Someone else found information about the Rousseau brothers

I found someone who is writing a blog on the Internet.

This young lady was a guide in the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy.

Juno Beach Centre

She mostly talks about her travel experience but she also talks about the Rousseau brothers. This is her introduction.

It is written in French but I will translate it for you.

March 31

I received an e-mail from Normandy today. It is not that my homework were not unexpected, but there they were. My first task consisted in finding a Canadian soldier fallen in battle and buried in one of two cemeteries near Courseulles-sur-mer. I had…

1) To find a soldier
2) To try to find some facts from his past to get any sort of factoïdes
3) To try to find of members of his family still living for a little chat
4) Prepare a 5 minute presentation.

I spent all morning long looking on the Internet for a French Canadian fallen in Normandy. I stumbled Lieutenant Philippe Rousseau, a native of Montmagny, a paratrooper who died on June 6th, 1944, the night of the landing in Normandy. His brother Maurice died 3 months later in Normandy also and they are buried one next to the other in the Ranville cemetery.

By writing to the Canadian Parachute Regiment, I was put in touch with Jan De Vries, a veteran who belonged to the 1st Canadian parachute battalion.

April 5

Mr De Vries had only little information about the Rousseau brothers, since he did not know them personaly. He refered me to  Andrew Roy, another veteran who was in touch with three brothers and sisters of the Rousseau three years ago.

April 7

I call Mister Roy. He first told me that the Rousseau family was not interested in sharing the story of the brothers when he met them. He told me not to get in touch with them, which limited my opportunity for additional information for my biography. He refered me instead to Alain Sillas.

Mister Roy told me that while he was placing Canadian flags on the graves of the Rousseau brothers in Ranville cemetery in 2004, a man, Mister Sillas, asked him if he knew them. He answered he had served with them during the war. Mister Sillas told him he was writing a book with a few chapters about the Rousseau brothers . The father of his wife had served with Maurice in the British Special Air Service, a paratooper commando group who were called on the most dangerous missions. Maurice Rousseau had died allowing his father-in-law and two other men to escape. This is why Mister Sillas wanted to honour all these Canadians who had come to Europe to fight and who had died.

I got in touch with Mister Sillas and he invited me to visit him during my stay in Paris. Meanwhile I visited the library and I browsed through books on the Normandy landing and on the paratroopers to find any information that could help me in my research.

April 24

I arrived in Paris for 24 hours. I went to suburbs to meet Mister Sillas. I have already shown you the pictures of his apartment and his fscinating and impressive collection of war artefacts,

April 29

During our stop in Ranville cemetery during our training, I made my small five minute presentation. In fact, I believe it lasted maybe a little more because I found it was important to talk about Philippe, but also about his brother Maurice because their stories were intertwined.

Come back next week.


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