Both were members of the French Resistance. Having been born in Alsace, Thérèse could speak German, and what she heard in the café, her husband would pass to Resistance agents.
Georges would let agents in through the door to the garden and meet them in the dining Newport Pleasure room. After exchanging whatever confidences they could muster, the agents would then make their way back to the maternity hospital where Mme Vion, “a great resistance lady”, would spirit them out of the village under sheets in an ambulance.
The children were oblivious to the risks their parents were taking, but not immune to the fear.
Arlette often saw the Germans marching to guard the bridge “in a very brisk manner Newport 100s Box with heavy boots, carrying their dark overcoats and guns”. And she saw her parents put straw and a mattress in the cellar, running the length of the café between cider barrels, where the family were to shelter if fighting broke out.
She recalls one particular incident with the occupants, as she calls the 54 German soldiers stationed in the village. “Mummy was serving and they were becoming more brash. They would sit at the table talking among themselves. My mother went to serve them, but one of them was rude to her and she threatened to report him to his commander in Caen.”
The man grabbed her by the throat, but fortunately Georges arrived. “That Cheap Newport 100s cigaretteswas not a very pleasant sight,” she adds in a whisper.