• Plage Bonaparte à Plouha (Côtes d'Armor) - Haut-lieu de la Résistance

  • Sacy-le-Grand (Oise) - Mémorial en souvenir du F/O H. H. MacKenzie (RCAF)

  • Supermarine LF Mk.Vb Spitfire EP120 - G-LFVB - (The Fighter Collection)

  • Le Cardonnois (Somme) - Stèle à la mémoire de l'équipage du Boeing B-17 #42-31325, 452nd Bomb Group

  • B-17G-85-VE 44-8846 - F-AZDX - (FTV)

 

18th August 1944

 

Squadron Leader Eugeniusz HORBACZEWSKI

 

P-51 "Mustang III" # PK-K

315 Polish Fighter Squadron

 

Velennes (Oise)

 

                                                                                                                                   Copyright © 2018 - Association des Sauveteurs d'Aviateurs AlliésAll rights reserved -
                                                                                                             En français france

 

horbaczewski 6

 

Eugeniusz Horbaczewski was born on 28th September 1917, in Kiev (now in Ukraine), to Polish parents.

Attracted by the Aviation, in 1935 he obtained his glider pilot's license on the Ustianowa field before continuing, in 1936, his secondary studies at Brzesc (now Brest-Litovsk, in Belarus).

In 1937, at Bielsko-Aleksandrowice, he began his apprenticeship as a pilot of a powered airplane.

In January 1938 he joined the Deblin Cadet Polish Air Force School.

On 1st September 1939, he graduated as a fighter pilot in the Polish Air Force the very day the German Army invaded his country without a declaration of war. Although a novice, between 9th and 11th September, he made 3 reconnaissance missions during the Battle of Poland.

The swift defeat of the Polish Army against the German invader gave birth to a deep sense of revenge. On 17th September, without a declaration of war, the Soviet Army, in turn, entered Poland. At the end of October, after many difficulties and like many Polish airmen, he managed to reach Rumania and, via Yugoslavia and Greece, he joined France and the Bordeaux-Merignac base.

On 10th May 1940, the Wehrmacht attacked the West. Six weeks later, the defeat was consumed on French soil. On 22nd June, the armistice was signed in the clearing of Rethondes, near Compiegne.

On 24th June, S/Lt Horbaczewski arrived in extremis, with many compatriots, to embark aboard a ship, from the port of Saint Jean-de-Luz, to Liverpool, England, to continue the fight.

In the summer of 1940 he joined the Royal Air Force and the Bristol School for an accelerated training on British equipment.

At the end of August 1941, Eugeniusz Horbaczewski was assigned to 303 "Kościuszko" Polish Squadron, integrated into the Royal Air Force. Within this Squadron his war missions began over the Channel facing a Luftwaffe then at its zenith. On board his Spitfire Mk V, he recorded his first victory on 4th April 1942 by shooting down a Focke-Wulf 190 over the Pas-de-Calais. His second victory was on 16th April and a third on 19th August during Operation Jubilee at Dieppe. He showed himself to be a talented pilot.

On 15th July 1941, he was transferred for a few days to the 18 OTU specialized in the training of bomber pilots before joining the 58 OTU which trained the fighter pilots on the famous Spitfire.

From 10th September 1942, he joined 302 "Poznański" Polish Squadron. Aerial fights were exhausting. At that time, he had already flown 65 war missions. Given leave on 3rd December 1942, he went back to 58 OTU, this time as an instructor, with the rank of Flying Officer.

At the beginning of 1943, he volunteered to fight the Afrikakorps. In Tunisia, he and other Polish pilots formed the famous "Skalski Circus". Voluntary certainly, but retained after a drastic selection of 16 pilots.

skalski7

Polish Fighting Team in Tunisia – Eugeniusz Horbaczewski is seated on the left.

In the Polish Fighting Team under the command of S/L Stanislaw Skalski, Eugeniusz Horbaczewski's talent as a fighter pilot literally exploded. In less than two months (from 18th March to 12th May), the intrepid Polish pilots, aboard their Spitfire Mk IX, created a sensation with the Allied High Command by destroying 25 aircraft of the Luftwaffe and of the Italian Regia Aeronautica + 3 probable. Lieutenant Horbaczewski was the most successful pilot of the "Skalski Circus" with 5 victories: four Messerschmitt-109 and a twin-engined Junkers 88 were shot down under by his machine-guns in 41 war missions. Since the beginning of the conflict, he had 8 confirmed victories. In high places, his vista was noticed.

