Caen-10 July 1944. Roger Duval, the child in the wheelbarrow.
Roger Duval was working with his wife Mireille, for the Courseulles municipal camp site, which gave way to the Juno Beach Centre in 2003. The closure of the camp site meant retirement time for Roger who started a part time job at the museum to ensure small maintenance and supervision from 2003 to July 2008, when Roger took his second retirement. Roger unfortunately fell ill right after and the disease took him in 2011.
Roger was jolly, clever and witty. He liked contact with people and he was good at advertising the museum when he distributed promotional brochures throughout the department of Calvados.
He was interested in the story told in the Juno Beach Centre because himself had been a child of war. His experience of the bombing of Caen had been immortalised by a very famous picture well known by the people interested in the history of the Battle of Normandy. Here is the story of this photo told by Gaston Duval, Roger’s Father:
On Friday, July 7, 1944, we found ourselves rue saint-Pierre, when we had a bombardment that lasted an hour. We stayed in the cellar under the rubble of four floors throughout this hour and when we went out everything was destroyed. We ended the night at Saint-Etienne Church, which was filled with refugees like us. On Saturday 8, we had another bombing in the morning and on Sunday 9, we left Saint-Etienne around 13 p.m.
On Monday 10, in the morning, after finding a wheelbarrow to replace the stroller that had made the soul, we took the decision to go to see what condition our house was in the North East of Caen. It is near La Porte aux Bergers that we met with English photograph reporters. Officers questioned us about the effectiveness of the bombing and offered us a photograph. We never knew who the soldier was in the picture with us. On July 16, we were sent to Bayeux and early August, I found a small booklet published by the Brits and our photo was featured on the cover.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.