Murder at the Abbaye

Overview

A detailed account of 20 young Canadian soldiers taken prisoner during the battle for Normandy and murdered in cold blood by German SS troops.

Major (later Colonel) Ian J. Campbell of the Canadian Army was serving in Europe and visited Abbaye d’Ardenne in 1980. Noting that there was no tourist literature about the men who had fallen there or the circumstances around the event, Major Campbell undertook to do some research and prepare a small pamphlet, and also to try to arrange for a bronze plaque to mark the historic site. Working with Dr. Bennett and M. Jacques Vico, they decided that a monument might be built using some original stones from the Abbaye recovered and discarded during recent archaeological work at the site so that the monument would be consistent in style with the architecture of the Abbaye. It was proposed to build it on the Vico property right in the park where the murders had taken place. In 1984, Colonel Campbell had a bronze memorial tablet cast in Vancouver and delivered to France for mounting on the monument built by master craftsmen Leon Garnier and Jean Mesnil. Costs were defrayed by donations from Veterans, serving members, relatives and supporters of the project. The monument was unveiled on the Fortieth Anniversary of D-Day, 6 June 1984, by The Hon W. Bennett-Campbell, Minister of Veterans Affairs. The inscription reads:

On the night of June 7/8, 1944, 18 Canadian soldiers were murdered in this garden while being held here as prisoners of war. Two more prisoners died here or nearby on June 17. They are dead but not forgotten.

About the Author

Ian J. Campbell

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Ian J. Campbell

Major (later Colonel) Ian J. Campbell of the Canadian Army was serving in Europe and visited Abbaye d'Ardenne in 1980. Noting that there was no tourist literature about the men who had fallen there or the circumstances around the event, Campbell was instrumental in documenting this story. In 1984, Colonel Campbell had a bronze memorial tablet cast in Vancouver and delivered to France for mounting on the monument in Abbaye d'Ardenne.