After the dissolution of the Polish Fighting Team, Eugeniusz Horbaczewski remained on the Mediterranean front while most other pilots joined Great Britain.

North Africa liberated, he left Tunisia for Malta. He first joined 601 RAF Squadron and then joined 43 Squadron of the Desert Air Force on 6th July 1943, taking command on 9th August. In the sky of Sicily and southern Italy he again shot down three enemy aircraft.

On 20th October, he was finally recalled to Great Britain, where the Allied invasion of the continent, somewhere between northern Brittany and the Belgian coast, was being prepared under the seal of secrecy.

At the end of 1943, Eugeniusz Horbaczewski had 11 victories + 1 probable + 1 damaged.

In January 1944 he was posted to the Northolt airbase for conversion to a new aircraft, the North American P-51 “Mustang III”.

On 15th February, he took command of 315 "Debliński" Squadron of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, recently created for the exclusive needs of the future invasion. He was officially promoted Squadron Leader.

Sqn 315

On 20th February, at the head of his Squadron, he began his missions. 57 others would follow over France, from northern Europe to Norway, leading dangerous attacks at low altitude on marshalling yards, port facilities and other Nazi strongholds, all bristling with the formidable Flak: the very dense defence against planes.

Brenzett. Picture taken after this flight. From left FLt Przymienski IO FO Swistun SLdr Horbaczewski FO Nowosielski FLt Cwynar WO Jankowski and WO Bedkowski . Missing on a
 Brenzett - July 1944 - Back from a mission

F/Lt Przymienski, F/O Swistun, S/L Horbaczewski, F/O Nowosielski, F/Lt Cwynar, W/O Jankowski and W/O Bedkowski.

After the Normandy Landings on 6th June 1944, another arduous task was added to the airmen of 315 Squadron: to chase from the English skies the V1s, the Nazi very lethal flying bombs which terrorized and tried to demoralize the civilian population. S/L Horbaczewski shot down four of them.

The battle of Normandy was raging. On 22nd June, during a fierce ground attack on German positions in Cherbourg harbour, Squadron Leader Horbaczewski spotted Sgt Tamowicz's Mustang III, seriously hit by Flak. The pilot was forced to land, as soon as possible, between the enemy and American lines, in a marshy area of the Cotentin Peninsula. Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, who had watched the scene, circled above his Squadron companion. Although injured in his legs, Sgt Tamowicz managed to get out of his plane, indicating to his Leader that he was safe.

With the spirit of decision that animated him permanently, Eugeniusz Horbaczewski landed on Azeville airfield only just fitted out by the Americans. Immediately borrowing a Jeep, he headed for the area where his teammate's aircraft was.

Meanwhile, Sgt Tamowicz's Mustang sank deeper and deeper into the mud. To his surprise, the pilot suddenly saw Eugeniusz Horbaczewski coming to rescue him. Wading in the marsh, the two men managed to join the Jeep then the Allied lines and finally Horbaczewski's aircraft. Although planned for one man, Tamowicz then took his place in the Mustang cockpit before his Squadron Leader sat on the knees of his moaning companion.

Reaching the end of the runway, the aircraft took off full throttle towards England under the hoorays of the American soldiers who had witnessed the scene.

After landing at Coolham, Horbaczewski and Tamowicz were this time cheered by the staff of their own Squadron, stunned to see two men get out of the cockpit of the Mustang. Sgt Tamowicz was quickly transferred to a hospital and treated.

Those who attended this scene always remembered the heroic action and the panache of Eugeniusz Horbaczewski. This unusual rescue remained in the annals of the Royal Air Force.

horba1

During the summer of 1944, the Polish pilots of 315 Squadron also carried out bombing escort missions to the distant Norwegian ports. S/L Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, nicknamed "Dziubek", fully fulfilled his role, advising caution to the impetuous neophytes who were there to learn. These raids were often difficult. Around these targets, the Flak was more than dense. The return was long with sometimes some of the aircraft damaged.

