Marcel Pinte died in August 1944 killed by a guerrilla weapon that was accidentally unloaded. France paid tribute to him at the Armistice Day ceremony in Aixe-sur-Vienne, near the city of Limoges.
The boy’s father was one of the leaders of the resistance and was at the head of a network he ran from a small village in Aixe-sur-Vienne.
The child acted as a liaison to take messages and letters to nearby farms.
“With his school bag in his back, he did not arouse suspicion,” says Marc Pinte, the nephew of Marcel’s father, Eugène or “Athos”.
Marcel had an extraordinary memory that amazed everyone and that’s why they entrusted him with messages to the Resistance leaders, messages that he hid under his shirt.
“He understood everything at once,” Marc Pinte told AFP, according to the BBC. He says that Marcel was happy to spend his time in the woods with the fighters called maquisards, being curious to know about the methods by which they managed to operate without being discovered.
Eugène and his wife Paule, who had five children, hosted meetings of the Resistance fighters and also hid soldiers, their activity being the most intense at night.
Alexandre Brémaud, a relative of theirs, searched for details about Marcel for years, as official documents contained information mainly about fighters and sabotage operations and too little information about those who helped him, often women and children who they risked their lives to drive out the Nazi occupation.
Brémaud told the BBC: “My grandmother described her brother as a cheerful, intelligent and bright child, always on the lookout.”
Marcel was eager to help fight Nazi Germany, so he became Agent Quinquin “or the baby. Brémaud says he played tricks on the radio operator at the other end, claiming to have swallowed the cyanide pill he had on him.
His house was “a hidden and hard-to-reach place,” so the guerrillas considered it “practical and discreet.”
However, his role did not go unrecognized by France, which in 1950 awarded him the post-mortem rank of Resistance Sergeant, and in 2013 the National Bureau for Veterans and Victims of War issued a membership card in his name. “.
He died just before the end of the war
It was a time of intensifying clandestine network activity, with the Allies gathering in Normandy in an operation that culminated in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
One night Marcel went with a group of fighters to take ammunition and other supplies launched with a parachute. They received a radio coded message: “Don’t forget it’s my favorite flower.” While waiting for transport, a weapon Sten accidentally unloaded and Marcel was hit by several bullets. His death certificate was forged so as not to compromise the unit.
British troops paid tribute to Marcel by sending black parachutes. Brémaud discovered Marcel’s story in the archives of the French army, told by a French officer. The boy’s father was already known for his role in the resistance.
Marcel was buried in August 1944 just hours after the liberation of Limoges “in the presence of numerous battalions – the coffin was covered with the French flag,” says Marc Pinte.
Eugène, his father, died in 1951 at the age of 49 and was buried near his son’s grave in Aixe-sur-Vienne.