16th and 23rd September 1943, the Allies bombed by mistake, the centre of Nantes. Nearly 1500 Nantais die. Found by chance in a box, photos show the tragedy.
Jacqueline Nicod fell by chance on this photo. Wanting to do a little redecoration in their home in Besançon, rummaging through her family memories, the women from Nantes discovered these iconographic treasures.
These images taken by the father of Jacqueline Nicod, André Leray, testify to this terrible episode in the history of the city and show how the heart of Nantes, then occupied by the Germans, was devastated by the Allied bombs that were to destroy the port. September 16th was the deadliest day, with almost 900 dead.
“That day, nothing suggests an air attack large scale can target the city. When the sirens resonate at 4.35pm, to announce the danger, few Nantais respect the basic security measures enacted by the Civil Defence, as, for example, to go to the air raid shelters, reports the service of the municipal archives of Nantes. By waves, American bombers flying over the port, rail yards and Roche-Maurice. Despite anti-aircraft guns of the DCA (Defence against aircraft), they dump their bombs on the city, causing considerable human and material destruction. “
After the bombings of September 23, 1943, “there were 63 victims in the morning and 197 in the afternoon”, according to the municipal archives.
Jacqueline Nicod, who now lives in Besancon, had no knowledge of these photos. “My father was a butcher in Pallet and died in 1989. He never spoke of these pictures, which were for me a real discovery. I had never seen them “. In the Nantes region, bombs fell until August 2, 1944. “We were going to sleep in barns around … There are things that mark. “