10888567 827820717285304 5900105352631776615 n

At the end of July, he obtained even more credits, totalling at that time 14 victories (including 1 shared).

On Friday 18th August 1944, the mission "Rodeo 385" was decided by Fighter Command. The Polish pilots of 315 Squadron were ordered to patrol the triangle formed by the cities of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Le Havre and Paris and to destroy any target on the ground just as in the air.

S/L Horbaczewski had been suffering from severe bronchitis with fever for several days, but ignored medical advice which tried to dissuade him from flying. Horbaczewski had the presentiment this time that in case of confrontation with the enemy he would not come back. He decided, however, to carry out the planned mission.

On Brenzett airfield, 12 "Mustang III" of 315 Squadron took off around 7:15 am and then headed for the English Channel: radio code "Central"!

A passage and a possible attack of the airfield of Abbeville-Drucat were planned but the air base seemed deserted ... The Polish pilots then took the direction of Beauvais-Tillé, a dangerous aerodrome, above which, in the past, the Royal Air Force had suffered losses.

At least three dozen enemy aircraft came against them ... Although the radio silence was broken, the pilots of 315 Squadron did not hear as usual their Leader give them the latest instructions, advise them and direct them in the fight ... These were JG 26's Focke-Wulf 190 A8s. Others were seen taking off, just seconds apart, waving the grass of the airfield.

The bad surprise was total for the German airmen. Having dropped their extra tanks, the Poles emerged from the sun, burst onto the enemy and literally grabbed him by the throat... Although feverish, flu victim and with a radio broken down, their leader led his Squadron masterfully with his eleven teammates sticking together. On the German side, an unusual outburst went to squadrons on takeoff or already in the air. Eugeniusz Horbaczewski shot down two Focke-Wulf 190s in quick succession.

After a violent reversal, another Focke-Wulf appeared in his collimator and quickly shot down in flames. A fourth was seriously hit. The dogfight was raging. The Polish airmen wreaked havoc and then abruptly the fighting stopped.

Very quickly the pilots of 315 Squadron noticed the absence of their Squadron Leader. All had seen him shoot down three enemy aircraft but nobody in the following attacks had seen him disappear. They returned to fly over the place without observing anything concerning him. With a heavy heart, the Polish pilots regrouped and then returned to England. The sixteen Focke-Wulf 190 claimed as destroyed did not mitigate their immense sadness.

In Velennes, a small village near the Beauvais-Tillé airfield, three young boys, Daniel Loncke, 14, and Constant Loncke, 7, were in front of the family farm gate with their 8-year-old friend Michel Lasne. Accustomed to aerial combats above their heads, they observed the one on that morning of 18th August rather distractedly despite its magnitude. Suddenly, the kids heard a plane engine whistling abnormally. Behind a row of trees, a huge thud was heard, followed by a gigantic cloud of black smoke rising high in the sky ... No explosion! In the next few minutes, the children learned that an aircraft from the aerial combat had gone into a dive, and stuck deeply into the soft ground of a field. The aircraft was broken into two parts. The engine was completely buried, as if it had disappeared. The fuselage was broken at the cockpit, almost intact, revealing the British cockade.

Siteducrash

Velennes - The crash site

Around 9:30, the smoke stopped escaping from the wreckage but no one dared to get too close to the allied aircraft. The cockpit appearing empty, the majority of witnesses, just like the Germans, thought that the pilot had parachuted out. Luftwaffe "ground crews" retrieved the machine guns from the wings detached from the fuselage.

As evening approached, at the crash site, the plain of Velennes found calm after the dramatic effervescence started early in the morning. After 4:30 pm, no more villagers walked, no more German soldiers were busy around the plane.

It was at this moment that five children of about ten years old appeared as a friendly symbol. Michel Lasne, accompanied by his brother and his sisters, laid a large bunch of dahlias near the wreckage of the unmanned aircraft ... and then left quickly.

IMG 9952 

Velennes, October 2017 - Michel Lasne and Constant Loncke at the crash site.
For the two friends, the drama of 18th August 1944 remains an indelible memory.

