France’s youngest-ever resistance hero was honoured yesterday as part of the nationwide Armistice Day ceremonies in memory of those who died in World Wars I and II. Six-year-old Marcel Pinte had his name inscribed on the memorial at Aixe-sur-Vienne.
Marcel Pinte was only six years old when he was accidentally shot by friendly fire, on August 19, 1944.
A large deployment of resistance fighters arrived by parachute ahead of an expected battle around Aixe as Allied forces began to liberate France.
They were heavily armed and Marcel was hit by several bullets when a Sten sub-machine gun went off accidentally.
Known by his code name Quinquin, he is seen as a hero for carrying messages under his shirt to leaders of the resistance against Nazi occupation during World War II.
His father Eugène was already a leader in the Resistance forces, remembers Marcel’s grand-nephew Alexandre Brémaud.
"He didn’t hesitate to recruit his five children," he said.
The maquisards (resistance fighters) came to hide in the small village of Gaubertie, in Aixe-sur-Vienne from around 1941 and little Marcel, who played in the area, became a messenger.
Marcel’s name was inscribed on the war memorial of Aixe-sur-Vienne, just west of the central city of Limoges on Wednesday during France's ceremonies dedicated to world war heroes.
"People who pass by this monument to the dead will notice his name and particularly his age," said a family member, Marc Pinte.
"It's an honour. It throws a light on those who remained in the shadow but who fought for freedom."
In 1950, Marcel was posthumously awarded the rank of sergeant of the resistance.
And in 2013, he posthumously received an official card for "volunteer combatants of the Resistance" from the National Office of Former Combatants and War Victims.