Liberation of Rouen 1

  • Theme - WW1, WW2 & Military
  • Year - 1944
  • Location - Rouen
  • Filmmaker - André Danet


A valuable account of the liberation of Rouen following the German retreat.

August 1944. Rare images of historic events. Upon the retreat of the Germans, in the rain, in a full rout, we see trucks slowly leaving Petit-Quevilly, near Rouen, following the last sporadic bombings, with black smoke clouding the sky and people running for the shelters.

9th June 1940 : French engineers blew up the Rouen bridges in order to delay the German advance. Two temporary bridges were built during the war, then bombed in August 1944.

30th May-4th June 1944 : the "semaine rouge" or “Red Week” (daily bombings by the Allies) add to the devastation in Rouen and the surrounding areas. The cathedral’s Saint-Romain tower burned, along with many streets. Firefighters, emergency workers and others work to free those buried, since the shelters themselves did not hold up, or were flooded with water.

25th August 1944 : destruction, by Allied bombs, of the Von Kluge army, which retreated from Lower Normandy and found themselves stuck on the docks to the left of Rouen (the city’s two temporary bridges having been blown up during the allied bombings).

* 30th August 1944 : Rouen is liberated by the Canadians. Since June 1940, 9,500 Rouen homes have been destroyed. The Canadian Army, supported by the Americans since November, attack the ruins with bulldozers, a vehicle new and fascinating for locals. Immediately, a temporary metallic bridge, “Bailey”, is installed between the two banks of the Seine, since it is all the more important that Rouen is transformed into the 11th allied port, transporting men and supplies.

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