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Destruction of the Desmarais Frères Havre stock factory

By Edmond Gunziger, Engineer E.C.P. Director of the Graville and Le Havre factories (1943)

Since May 20, 1940, the Le Havre population had been put on alert every night. As the German push from the Somme progressed, air raids intensified. During the night of June 3, a bombardment surrounded our factory which was partially destroyed. On the morning of June 9, the sky darkened, soon covering the city with a thick cloud from the refinery factories of Gonfreville-L’Orcher, where the C.F.R. had just been ordered to burn down its reserves. (June 9, 1940, 9 a.m., the C.F.R. burns its reserves). The next day, June 10, it was our turn: the Admiralty's order to destroy our stock. The execution was immediate and the firing ended in the afternoon by our teams and the English soldiers. This was followed by the exodus of Desmarais Frères staff to the assembly at the Blaye factory. As soon as possible, in July, a mission returned to Le Havre to recognize the condition of the ruins. We started to clear the rubble. We took stock of the usable remains. Various materials (sheets, irons, mainly) have already been recovered for the frame of the Bourges distillery. Plans have been made for partial reconstruction. The work is in progress.

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