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Abbé Pierre Carpentier

Vicar of Saint Gilles

Death to France June 30, 1943 to 31 years.

Pierre Carpentier was born in Gavrelle, Pas-de-Calais, on February 17, 1881 and his mother Marie Richez. He was born on July 2, 1912 in Libercourt (Pas de Calais).

Already marked by life at the age of 2 when his mother died giving birth to his sister on October 22, 1914, he must evacuate and separate from his father whom he will find again in the war ending.

Very good student, he gets his bac of philosophy well enough and speaks fluent German.

Pierre Carpentier, the religious

Enlisted in a scout camp near Amiens because his family was transferred here, his father working on the railways of the North, he was quickly enthusiastic about this way of life at the risk of passing him before his studies. His sister is oriented towards the orders and integrates the congregation of the Holy Family, it is a revelation. He also decided to turn to religious life, confessing not without difficulty his desire to become a priest to the girl he had fallen in love with shortly before.

Pierre entered the seminary of Amiens in 1932 and devoted a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Ordained on June 29, 1938 in the cathedral of Amiens, appointed vicar of the parish Saint-Gilles at the same time, he then moved to 13 of the place of the cemetery Saint-Gilles (today 21, place de l Abbot Carpentier).
At Abbeville there were two Scout troops: the Saint-Jacques troop and the Godefroy de Bouillon troop, of whom he became the chaplain.

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In August 1938, Abbeville was in the midst of preparing for his Marian feasts to commemorate the vows of Louis XIII, whose centenary was celebrated on 15 August. Pierre Carpentier is on the front row.

A year later he left Abbeville train station in Belgium with his scouts whose numbers are constantly growing as he is appreciated and loved, as are the number of choir children serving the parish of Saint-Gilles

Pierre Carpentier, the soldier

In October 1934, during his stay at the major seminary, he was incorporated into an infantry unit at Cambrai. Saint Cyrien, he came out under Lieutenant in October 1935.
In September 1939, when he returned from Belgium with his Scouts, he was mobilized as a lieutenant at the 13th Pioneer Company of the 51st Infantry Regiment                                       .                                                                                                                                        Doc 12 avr. 2017 à 23-12.jpg

Demobilized in October 1940, he rejoined his position as vicar in an Abbeville destroyed and devastated following the bombardments of 20 May. Luckily, his home remained intact and his father's second wife picked up the neighbors whose home was destroyed.

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Pierre Carpentier, the Resistance

In 1941, he made contact with some resistants of his acquaintance and became friends with the tenants of the "cafe de la Bourse", Sainte Catherine, Jean and Madeleine Bourguignon. Indeed, this cafe often frequented by Germans owns in the back two small rooms with a small door overlooking an alley allowing to pass allies wanting to pass in zone prohibited.
He nevertheless maintains all his activities as chaplain and vicar while working in parallel for the resistance.
In eight months, he managed to get as many as 120 prisoners of war in the "forbidden zone". At the same time he transmitted to the Allies the German positions and information of military orders.

Unfortunately, his fate met that of Sergeant Harold COLE aka Paul DELOBEL. British soldier appreciated by his compatriots whom he helped but had in fact a very charged criminal record and an unknown and unsuspected background of those who cotoused him.
Increasingly criticized by his peers for his escapades and misappropriations of funds, he became enemy n ° 1 of the resistance network to which Carpentier belongs.
Indeed, for his misfortune, their way intersect on December 8, 1941 at the home of the vicar. The latter decides to trust him in spite of everything and obeys a so-called request for false papers. He was then arrested and transferred to Loos-les-Lille prison before leaving for Germany on 5 August 1942, as Jean Bourguignon.

On April 16, 1943, four accused were tried before the Volksgerichtshof (Court of the People);

  • The Abbé Pierre Carpentier
  • Desire Didry
  • Protais Dubois
  • Marcel Duhayon

All four were condemned to death for the benefit of the enemy.

Transferred to the prison of Dortmund on 29 June 1943, Pierre Carpentier was executed by beheading the next day, June 30, 1943 at 19:15. He was 31 years old.

A series of tributes

After several offices in tribute to this young priest of France, a whole research work is carried out at the initiative of François Trancart, nurseryman and interned at the same time as the abbot in order to repatriate the urn containing the Ashes of the deceased. Indeed, the bodies of the decapitated are incinerated in the main cemetery of Dortmund and the ashes put in buried urns feld 143A to 150 of this cemetery. The canon du Rosselle, the archpriest, traveled to Paris to repatriate the ashes.

Posthumously, Pierre Carpentier obtained the Medal of Resistance on October 15, 1945, the Legion of Honor on March 20, 1947, and the Croix de Guerre

The ashes are back on May 9, 1948 in Gavrelle and definitively place in the burial of the Carpentier family. On the tomb, a plaque was sent: "The parishioners of Saint-Gilles d'Abbeville to their late Vicar, Father Pierre Carpentier, as a testimony of their admiration and their faithful memory."

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1985: Installation of the plate of Place Abbé Pierre Carpentier.
2007: inauguration of the stele in tribute to the abbot on September 3rd.

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Creation date : 09/04/2017 14:55
Category : History - Personalities inhabitant of Abbeville
Page read 14330 times

Reactions to this article

Reaction #3 

by Peter_Dowding 29/12/2020 03:42

My Uncle (Kenneth) Bruce Dowding aka Masson, a young Australian, was a good friend and co-worker with the others and a very close friend of the Abbe. Bruce was also betrayed by Cole and went as NN prisoner with the others to Germany.

He also was beheaded in Dortmund at 7pm on 30 June 1943.

Our admiration and friendship to all those who were killed and to all who survived 

Peter Dowding

Fremantle Australia

Reaction #1 

by Jean_Marie_DUHAYON_ 25/10/2019 12:23

Merci pour cet article que je découvre à l’instant.   

je suis le petit fils admiratif de Marcel Duhayon


jean marie Duhayon 

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