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Memorial French Paratrooper

In the village of Spier, in front of the hotel, is a monument to Major Jean Salomon Simon and Sergeant Claudius Campan; two French soldiers of the Special Air Service, who died in Operation Amherst on April 11, 1945.

The bodies of Jean Salomon Simon and Claudius Campan are buried in the French honorary cemetery in Kapelle, Zeeland.

The monument has changed slightly. The stick in front of the monument is placed above the plaque and the helmet is mounted above it.

Further background
In the first days of April, a German major with personnel is billeted in café Hummel, now restaurant Schortinghuis, in Spier. They put a piece of artillery in position opposite the café along the road to Beilen. The French paratroopers ended up very scattered east of the Beilen-Spier road. They find their containers with material. From the woods they lay several ambushes in which they kill Germans and take a few prisoners of war.

In Spier, no combat actions take place at that time. The Germans leave on Wednesday, after which the French occupy the crossing of Spier. The group has grown to more than 30 paratroopers, including the commander of the 3rd Regiment Lieutenant Colonel de Bollardière.
The former mayor of Groningen, Mr. Cort van der Linden, is in hiding in Wijster. When he hears that Spier has been liberated, he goes there by bicycle. There he finds the entire staff of the 3rd French SAS Regiment. At the behest of Colonel de Bollardière, he establishes a kind of Order Service to keep curious citizens at bay.
Major Jean Salomon Simon moves into the gun position built by the Germans east of the road near café Hummel. It consists of a pit of about 4 meters with a parapet of earth. There are also Colonel de Bollardière, Sergeant Claudius François Campan and Captain Gilbert Paumier.

Around one o'clock a number of raid trucks with German Fallschirmjäger approach from the direction of Beilen. The Germans got out of the robbery cars, and then walked upright without taking any special precautions towards the positions of the French. Campan was in position with the Bren. Bollo said, "You shoot at my command. Chemin and I'll cover the Brenman." When the first Germans were 50 meters away, Bollo said, "Fire." The weapon jammed, Campan reloaded, but the Germans who had seen him struck back. A bullet hit the Bren gunner in the head, Major Simon who took over his weapon met the same fate. 8th Reconnaissance Regiment at Spier At the same time German reinforcements come out of the forest from the west. At the sight of the Canadians, the Germans quickly withdraw. The Canadians did not pursue the enemy, but quickly disposed of the wounded. French doctor Pierre Dumas has since helped Simon as best he could. The Canadians take him to a hospital in Hoogeveen where he dies the same evening. They also find the 14 bodies of the executed civilians in the forest. According to the report of the Canadians, the civilians were tortured before they were shot Other sources indicate that French paratroopers found and recovered these bodies.

Jean Salomon Simon
Major
June 5, 1908

Awards:
D.S.O (GB)
M.C. (GB)
Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Fr)
Compagnon de la Liberation (Fr)
Bronze Lion

Actions and campaigns:
Resistance work Shanghai 1941
Campaign Somalia 1943
Operation Moses - France 1944

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Claudius Campan
Sergeant
May 25, 1921

Awards:
Bronze Cross

Actions and campaigns:
Tunisia 1940 campaign
Campaign Algeria 1942
Operation Lampedussa - Italy 1943

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Source

  • Text: Eric vd Reek & Cornelis Reijntjes
  • Photos: Cornelis Reijntjes (1, 2), Dick de Bruijne (3, 4, 5)
  • Amherst, Roger Flammand