Neither did I. I knew he was a conscript NCO in Algeria during the war there, but he served in the military intelligence and I doubt he saw much if any direct action there.
In complete contrast to the professional combat regiments and the very unfortunate conscripts who served in isolated outpost along observation lines. - Poorly equipped and poorly trained these conscripts faced the very realy possibillity of being overrun - or worse; being taken prisoner...
I understand PH served most of his time in Algier.
It may also be doubtful how much fighting PH actually did in that engagement in Indochina. Please do not misunderstand I intend in no way to put him down. However, there would have been other people present, overseers, staff at the estate and possibly guards as well and a fifteen-sixteen year old untrained boy would have been of very limited use in a night fight. I think he would at best have fired a few shots in the general direction of muzzle-flashes and at what he might have percieved as moving shadows in the dark.
But someone in that fight was a good fighter, probably ex-soldiers. Because I read elsewhere that four Dead Viet Minh were left behind.
That indicates a number of things: That the attack was beaten back decisively, for them to leave their deads behind and that the fight took place at a pretty close distance, because in a time with no night fighting equipment to speak of, it would be down to blind luck if you can hit, let alone kill, anyone at distance at night. So the attack in my assessment must have penetrated at least one line of barbed wire or gone through a gate.
Summary of article in Billed Bladet #25, 2014.
Written by our woman in France, Annelise Weimann.
It was a hot forenoon, with the temperature already above 30 degrees C, when the DRF emerged from Chateau Cayx a little before 11.00.
With PH declaring: "The best present I have had is that my whole family is gathered", the members sat down to pose on two benches.
Christian held grandpapa's dachhund, Rosina, in his arms. It was a problem getting the older children to pose, but the younger ones were a little harder to keep reigned in. When Vincent wasn't playing hide and seek behind his mother, he needed a little comfort from daddy, because like the other of the youngest children he felt a little akward with all the adults who took pictures.
Josephine preferred to stay near mother, but she did give the photographers a wave in the end.
Sporting curls and brown eyes Athena also preferred to stay near mother and she too was a little whimpy.
Bette Henrik also preferred to be near mother.(*)
With eight grandchildren PH would have liked even more. He cannot compete with his sister, Maurille, however. She has more than twenty grandchildren!
But he's very much into spoiling them: "When the grandchildren visit me and their grandmother (general word) they must have something to eat which they like. Then they'll always remember the food they had with us".
Apparantly PH was celebarted the day before his actual birthday.
M&F and their children arrived a few hours before the celebration started while Joachim and our Marie were already there.
There was a buffet and entertainment with French songs all the while lots of children were milling around all over the place. And at 23.00 PH was surprised with fireworks.
The chateau was lit up with torches and as this is southern France where things can always wait, cars passing by pulled over to enjoy the fireworks.
(*) It's wellknown that bette Henrik suffers from asthma. I know little about asthma myself, but perhaps someone can help?
I presume a high temperature and probably high humidity as well affects asthma? Even despite medication?