Wait, my dad was trained at Fontainebleau? In France? My dad, like many others, never talked about his time in World War II. It wasn't until I typed my dad's autobiography that I learned he spent time at Fontainebleau, France. Even in his autobiography he doesn't say much about it. I would have loved to have learned more about his time there. I don't think my dad was as impressed as I am about his living there for eight weeks. I have only seen pictures of Fontainebleau and I am in awe of the history of the place.
WWII Six Week Wonders
Here is what he says about it:
As the men graduated after six weeks, they were immediately assigned to a front-line company and rushed to their posts. Some of them joined their company one night and the next day was either dead or back in the hospital as a casualty of War. As best as I remember I graduated on May 5, as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, and May 6 the War ended in Europe. AS I LOOK BACK ON THESE EVENTS, I’M CONVINCED THAT SOMEONE UP ABOVE WAS LOOKING AFTER ME AND YOU’LL NEVER CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE."
History of Fontainebleau
Napoleon remembers Fontainebleau as “…the true residence of Kings, the house of the centuries. It was not a rigorously architectural palace, but it was certainly a place of residence well thought out and perfectly suitable. It was certainly the most comfortable and happily situated palace in Europe." It was home to Louis VII, Henry II and his wife, Catherine de ‘Medici, Kings Louis XII through Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and Napoleon. Eventually, during World War II it was occupied by Germany until the Allied troops pushed Germany out of the Paris area. It became a training center and now is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fontainebleau is approximately sixty-nine kilometers (forty-three miles) southeast of Paris.
What a piece of history Fontainebleau was and still is. I wish my dad had been a photographer and we had pictures of his time there. It is a wonderful piece of my dad's military history.