At the end of August 1944, the Liberation was imminent. Everyone forgot the plane. It was time for joy to be liberated soon. The British Army being at the gates of Beauvais, the Germans blew up their installations at Beauvais-Tillé before evacuating. The end of four years of misery was approaching.

In October, the farmer who owned the field harnessed his horses and had them pull back the fuselage before filling in the hole containing the engine. He could then cultivate again.

At the beginning of 1946, prison camps in Germany were emptied but there was still no trace of Squadron Leader Eugeniusz Horbaczewski.

In late 1946, a Research Commission of the Royal Air Force Missing Airmen in cooperation with the French Red Cross, conducted searches in the Beauvais-Tillé area.

At the beginning of 1947, the identified remains of the Polish officer were finally found at the crash site in Velennes. In the extreme violence of the shock, the pilot's body had slipped under the engine of his aircraft and remained in the ground. His remains were buried in Creil, where he has since been resting with 54 other Royal Air Force airmen who fell in the Creil area and most of them during the terrible year 1944.

Tombe 19 mars 2018

His grave in the cemetery of Creil (Oise)

Third best Polish fighter Ace during WWII, S/L Horbaczewski flew a total of 250 war missions during which he had 16 confirmed victories + 1 shared + 1 probable + 1 damaged and 4 flying bombs V1 shot down.

 

Distinguished Service Order

Distinguished Flying Cross + bar

Virtuti Militari (2 Silver + 1 Gold posthumously) – Polish

Polish Cross of Valour and 3 bars (4 times)

 

On 23rd June 2018, a memorial honouring Squadron Leader Eugeniusz Horbaczewski was unveiled in the village of Velennes (Oise).

 

 

 

Summer  1944

Saint-Leu-d'Esserent in turmoil

 

                                                                                                         Copyright © 2015 - Association des Sauveteurs d'Aviateurs Alliés - All rights reserved -
                                                                                                         En français france
                                                                                                                  
 

 

     Between 17th March and 31st August 1944, the town of Saint-Leu-d'Esserent was the subject of a significant number of bombing raids and strafing (some sources mention a number of 18) from the 8th US Army Air Force, the 9th US Army Air Force and the Royal Air Force.

 

     The targets were the marshalling yard of the Petit-Thérain, the railway line Creil-Pontoise, the river port, the Laversines bridge, the lock, the German anti-aircraft batteries and the underground quarries that housed V1s.

 

Creil Petit-Therain - 28th March 1944

Petit-Thérain : bombing of 28th March 1944 around noon by the 9th US Army Air Force

(source NARA)

 

     The attacks on southern England by the V1 flying bombs are a real menace for the people.
Steve Darlow, in his book "Sledgehammers for Tintacks" gives the following figures for the losses due to the V1s :

6,184 civilians killed, 17,981 seriously injured, 23,000 homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands damaged.

 

     The bombing campaign, begun in 1943 (operation CROSSBOW) against the launching ramps, delayed and limited the number of V1s fired but did not annihilated them.

 

Saint Leu d'Esserent - June 1944 

Aerial reconnaissance photograph dated 13th June 1944

     On 29th June 1944, the depot of St-Leu (code LEOPOLD) becomes a priority target for Bomber Command to destroy the source of the launching ramps (two other depots are targeted : Nucourt (code NORDPOL) in the Val d 'Oise, and Rilly-la-Montagne (code RICHARD), in the Marne.

 

      The raids on St. Leu and St. Maximin by the RAF, result a considerable number of casualties among the bomber crews :

54 four-engined aircraft destroyed, 264 airmen killed, 45 taken prisoner and 62 rescued in the Oise department and the neighbouring departments.

 

RAF 50 Squadron

RAF 50 Squadron : boarding  for a  night mission

 

     The first raid by the Royal Air Force takes place on Saint-Leu in the late afternoon of Tuesday 4th July 1944.

17 Lancasters, 1 Mosquito and 1 Mustang of the famous 617 Squadron, nicknamed the "Dambusters", drop 11 Tallboy bombs. The dust and the smoke generated by the terrible explosions prevent the release of six other giant bombs. Not one aircraft is lost.

