The Franco-Americans of Lowell in the War Effort

“The Franco-Americans of Lowell in the War Effort” – (PIP #26)

By Louise Peloquin

     France is in effervescence preparing the Olympics and Paralympics to be held from July 26th to August 11th and from August 28th to September 8th, the third time Paris hosts the summer games. The first took place in 1900, the second in 1924.

Another event is upcoming – the solemn commemoration of the 80th anniversary of June 6, 1944 when more than 150,000 allied soldiers, under the orders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, landed on Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach on the coast of Normandy.

To mark this anniversary, the next PIP’s will focus on the Lowellians’ courage and commitment as they served on the front lines as well as behind the scenes.

An editorial by Antoine Clément, to be presented more in detail at a later date, opens the series. The December 5th PIP introduced another of L’Etoile’s star journalists – Yvonne Lemaître. (1)

L’Etoile – July 3, 1944

The Part of the Franco-Americans of Lowell in the War Effort

(Allocution recorded on WLLH to be broadcast tomorrow on the War Information Office program destined to France.)

     The contribution of the French-language population of about 25,000 to 26,000 souls from Lowell Massachusetts, north-east of Boston, to the war effort of the United States homeland is about identical to that of numerous Franco-American centers in New England and it is no less astonishing.

     More than 3000 soldiers, sailors and aviators are on the battlefields in the four corners of the world, without counting nurses and members of the WACS, the WAVES and the SPARS. (2) Many thousands of artisans of all specialties work in our local or nearby factories, contributing to the war effort. Many aids assist in the fabrication of travel kits the Red Cross gives to members of the military bound for overseas.

    Our clubs or associations periodically serve Sunday lunches to the military passing through at the USO’s. (3)  These very groups organize elegant receptions for the French sailors whose ships anchor from time to time in Boston Harbor. Our population has contributed many crates of clothes, medication and food items in response to the various calls to donate to the needy in France or for prisoners in Nazi camps. Our population continues to gather clothing for civilians in Greece and Italy and soon the same for those in Belgium. And what about our schoolchildren who recuperate old newspapers and magazines to respond to the pressing need for paper.

     Our population has generously dipped into its savings to contribute to five War Loans up to now and during the Franco-American campaign for the purchase of Liberty cargos. Lowell ranked first place among Franco-American cities with a subscription of more than $200,000 in war bonds. (4) Our population has also donated some of its French books for the entertainment of the French sailors in New York. And the acts of charity towards our military are multiplied during the holidays under the supervision of our sewing and knitting circles and in homes where mothers, daughters and beloved do not eschew collecting clothing or treats for loved ones in the armed services in foreign countries.

     The honor rolls in our places of worship, in our meeting halls or associations, the monuments and the parks in honor of our military will multiply with the constant new departures. 

     And all of this is not done in vain since the dawn of liberty has hovered once again over the civilized world when, last June 6th, the Allied Expeditionary Corps landed on the historical coasts of Normandy and announced the coming of a total and final victory. Since then, it has been a day of prayer for the protection of our soldiers, sailors and aviators, supplications to heaven that the most horrible phase of the war may be brief and that our children return to us as soon as possible after having seen the tricolored flag of a freed France flapping in the wind next to the banners of the United Nations in a just and sweet peace for the entire universe.

– Antoine Clément (5)


1) “Franco Patriotism,” PIP #10, posted on December 5, 2023. Consult the link:

2) PIP #22, posted on March 5, 2024, presents a Lowell WAVE. Consult the link:

3) United Service Organisations, founded on February 4, 1941 to strengthen the Military service members by keeping them connected to family and home.

4) The figure is not clearly visible in the original document.

5) Translation by Louise Peloquin.