The Bonnot gang in Montignies ?


Did you know that Montignies saw the birth of one of the greatest robbers of the past century?

January 28, 1883, Birth of Edouard CAROUY in Montignies-Lez-Lens (Hainaut, Belgium) Individualist and illegalist anarchist, member of the " Bonnot gang ".

Orphan of mother at 3 years old, he will be raised by neighbors and will have a miserable childhood. He worked from the age of 12 in a sugar refinery, then he held various jobs before becoming a metal turner in Brussels. Anarchist since 1906, he became administrator of the Belgian anarchist newspaper "Le Révolté" alongside Callemin, De Boë and Kibaltchiche, and frequented the Belgian Revolutionary Group and the community of Emile Chapeliers in Boitsfort.

In 1908, he was in Geneva where he met Bonnot. In December 1909, he arrived in Paris and went to live in the community of Romainville, where he found his Belgian comrades who edited "L'anarchie", a newspaper for which he was responsible with Octave Garnier for printing on the hand press.

Vegetarian and water drinker, he then had as a companion Jeanne Belardie (born in Lyon in 1886 and whose companion was serving a five-year prison sentence for counterfeit money).
With the companion Jean Huc and his partner Marie Bader who also live in Romainville, they go to sell haberdashery items on the markets, but they do not disdain illegal actions, whether counterfeit money or burglaries. Denounced by an occasional sidekick, he is forced to take off (as for Jean Huc, he will fall a little later for counterfeit money and will be condemned on April 5, 1912, to 5 years of forced labor). Carouy will settle with Jeanne Bélardie and her granddaughter in Thibault-des-vignes (village in the eastern suburbs of Paris) and will work at the end of 1911 with Louis Rimbault.

But after the arrival of the driver Bonnot, the actions will gain in intensity and violence. Carouy, who is intermittently housed in Bobigny at the mechanic Dettweiler, will commit car thefts and burglaries with the death of men. His fingerprints as well as those of Metge will thus be found in Thiais, where an old man and his maid were murdered on the night of January 2 to 3, 1912. Denounced by a snitch, Jeanne Bélardie fell into the police mousetrap. Carouy (who did not participate in the robbery in rue Ordener), is nevertheless the number one suspect. Hosted by Antoine Gauzy in Ivry then at a snitch in Lozère he was arrested there on April 4, 1912. He then tried to kill himself (unsuccessfully) by absorbing what he thought to be cyanide. He will try again during his detention to commit suicide. "I'

Accused of several thefts in shops and at the post office in Romainville and especially of the double assassination of Thiais (whom he would not recognize), he was sentenced on February 27, 1913 by the Assize Court of the Seine to forced labor. for life.
Sent back to his cell, he poisoned himself a few hours after the verdict by absorbing a cyanide tablet that was hidden in the heel of his shoe.

"I had little joy, little happiness; I confess to you from the bottom of my conscience, I may have made mistakes. All my dreams of happiness collapsed just when I thought they were going to come true. That is why, having not known the joys of life, I will leave the realm of atoms without regrets."

Letter from Carouy published by "Le Temps".