The liaison agent was held in high esteem by members of the French Resistance in the Haute-Vienne département of central France. On many occasions he passed through enemy lines with messages for fighters seeking to liberate France from German control during the Second World War. Yet when peace came he was omitted from the monument to the war dead in Aixe-sur-Vienne, his hometown; probably because of his age. Marcel Pinte was just six years old when he was fatally injured by a bullet fired accidentally by a Resistance fighter on August 19, 1944, in what was then Vichy France.
Now, the wrong has been righted. In a ceremony on November 11, the child’s name was inscribed on Aixe-sur-Vienne’s war memorial, alongside those of seven locals who died during the final battle against the Germans in the area, and three who were deported to concentration camps. “The homage is very important because it will offer a moment of dignity for this child. His memory has been adopted by the entire nation,” said Alexandre Brémaud, 28, the grandson of Marcel’s elder sister.
On many occasions Marcel passed through enemy lines with messages for fighters seeking to liberate France from German control.
Mr Brémaud is the driving force behind the campaign to recognize Marcel’s role in the war, convincing the Ministry for Veterans to award the child an official Resistance membership card posthumously, in 2013. Initially, however, he was more interested in Marcel’s father, Commander Eugène Pinte, tasked with organizing the Resistance in the west sector of Haute-Vienne.
Commander Pinte was a French soldier who witnessed at first hand the collapse of the Maginot Line and the German invasion in 1940, but resolved to join General Charles de Gaulle in continuing the fight. He found a job in the military archives in Limoges, and rented an isolated farm nearby that was to become the center of the local Resistance movement. He started with 40 or so men under his orders. By the end of the war, he had 1,200. He trained volunteers, hid supplies, and in the months leading up to D-Day organized the sabotage of infrastructure used by German troops, such as bridges and railway lines.
Commander Pinte enrolled his five children into the Resistance, including Marcel almost as soon as he could walk. The boy ran messages to Resistance members in neighboring farms and accompanied his father on missions to Limoges. “In many circumstances, he served us as a liaison agent and crossed enemy lines several times to carry letters designed for other units in the sector,” wrote Commander Pinte’s second-in-command in 1950. Mr Brémaud elaborated: “Women and children were used by the Resistance a lot. It was a lot more discreet. When there was a police checkpoint, they didn’t ask women or children to strip naked or to empty their pockets.”
Commander Pinte enrolled his five children into the Resistance, including Marcel almost as soon as he could walk.
He said Marcel, who was born in northern France, had been nicknamed Quinquin in reference to a 19th-century song entitled “Le Petit Quinquin,” about a northern French child. “They liked being with him,” said Mr Brémaud. “He was a joyful child who was easy to get on with and he used to spend his days with them in the woods.”
Forty-eight hours after Marcel’s death all the local Resistance leaders attended his funeral. Later that day, Commander Pinte took part in the liberation of Limoges. After the war, members of the unit sought to honor Marcel’s memory, persuading the Ministry for Armed Forces to issue an official certificate in 1950 saying that the child had belonged to the Resistance.
It was mostly down to “muscle memory” for Chris Mills, 18, a part-time engineering student from Sussex, U.K., who this week took home gold in the Re-Scramble category at the Red Bull Rubik’s Cube World Cup. The British record holder won $30,000 after completing the puzzle backward in 17.6 seconds in the final round and beating his German opponent.
Calling the win one of his “best solves ever, both in competition and at home,” Mills admitted that he’s put in around 5,000 hours of practice since he began speedcubing, in 2014. Speaking with BBC Breakfast after the tournament, which took place virtually due to the coronavirus, Mills described how he probably averages 50 solves a day, but sometimes will do up to 500, especially if he’s preparing for a competition. And this dedication means that Mills “could basically do that in [his] sleep.” Mills previously told the BBC, “To get to my level you need to put a lot of practice into it. You’ve got to really enjoy the process of just sitting down, learning new techniques, and solving.”
At the age of 12, Mills solved his first cube in three and a half minutes, after watching YouTube videos explaining how it was done. Since then, he has learned new methods and algorithms, practiced for three hours every day, and now averages 7.27 seconds. “I can watch a video while I do it,” he says. His fastest-ever solve took around five seconds.
Soon after learning, Mills was going to competitions, and what started in Hertfordshire, England, has since taken him to Copenhagen, Massachusetts, and Australia. “We just watched with fascination,” his mother, Frances, described to The Times of London. “His tenacity! He was determined to figure out how to do it, and I was amazed.”
Developed in 1974, the Rubik’s Cube is estimated to be played by more than a billion people today, with 480 million cubes expected to be sold globally this year. Recently, videos of TikTok users solving the puzzle and individuals decoding it on social media have also become increasingly popular.