The Story of the Iron 12

The Story of the Iron 12, written by Hedley Malloch, is published in three parts. It is a detailed account of the dangers faced by the soldiers while evading captivity in enemy territory, the bravery of the French citizens who risked their lives to aid the soldiers, the executions and the aftermath of the tragedy.

The parts are:

Part 1: On the Run

After the brutal rear guard battle at Etreux in Aisne, some of the surviving soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines. They evade capture by hiding in the forests of L’Avesne. Eventually, they make contact with the villagers of Iron as the story unfolds. We tell what we know about the soldiers’ backgrounds and the sources of information used in the publication.

Part 2: Shelter, Betrayal and Execution

The soldiers are discovered by Vincent Chalandre who takes them to the Logez family, millers and smallholders in the village of Iron.  This part describes the Logez and Chalandre families, their motivation for caring for the soldiers and the organisation of their care.  The circumstances surrounding their betrayal and capture are accounted for, together with a description of their execution.

Part 3: The Aftermath

The fate of the survivors in the Logez and Chalandre families is described; some of whom were sent to POW camps in Germany. The  name of the man who betrayed the twelve is disclosed, along with his reasons for doing so. Details are provided of the British Government’s highest bestowed honours on the two French families in recognition of their bravery and the sacrifices they made. The conclusion contains theories of why the soldiers chose to stay hidden, explores the possibility that there was there another soldier who escaped by the skin of his teeth and what fallout there was from this whole remarkable incident.