will_plant: (Vollard)
I was following Le Tour via the Grauniad's website. They have chained some of their writers in front of British Eurosport and are making them transcribe the action in the style of their Over-by-over cricket coverage.

It is not quite the same as the cricket and by no means has the same number of readers, but my emailed comment(s) were picked up.

Background - Today's stage of Le Tour finished in Compiegne : site of the Armistice negotiations at the end of WW1 and the signature of the surrender of France in 1940, stage managed by Hitler and using the same railway carriage as in 1918. A fact that someone had already emailed in to point out.

Now I have a strong 'memory' that Hitler then ordered the carriage burned to the ground so that it could never be re-used. I even seem to recall having seen some newsreel style footage of the burning carriage. My comment made it into the commentary:

"5.08pm The leading quartet are working well together, rotating the lead to aid each other rather than playing cat and mouse. They realise they have a realistic chance of staying clear of the peloton. "The end to that story about Hitler bringing the WW1 railway carriage and making the French sign the 1940 surrender in it, was that he then ordered it burned to the ground so that it couldn't be used again," says Will Plant."

But after i'd emailed in checked wikipedia and realised that I was wrong, although the Armistice memorial was destroyed apart from a statue of Marshal Foch (apparently so he could look out over the devastation) the railcar itself was taken back to German and destroyed much later in the war.

So I managed to get a correction in:

"5.20pm 15km to go - the gap is down to one minute and 55 seconds. The four look exhausted but they're clinging on.

"Actually having checked wikipedia it appears I was wrong," says Will Plant. Don't worry, Will. It's not the only incorrect fact that's been printed in this space today. "He had the entire armistice site trashed and nicked the railroad car, which was then destroyed later in the war. Sorry, misremembered the detail from my A-level history project from 15 years ago!""


So very weird, i was pretty sure i'd 'seen' footage of the carriage being burned? Maybe it was newsreel footage from WW1 relating to something else.

Oh and my A-level history project was about the Fall of France in 1940!

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May 2009

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