Decorated World War II Veteran Moussa Recham, Now 108, Recognized for Military Achievements

Moussa Recham, 108, received the highest honor from the National Federation of Volunteer Fighters in Roubaix. A consecration after a rich military career.

My grandfather is a force of nature“At the end of the line, Nordine, grandson of Moussa Recham, is proud.

And he has what. His grandfather has just received the gold medal from the National Federation of Volunteer Fighters at the Avelghem stadium in Roubaix this Sunday, March 19, 2023.

Moussa Recham was born in 1915 in Aïn Errich in Algeria. “He was mobilized in 1939 and studied in Oransays Nordine. He landed in the south of France, was then demobilized with Pétain“.

But when the Americans landed in Algeria, he was again mobilized at the end of 1942. “He landed in southern Italy as far as Berlin where he stayed for 8 months, until September 1945“.

At the end of the war, he returned to Algeria before returning to Alsace where he worked for four years in the steel industry. “When the events of the independence of Algeria took place, he was obliged to return because the supporters of the FLN forced the workers to leave for Algeria under threat of reprisals“.

Nordine’s deceased grandmother said that Moussa had never talked about the war. “For a year and a half he had nightmares and howled at night“.

Moussa then returned in 1964, to Roubaix this time, “thanks to facilities in relation to his military career“He worked at La Sima (currently New Holland) building tractors.”He brought back his wife, so my grandmother, and lived here until retirement.“.

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6 years ago, after a fracture of the neck of the femur, the veteran moved to Nordine in Wattrelos. He then opened up more about what he saw and experienced during the fighting. “They found themselves walking over corpses in Italy“, says the 46-year-old man.

But how did he come to receive a medal? “We knew that he had done the campaign in Italy, Germany, that he had landed in the south of Francerecalls Nordine, who discovered with his relatives that his grandfather had “had several medals including one for an injury during a fight“.

But they needed more answers. So Nordine decided to research his military background as they only had oral records. “It was very difficult but I went to the Federation of which my grandfather is a member, I had the vice-president of Wattrelos who came to the house and a month later, I had his military booklet“.

At the same time, the National Federation of Volunteer Combatants announced that he would be decorated with the gold medal, their highest honor, for his military services. It is now done.

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Moussa Recham receives his gold medal on Sunday December 19, 2023 in Roubaix.

©Nordine Recham

No matter how much we ask Nordine what is the secret of his grandfather’s longevity, he himself admits that he does not have the precise recipe. “He was never stressed, he worked and didn’t care what other people were doinghe explains. His priority was to eat. As he had experienced starvation, as long as there was a roof and a full fridge, he did not worry“.

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He has never ridden a bike and didn’t take the car because he did everything on foot. Moussa also ate healthily. “Today he is in a wheelchair, still speaks, even if he has some difficulties but he has no particular health problem“. His health is so good that by catching the Covid, “he had no symptoms, the doctor couldn’t believe it. He had caught the English variant“.

Finally, what allows him to hold, “is to be outside. We leave at 2 p.m. and return at 7 p.m. From the end of April to October, we go 3 days a week to Bellewaerde, the staff know him“.

Nordine and Moussa have a very strong bond. Fusional would be the exact word. For him, welcoming and taking care of his grandfather was obvious. “He was always present, gentle, kind. We didn’t want to let him go to a retirement home. It was out of the question“, he concludes.

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