 

     The second raid is an immediate consequence of the first and takes place on the night of 4th to 5th July 1944.

231 Lancasters 15 Mosquitos of the RAF 5th Group drop approximately 1,157 tons of explosive bombs and 5 tons of incendiary bombs in 3 waves between 1:31 am and 1:45 am (UK Time). The bombardment is reported as accurate by the RAF. The town of Saint-Maximin, although not targeted, is hit hard. 13 Lancasters do not make it back to England. The RAF suffers 77 airmen killed in action.

A German report intercepted by the British on 5th July indicates that the entrance of the quarry is not affected, the access road and railway track are destroyed although repairable in 24 hours. Human losses at the depot amount to 5 men missing. Of the Flak gunners (AAA) 5 are killed, 6 are wounded and 6 or 7 are missing.

 

     The third raid takes place, again over Saint-Leu, on the night of Friday 7th to Saturday 8th July 1944.

208 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos of the 5th Group bomb, between 1:16 am and 1:30 am (UK Time), off loading, in 3 waves coming from the southwest, 1,121 tons of explosive bombs and 4 tons of incendiary bombs. 32 aircraft are lost. It is the deadliest bombing for the inhabitants of the town. 10 inhabitants lose their lives. The RAF suffer 142 killed in action and 30 taken prisoner but 47 airmen are rescued by individuals and the French Resistance.

 

Saint Leu d'Esserent - Quarry of the Couvent - September 1944  Saint Leu d'Esserent - Quarry of the Couvent - September 1944
 Target : quarries
housing V1s

Left: the entrance to quarry of the Couvent
Right: view of the quarry of the Couvent

(photos taken in September 1944)

 

     The fourth raid takes place in the afternoon of Wednesday 12th July 1944.

168 Halifaxes, 46 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of the 4th, 6th and 8th Groups bomb the quarries of Thiverny. The target is covered in cloud and the result cannot be observed. Not one aircraft is lost.

 

     The fifth raid targets the quarries of Trossy-Saint-Maximin. In the afternoon of Wednesday 2nd August 1944, 94 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos drop 2,650 tons of bombs. All the aircraft return to their base.

 

     The sixth raid again targets Trossy-Saint-Maximin. It takes place in the afternoon of Thursday 3rd August 1944.

191 Lancasters, 40 Halifaxes and 2 Mosquitos drop 1,700 tons of bombs. 5 Lancasters are lost. The smoke generated by the explosions considerably hampers the second wave. The town of Saint-Maximin is destroyed more than 90%.

 

    The seventh attack consisting of 5 Mosquitos and 61 Lancasters bomb Trossy-Saint-Maximin takes place on Friday 4th August 1944. 2 Lancasters are destroyed.

 

     The eighth and last raid targets Saint-Leu-d’Esserent again. Early in the afternoon of Saturday 5th August 1944, an initial armada of 456 aircraft of the RAF (441 take part in the raid, according to some sources), including 60 Lancasters, 196 Halifaxes and 7 Mosquitos for the first wave, then 189 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos for the second, drop approximately 2,193 tons of bombs.

A Halifax crashes near the Carrefour des Ripailles (north of Chantilly), a second Halifax crashes on its return to England. The list of victims of the town grows since three inhabitants die during the attack.

 

     The bombing of 5th August is the largest ever conducted over the Oise department. The municipalities of Gouvieux, Lamorlaye, Creil, but especially Précy-sur-Oise (12 killed) are not spared.

 

     In early September 1944, after the Liberation, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent is a ghost town. Much of the 1,600 inhabitants had evacuated because of the bombings. The town is devastated at 85%, of which 45% totally. Apart from the area of the town hall miraculously spared, the people no longer recognize their town. It is just a scene of desolation and ruins.

