Mac Racken bridge, Mayenne!

Let me take you back to my belle France! We usually passed by many towns in our road warrior trip in my France. We come to see the hugely popular, the architecturally and historically beautiful and old, and do spent some off the beaten paths. However, seldom we see moving spots that marked our trip, this is the case of Mayenne in the department of Mayenne no 53 in the Pays de la Loire region.

There are three bridges over the Mayenne river. The pont Mac-Racken from the 19C today is the route I take the N12 to drive into Paris toll free; the bridge was done in 1834 first naming itself Ambroise de Loré, then Orléans ,Caisse d’Epargne and finally Mac Racken honouring the sacrifice of this American soldier that allow the passage of the Weaver group 90th division to cross the river in WWII to free the left bank in June 5 1944; there is a commemorating plaque there. In memoriam , the bridge is named after him.

Mayenne

we saw flooding Mayenne river

I like to tell you about the pont Mac Racken of Mayenne and give credit to whom credit is deservingly so.

The construction of the now call Mac-Racken Bridge began on May 15, 1824. Originally the Ambroise-de-Loré bridge, the structure will successively take the names of Pont d’Orléans, Petit Pont, Caisse de Épargne bridge and then Mac-Racken bridge The current name of the bridge is a tribute to Sergeant James Mac-Racken who, on the night of August 5, 1944, defused the 125 kg and 15 cases of dynamite that the Nazis had placed on deck. Of the three bridges that existed at the time in the city, it will be the only one that will remain after the war. On August 5, 1946, a commemorative stele bearing the inscription HERE TO SAVE THIS BRIDGE JAMES MAC RACKEN OF THE 315th BON, U.S.A. SACRIFICIA ON AUGUST 5, 1944 is posed

Mayenne

His name was James Dougal Mac Racken, ASN 34 881 595 – Compagny A – 315th The Enginer Combat Battalion, 90th infantry division. This American soldier sacrificed himself to defend a bridge in Mayenne, which now bears his name, on August 5, 1944.

Born June 1, 1916 in Red Spring, North Carolina ; USA, he was 28 when he landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944. His infantry division, the 90th, was responsible for liberating Mayenne. Two out of three bridges have already been destroyed, only that of the Caisse d’Epargne (savings bank) can allow a rapid advance of the Americans. On the night of August 5, 1944, his team specializing in mine clearance had the mission of cutting the conductors, connected to a 125-kilogram bomb and 15 cases of dynamite, placed on deck by the Nazis.

Mayenne

This American soldier sacrificed himself to save the bridge of the Caisse d’Epargne and thus allow his comrades to liberate the city of Mayenne. Protected by two tanks, the deminers progress. Sergeant Mac Racken leaps onto the deck, uncovered, and cuts the wires. He was shot by Nazis skirmishers and machine gunners, positioned on rue Roullois. The Weaver group of the 90th division can cross the bridge. From 5h30, the progress of the Americans is general. Mayenne is conquered, then liberated.

Mayenne

When he died, James Mac Racken left behind a wife, Maggie, and a three-year-old daughter, Myrtis. For Christmas, the city will offer little Myrtis a doll. On each anniversary date, the city of Mayenne invites Maggie Mac Racken to attend the celebrations. But her finances did not allow her to cross the Atlantic. A North Carolina newspaper is interested in this story. Readers quickly mobilized and raised more than $ 1,500 to help the family travel to France. The information is relayed by the national branch of the newspaper, and everything is accelerating. In July 1961, seventeen years after the liberation of Mayenne, the widow Mac Racken finally went to the place of sacrifice of her husband. Amén RIP Soldier France does not forget.

There is no specific webpage for this heroic act so will give the tourist sites of  Mayenne.

The city of Mayenne on moving about town in French: City of Mayenne on moving about

The Mayenne dept 53 on the local area of Mayenne Haute Mayenne in French: Mayenne dept 53 on Mayenne Upper

The local Haute Mayenne or upper tourist office on Mayenne in English: Haute Mayenne tourist office on Mayenne

And there you go folks, nice history nice story and one not to be forgotten by all those who cherish freedom. Mayenne remembers you and so do we, the French. Thank you soldier RIP.

And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

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