Gabaudet farm in Lot
Gabaudet was the name of a farm located in the Lot department, a few kilometers from Reilhac, in the Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy.
Gabaudet is also the site of a massacre that occurred on June 8, 1944, two days after the D-Day landings in Normandy.
Weeks prior, the French Resistance had heard news of an impending invasion by the Allies.
Their ranks began to swell because ordinary citizens realized there was hope for the liberation of their country.
Many wanted to help any way they could.
The Gabaudet Farm stood at the crossroads of two tiny roads deep in the Gramat Causse.
This is where Madame Joutet, the widowed owner of the farm, was approached by the leaders of the FTP (a group part of the Front National – French resistance).
They needed a large secure place for their fighters in order to meet and plan further acts against the German army.
She agreed to let them use the farm.
Gabaudet farm on June 8, 1944
She and her eight children therefore welcomed them to the outbuildings of the farm as well as the farmhouse for their big meeting.
They gathered at Gabaudet on 8 June… 300 of them by conservative estimate.
Feeling safe in their remote location, security was lax.
However, they were caught by surprise at 5 pm by German panzer units rumbling up both roads approaching the farm.
Small arms were no defense against the German tanks, and they were trapped in the farmyard.
At least 35 resistance fighters were killed along with the farm animals and two of Madame Joutet’s children.
The buildings were burned to ground while survivors took to the woods, running for their lives.
The Germans took prisoner Madame Joutet and the rest of her children.
There is strong evidence that the meeting was betrayed by collaborators, a couple named Bonaventure.
They were already being held by another resistance organization on suspicion of collaboration.
They were handed over to the FTP and tried by military tribunal.
They, along with their 17-year-old daughter, were executed by the FTP in June or July very near the site of the Gabaudet massacre.
This story is well documented in World War II histories of the area.
Gabaudet farm memorial
This account can be read in far greater detail in Helen Martin’s book, “Lot:
Travels Through a Limestone Landscape in Southwest France.”
Ms. Martin was indeed able to interview a former resistance fighter, whose very open and frank account of the massacre she has recorded.
In 1945, a memorial was erected at the site.
The years have changed the landscape considerably.
What is left of the burned out stone buildings is mostly covered now with thick vines and underbrush.
The farm is still visible though, as is the lane that entered the property.
Otherwise, the only reminder of what occurred here is the stone stele with its names of the Fallen.
If you wish to visit the memorial, it is located a short way from the village of Reilhac on the D42.
There are small signs in the village pointing the way.
Coordinates and map to Gabaudet memorial: Lat 44.717869 – Long 1.745321