France / Landmark
Agay was one of the areas hit by an Allied bombing raid that was mistakenly diverted. Moreover, aware of the beach's potential for a landing, the occupying forces built a powerful defence system anchored to the coastal relief, making it inaccessible.
On the night of 11 November 1943, part of the 617th Squadron of the British Royal Air Force, which had come to bomb the Anthéor viaduct, missed its target and bombed Agay.
The Lancasters were carrying an experimental bomb designed to shake the pillars of the viaduct by a sort of seismic tremor acting on the foundations. The blast effect of the 2.4 tonnes of explosive per bomb was devastating. It was the most powerful of the Allied bombs.
The inhabitants were surprised in their sleep. The district was destroyed. The toll was heavy: 15 killed and 7 injured.
Today, the "rue du 11 novembre 1943" is a reminder of this massacre, to which elders of the area have left poignant testimonies: memories of the terrifying noise, the burning blast of the bombs, and the victims.
Aware of the beach's potential as a landing site, the occupying forces built a powerful defence system to counter it: closing off the harbour with a steel anti-submarine net, mining the bay, installing two long-range radar stations, building pillboxes, bunkers and blockhouses to house anti-aircraft guns, and finally demolishing the historic Château d'Agay.
Château d'Agay, built under Richelieu in 1635-36, was a fort used to defend the Provencal coast against barbarian incursions. In 1750, François de Giraud, Lord of Agay, built a château on top of this Vauban-style star-shaped fort. It was here that writer-pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry married in 1932, staying with his sister and brother-in-law, Gabrielle and Pierre d'Agay.
The castle was destroyed by the occupying army in May 1944 because it masked the lines of fire from the German armoured train travelling along the coast.
The Allies, considering that Agay beach (Camel Yellow Beach) would be too difficult to conquer by sea, decided to take control of it by land; a mission accomplished by the 141st US Infantry Regiment.
After the net had been destroyed and the harbour cleared of mines, the beach was used for unloading. Thanks to the help of the inhabitants, lorries immediately set off to supply the fighting units in Saint-Raphaël and Fréjus, via the Gratadis.
Plage d’Agay, 83530 Saint-Raphaël