the section was demobilized and the ambulances recovered by the Red Cross".

Sources: Jean-Jacques Monsuez, "Les sections sanitaires automobiles féminines", Revue historique des armées [En ligne], 247 | 2007, mis en ligne le 23 juillet 2008, I consulted 19 juillet 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rha/2033

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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