Tribute to Ouassini Bouarfa, the only soldier of Algerian origin to have taken part in the Landing

Tribute to Ouassini Bouarfa, the only soldier of Algerian origin to have taken part in the Landing

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the liberating D-Day, the name of a valiant Green Beret, engaged in the famous Kieffer commando – the very selective Marine Fusilier commando created in 1942 in Great Britain by Free France and placed under the leadership of Captain Philippe Kieffer – deserves to be exhumed from the dustbin of history.

A name that sounds like it comes from elsewhere, on the other side of the Mediterranean shore, that those under 20 (and not only them…) cannot know, and that it is only fair to cite in example, when honoring the memory of the heroes of the Landings.

So that this name, after having been showered with praise for having overcome the violent tumults of the Second World War, within an elite commando that he had joined at a very young age, is not buried in the ashes of the past , it is appropriate today to recall it to better pay homage to him: it is the deceased Ouassini Bouarfa, the nursing quartermaster of the Kieffer commando, the only soldier of Algerian origin and one of the only non-Europeans to have landed on the beaches of Normandy, on June 6, 1944, with his 177 French brothers in arms, as part of the large-scale operation Overlord.

It should be noted that the Kieffer commando was the only French battalion to set foot on the Normandy beaches facing the enemy.

Wounded on Ouistreham beach from the start of the assault, as were 25% of the Green Berets during a disastrous first day (40% of the commandos were killed or wounded at the same time), Ouassini Bouarfa, barely recovered , went back into battle, almost with his head in his rifle.

It was in his capacity as a nursing quartermaster that he returned to the front, first to Normandy, then to Vlissingen, on the island of Walcheren, in the Netherlands, in November 1944, with a view to securing the access to the port of Antwerp.

For the audacity of the missions accomplished and the victories acquired, the Marine Corps, of which he was one of the brave soldiers, will be cited five times in the Order of the Army. The 1st BFM/RFM received, from General de Gaulle, the title of Companion of the Liberation, as a reward for its involvement in the liberation of France.

Ouassini Bouarfa was 25 years old when he participated in the parade of allied forces on the Champs Élysées on May 25, 1945, after the German capitulation. He died at the age of 88, in 2007, but not the flame of memory, which it is more essential than ever to make shine through the shadow of oblivion and the darkness of ignorance , in the interest of all.