 

Saint Leu d'Esserent - Rue Henri Barbusse   Saint Leu d'Esserent - Rue Christine

                  Saint-Leu-d'Esserent : down the street Henri Barbusse                                           Saint-Leu-d'Esserent : rue Christine

 

Saint Leu d'Esserent - near the Quai d'Amont  Saint Leu d'Esserent -Rue de l'Hotel-Dieu

                        Saint-Leu-d'Esserent : near the Quai d'Amont                                              Saint-Leu-d'Esserent : rue de l'Hôtel-Dieu

 

     The church, jewel of the town, suffered severe destruction. Years of work will be needed for its restoration. Livestock has been decimated. The road Saint-Leu/Creil is no longer passable and this for many long months. No trains or barges circulate. Supplies are hard to come by. Everything is lacking.

 

     On 20th October 1944, the municipality requests the adoption of the town by a British or an American city :

"Because of the extensive damage of the bombing ... which affected 85% of the population, historical monuments such as the church, much of the farmland and mushroom growing areas, the bombing also crippled local industry by the destruction of major industrial establishments (Candy, Petit-Thérain, the harbor wharfs etc ..). "

 

     It may be noted that on 28th December 1944: "The gas and electricity work but the water supply is still being repaired. There are no means of transport for providing barracks for the victims".

 

     In 1945, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent remains for many long years ravaged by war. A great number of people who suffered damage live in temporary cabins or in half-destroyed buildings. Supplies are insufficient and heating is difficult.

 

 V1 rocket - Paris - 1945

V1 rocket exhibited in Paris in 1945

 

     On 11th November 1948, the 39/45 Croix de Guerre with a citation “à l’Ordre du Régiment” is awarded to the town of Saint-Leu-d'Esserent.

Since the end of WWII, many veterans of the RAF and families of those missing have come on pilgrimage to Saint-Leu-d'Esserent.

 

 RAF insignia

Insignia offered in October 1983 to the municipality of Saint-Leu-d'Esserent
by F/L Keith J. Stevens of the Royal Australian Air Force.

His Lancaster was shot down on the night of 7th to 8th July 1944.

 

     31 civilians, including 16 inhabitants of Saint-Leu-d’Esserent, were killed during the different bombings of the year 1944. We can add 15 others killed in the neighbouring towns, Saint-Maximin, Précy-sur-Oise and Lamorlaye in August 1944 when the town of St. Leu was targeted.

 

     The tonnage of bombs falling from the sky in July/August 1944 is estimated at 9,000 tons.

 

 
Bomber Command losses during the raids over Saint-Leu-d'Esserent and St. Maximin in summer 1944

Date

Aircraft

Serial number

Squadron

Target

Killed

POW

Evaded

4-5 July 1944 Lancaster LL785   9 Saint-Leu 8 - -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster ME699 44 Saint-Leu 6 - 2
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster PB195 49 Saint-Leu 7 - -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster JB486 57 Saint-Leu 7 - -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster JB723 57 Saint-Leu 7 - -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster EE186 61 Saint-Leu - 5 2
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster ME832 106 Saint-Leu 6 - 1
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster ND339 106 Saint-Leu 1 2 4
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster LM125 207 Saint-Leu 7 - -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster ND570 207 Saint-Leu 6 1 -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster HK536 463 Saint-Leu 7 - -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster ME614 463 Saint-Leu 8 - -
4-5 July 1944 Lancaster ME867 630 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster JA690   9 Saint-Leu 1 - 7
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster JA957   9 Saint-Leu 6 - 1
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster JB116   9 Saint-Leu 4 3 -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LM631 44 Saint-Leu 2 - 5
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME634 44 Saint-Leu 2 3 2
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME859 44 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LL976 49 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LM541 49 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster PB207 49 Saint-Leu - - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster DV227 50 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster DV363 50 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster PA996 50 Saint-Leu 6 - 1
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster JB370 57 Saint-Leu - 3 4
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LM522 57 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME868 57 Saint-Leu 3 1 2
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ND867 61 Saint-Leu 5 1 1
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster R5856 61 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ND966 83 Saint-Leu 5 1 1
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster JB641 106 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME668 106 Saint-Leu 4 3 -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME789 106 Saint-Leu - 6 1
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME831 106 Saint-Leu - 2 5
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster PB144 106 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LM129 207 Saint-Leu 3 3 1
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LM218 207 Saint-Leu 5 - 2
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME805 207 Saint-Leu - 2 5
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ND567 207 Saint-Leu 5 1 1
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ND866 207 Saint-Leu 6 1 -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LM219 467 Saint-Leu 6 - 2
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster LM338 467 Saint-Leu 7 - -
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ME745 619 Saint-Leu 2 - 5
7-8 July 1944 Lancaster ND688 630 Saint-Leu 6 1 -
3 August 1944 Lancaster PA162 61 Saint-Maximin 6 - 1
3 August 1944 Lancaster ME839 166 Saint-Maximin 5 1 1
3 August 1944 Lancaster PB125 460 Saint-Maximin 7 - -
3 August 1944 Lancaster ME568 619 Saint-Maximin 7 - -
3 August 1944 Lancaster LM163 625 Saint-Maximin 2 4 -
4 August 1944 Lancaster PA983 635 Saint-Maximin 8 - -
4 August 1944 Lancaster ND811 635 Saint-Maximin 3 - 4
5 August 1944 Halifax LL594 425 Saint-Leu 6 1 1
5 August 1944 Halifax MZ828 433 Saint-Leu 2 - -
TOTAL OF LOSSES 54       264 45 62
 
