Any runners who live in the 13th arrondissement of Paris will no doubt have done countless laps of the Parc Montsouris. The park lies a few hundred metres up a steep slope from where I’ve spent the summer at rue de la Glacière. Runners doing laps will have passed many times this small monument to a man called Pierre Durand. Durand died 70 years ago today on 26 August 1944. Having seen the stone so many times I felt I had to do a quick internet search to discover what happened to him – after all, Paris had been liberated from the Germans the day before Durand died.
According to this website about the Liberation of Paris sections of Durand’s third colonial artillery regiment (3 RCA) (part of the French second armoured division) were camped in the Parc Montsouris in late August 1944. Despite the fact that General de Gaulle had announced the liberation of the city at the Hotel de Ville the previous day, on the night of 26 August German bombers returned to pound the city. Several districts were hit, as well as some outlying suburban areas. Durand was apparently the victim of one of the last German air raids over Paris.