20 August 2013

Looking ahead to France Libre, October 1943

Last evening I did some browsing around the web in search of information about an old family friend, Isabel Blanche, who became the first female member of the academic staff at the fledgling New England University College when she took up an appointment as a Lecturer in French in 1939.

In the process I came across an interesting document: an “Affirmation of Faith in the destiny of France”, published in Le Courrier Australien on 1 October 1943. It is signed by a large number of citizens from the churches, academia and the arts, educators and Members of Parliament. Isabel is one of the signatories.

What fascinates me about the “affirmation” is the fact that, eight months before the Normandy landings, such a large group of prominent Australians was looking ahead to the future of France in the post-war world.

Another signatory is one of my father’s particular heroes, John Eccles (later Sir John), who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1963, and who was Australian of the Year that year.

To see the document online, see An Affirmation of faith in the destiny of France.

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