9
 
Source : J-P Mathieu
 

 

8th July 1944

 

Boeing B-17G #43-37747

 

 452nd Bomb Group

729th Bomb Squadron

8th Air Force

 

 Boubiers (Oise)

 

                                                                                                               Copyright © 2015 - Association des Sauveteurs d'Aviateurs Alliés - All rights reserved -
                                                                                                               En français france
 
 

The long-awaited Landings of the American and Anglo-Canadian troops took place a month ago in Normandy where the battle was still raging. The city of Caen, located within 20 km of the beaches was still occupied by the enemy. However, in our region, after four years of Occupation, hope for a future Liberation emerged.

Meanwhile, the Allied strategic air offensive continued and intensified every day and every night in the skies of France and Western Europe.

On this 8th July 1944, the primary target defined of the 8th American Bomber Command was the destruction of marshalling yards in Rouen. The Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" of the 452nd Bomb Group, based in Deopham Green, Norfolk, were assigned, among others, to the raid.

Among the crews was the one of the B-17 # 43-37747 :

1st Lt. Everett G. HANSON Jr Pilot 20
KIA East Blackstone, Massachusetts
2nd Lt. James H. HEINZEN Co-pilot 26 KIA Wayzata, Minnesota
2nd Lt. Leonard S. MARCUS Navigator 26 KIA Worcester, Massachusetts
1st Lt. Donald J. LYMA Bombardier 19 KIA Sacramento, California
T/Sgt. George I. GRISSOM Top turret gunner 20 KIA Hammond, Indiana
T/Sgt. Chester L. POOL Radio-operator 20 KIA Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
S/Sgt. Lloyd P. POHRTE Ball turret gunner 19 KIA Berwyn, Illinois
S/Sgt. Russell D. JONES Right waist gunner 21 KIA Baltimore, Maryland
S/Sgt. Arthur SCHULZE Left waist gunner 25 POW Chicago, Illinois
S/Sgt. Van J. McMANUS Tail gunner 19 KIA York, South Carolina

 

1st Lt. Everett G. HANSON Jr  2nd Lt. James H. HEINZEN  2nd Lt. Leonard S. MARCUS  1st Lt. Donald J. LYMA

       1st Lt. Everett G. HANSON Jr           2nd Lt. James H. HEINZEN             2nd Lt. Leonard S. MARCUS                     1st Lt. Donald J. LYMA

S/Sgt. Russell D. JONES  S/Sgt. Arthur SCHULZE  S/Sgt. Van J. McMANUS

S/Sgt. Russell D. JONES            S/Sgt. Arthur SCHULZE              S/Sgt. Van J. McMANUS

At the controls of the aircraft was 1st Lt. Everett G. Hanson, an experienced pilot despite his young age. He was on his 32nd mission, as were most of his crew.

Stationed in England since May, this crew was very experienced and bonded. Between them was a strong sense of confidence.

