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Le Trait (Municipality, Seine-Maritime, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-23 by ivan sache
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Flag of Le Trait, current and former flags - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 20 February 2021

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Presentation of Le Trait

The municipality of Le Trait (4,900 inhabitants in 2018; 1,752 ha) is located 30 km west of Rouen.

Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Inférieure, renamed to Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime (ACSM) after the amendment of the department's name, were established in 1917 by the shipowner Worms & Cie, on behalf of the French government. The shipyard's subsequent task was the reconstruction of the French commercial fleet dramatically reduced by the German submarines during the First World War. Several ships built in Le Trait traded between France and its colonies, for instance those operated by the Nouvelle compagnie havraise péninsulaire (NHCP), which served Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius from Le Havre. The ACSM reconstructed once again the French commercial fleet after the Second World War. Modernized, the shipyard then built several cargo ships and tankers, even bigger and automatized.

The ACSM were characterized by innovation and technical wizardry. Président Théodore Tissier (1933) was the first French oceanographic vessel: Shéhérazade, launched in 1935, was for a few weeks the world's biggest tanker ever (18,500 ton); Longwy (1959) was France's first oil/ore tanker, while Jules Verne (1964) was the first French liquefied gas tanker, using a patented technology still relevant today. Ivolina was France' first fully automatized ship. The shipyard also constructed submarines, patrol boats, ferries and refrigerated trawlers.

The shipyard transformed Le Trait, then a rural village with hardly 350 inhabitants, in an industrial town; the garden worker's estate built in 1917 in neo-Normand style housed the families of up to 2,000 workers coming from the neighborhood but also from Nantes, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Armenia, and, after 1945, Italy. The ACSM were then the region's main employer and the most important industry in the valley of Seine.
Incorporated in 1966 to the Chantiers navals de la Ciotat; the shipyard of Le Trait was eventually closed in 1972. Industry did not disappeared from Le Trait after several companies (Technip, Sanofi, Gueudry, Mahieu Maintenance) had established factories in the town.
[Le Canard de Duclair]

Ivan Sache, 23 June 2021

Flag of Le Trait

The flag of Le Trait (photo) is white with the municipal logo, which was adopted in 2017 and inspired by the municipal arms, "Per bend sinister azure and argent a leopard counterchanged". The former flag of Le Trait (photo) was white with the former municipal logo.

The arms, designed in 1963 by Maurice Quemin, were registered in 1966.
Maurice Quemin (1923-2011) worked as a draftsman at the ACSM. The local correspondent of the newspapers Paris-Normandie and Le Courrier Cauchois in the 1960-1970s, he published in 1988 the book Le Trait berceau de 200 navires ; que sont-ils devenus ?, dedicated to the history of the shipyard.
[Le Canard de Duclair]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 23 June 2021