Bernard A. Drew | Our Berkshires: A poignant centennial in France

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GREAT BARRINGTON — The internet is an enormous asset to local history research. But sometimes there's no substitute for old-fashioned snail mail. I'm writing a new history of Notchview Reservation in Windsor, where I grew up. It was once the Helen G. and Arthur D. Budd estate.

Budd was a career Army man, serving for three decades following his West Point graduation then returning for reserve duty during World War II. He received a Distinguished Service Cross for action near Grand Pr in France during World War I. He then led American forces in liberating a small town called Tannay.

To learn more, I wrote to Philippe Nolot, le maire de la commune [town] de Tannay, D partment de la Ni vre, France, in June, to inquire about the status of a war memorial statue and Budd commemorative there.

The mayor responded: "I think there is confusion with the commune concerned because this person is not known on Tannay in the department [county] of Ni vre. Perhaps you should ask the commune of TANNAY which is located in the department of Ardennes in the North of France, it is perhaps more likely that this story concerns them."

Pardonnez moi.

I then wrote Bruno Valet, le maire de la commune de Tannay, D partment de Ardennes, in July. This Tannay is near the Belgian border. The village is 5.4 square miles in area. Windsor's Notchview Reservation — the old Budd estate — is nearly as large, 4.9 square miles in area.

LEEWAY OF INVASIONS

In August, a package showed up in my mail box. It included a two-page letter, an array of annotated photos and a copy of G rald Dardart's hardcover book, "Histoire et Patrimoine de Tannay et des village voisins (2014)" — the first local history I've read that begins in 476 A.D. — the fall of the Roman Empire!

Tannay lost 10 soldiers and two civilians during the first world war. Today its population is 159.

"Tannay is on the leeway of invasions and it had suffered many times, during many conflicts, 1870, 1914-1918 1940-45," Mayor Valet wrote.

"In 1940, from the 14th to 24th of May, Tannay, destroyed and ruined at 90 percent, has been the place where the French army resist during one week to the military invasion of German troops. The civil register and public records have been totally destroyed for ever.

"Here is what we can tell for the biography of Lt Col Arthur Dryhurst Budd:

"On November 5th 1918 at 10 o'clock, the first American soldiers of the 311th regiment, Col A.D. Budd, arrived in Tannay by the `Chemin de la messe' (`road of the mass'). They were coming from the neighbouring village, `Les petites Armoises,' then arrived the 150th infantry regiment of general [Joseph Jean-Baptiste] Laignelot, by the main road RN (National Road) 77. The allied troops crossed the village on november 7th."

The town was freed of the occupying German troops. Joyous villagers wanted a lasting, physical reminder.

Three years later, the mayor continued, "On 1921, the 17th of July, during the inaugural ceremony of the war memorial of Tannay, Jules Courtheoux, member of the parliament, pay tribute to US Lt Colonel Arthur Budd. The same day, the former `rue Saint Martin,' part of the `chemin de la messe,' from where the Lt Col Budd and his soldiers arrived in November 1918, has been renamed `Col Budd street.'"

Budd attended the ceremony. The crowd cheered him.

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More years passed.

"So, the 29th of July 1937, both, Jules Courtehoux, m.p. of Vouziers and mayor of Tannay, and Lucien Hubert, member of French senate, and president of the council of Ardennes, have welcomed Lt Colonel Arthur Budd, liberator of Tannay."

I had only found mention of Budd's third visit in a French newspapers; American periodicals didn't notice.

After 100 years had passed, Valet related, "On November 5th 2018, Tannay `relais de la victoire' (Tannay stepping stone of the victory), under the patronage of `Association du souvenir aux morts des arm es de Champagne' (`association for the memory of the fallen soldiers of Champagne armies'), has commemorated the centennial of the Liberation (especially the 311th regiment US, 78th D. US and French 150th RI).

The centennial celebration in November 2018 included an exhibit and a ceremony at the Monument aux Morts. A special aspect was the arrival, at the 11th hour, of a French and American color guard in the company of "la Flamme du Souvenir," a lantern lit and carried from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

ANNUAL CEREMONY

The Dardart book contains eight pages devoted to the liberation of Tannay and the Budd memorial, with the colonel liberally pictured.

Valet continued, "The bronze plaque dedicated to Col Budd, has been saved from the 1940 disaster, and placed in the town hall where it is still today."

"On the left side of the war memorial, an inscription recalls the liberation of Tannay by the allied and French troops."

"Every year, each November 11th the mayor of Tannay and the inhabitants take part in a small ceremony at the war memorial of Tannay."

There will be another commemoration this Armistice Day.

Tannaysiens remember.

Merci, M. Valet et Les Amis de l'Histoire de Tannay.

Bernard A. Drew is a regular Eagle contributor.

There is no photo credit

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In this postcard scene, Lt. Col. A.D. Budd, longtime Windsor resident, in 1921 was honored by townspeople in the village of Tannay, France, who were grateful to be liberated by American soldiers. A street is named for him there.


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