“I’m going out to get some,” 21-year-old James Hendricks, a black GI from North Carolina, announced to his barrack room on the night of August 24th, 1944. He had spent the evening drinking 140-proof Calvados, and as he staggered out of the barracks in Brittany he was clutching an M-1 rifle.

That night Hendricks was lethal. He banged on farmhouse doors shouting, “Ouvrir, ouvrir, mademoiselle.” At one farmhouse he fired twice through the door, and one of the bullets blew off the head of the farmer, Victor Bignon. Hendricks then tried to rape the farmer’s wife, Noemie, before other family members and farm workers came to her aid.

Fourteen days after the murder he was sentenced to death and on Friday, November 24th, 1944, he was hanged in the grounds of a chateau at Plumaudan in Brittany.