This 8th July was a special day for 1st Lt. Hanson : it was his twentieth birthday. If the mission was going well, he will celebrate in the mess Squadron with his crew after returning to base. After that for them there remained only three missions to accomplish before finally being able to return home and meet their loved ones again.

 

The bomber formations now flew over the English Channel. The weather deteriorated. Cloud layers required the aircraft to lose altitude causing some disruption within the formations.

 

Upon crossing the French coast, Flak, the German antiaircraft defense, opened up, trying to shoot down the aircraft which were lining up for the final bombing run.

There was no question of deviating from the course. Despite high caliber shells of Flak bursting around and hitting the aircraft, the course had to be maintained, straight to the target.

 

Arriving over the target at high altitude, it was hidden by clouds. Bombing was impossible.

 

Some aircraft, including the one piloted by 1st Lt. Hanson, then set course southeast towards Mantes-la-Jolie. This was one of the secondary targets to bomb as was defined at the briefing.

The bridges over the River Seine and the railway installations of the town were potential targets. At all costs the enemy had to be prevented to send reinforcements to the Normandy front.

A few kilometers further North, underground quarries of Nucourt, known to house stocks of V1 Flying bombs, were also a target to destroy. Since mid-June, these secret weapons, with high destructive power, were hitting the London area where they spread terror.

These areas of Mantes-la-Jolie and Nucourt were highly protected by a belt of anti-aircraft guns which opened fire on the approaching bombers. All hell broke loose again.

 

According to other pilots of the Bomb Group, the B-17 flown by 1st Lt. Hanson was hit hard by a direct hit from anti-aircraft artillery in the Nucourt area. The aircraft was literally broken into two parts, resulting in the immediate death of nine of its ten crew members.

Miraculously, only S/Sgt. Arthur Schulze managed to evacuate the aircraft. Parachuting down, he landed near the Boissy-le-Bois German airfield where the fearsome fighters of the JG 26 were stationed. S/Sgt. Schulze was quickly captured and sent subsequently to Stalag Luft IV, Pomerania, until the end of the war.

The Flying Fortress, completely disabled and partially in flames, crashed near the village of Boubiers.

Boubiers - The crash site
The crash site
 

The bodies of the nine airmen were removed from the wreckageSome of them were identified by their dogtagsS/Sgt. Jones was identified by a chain on his left arm with the inscription "Hands off, this guy is mine - Sara" followed by his name and his Service Number.

Two days later, on 10th July, the population attended with a deep sense of respect the burial of the nine airmen in the cemetery of the village. They rested there until the end of the war.

Boubiers - The church  Boubiers - The cemetery

The church and the location where the nine airmen were buried until the end of the war.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the parents and the wives of the airmen were still unaware of the tragedy but the worrying and anxiety grew as the days passed. They received no news.

At the end of July, each family received the dreaded telegram sent by the Air Command. It told them that their son or husband was missing in action since 8th July without more information. A small hope remained nonetheless. All families clung to the idea that they may have been rescued by the population and they were on their way to escaping ...

This hope was totally wiped out several months later. It was during the month of April 1945 that a new telegram notified them officially the death in action of the nine airmen.

1st Lt. Donald J. LYMA - Western Union Telegram  1st Lt. Donald J. LYMA - Newspaper

The tragic telegram announcing to his parents that 1st Lt. Donald J. Lyma had been killed in action.

 

 2nd Lt. James H. HEINZEN - Newspaper  2nd Lt. James H. HEINZEN - Newspaper

 

By the Red Cross, the Schulze family learned that their son was now a prisoner of war.

The US Army liberated the area on 30th August.

The bodies of the nine airmen were exhumed and formally identified in the following months by the American Graves Commission. They were then transferred into temporary military cemeteries, including Solers, in Seine-et-Marne, for 1st Lt. Lyma and S/Sgt. McManus.

At the request of their families, the bodies of Lts. Hanson and Heinzen and T/Sgts. Grissom and Pool were repatriated to the United States.

 

Saint Avold - 2nd Lt. Leonard S. Marcus's grave  Saint Avold - 1st Lt. Donald J. LYMA's grave  Saint Avold - S/Sgt. Lloyd P. POHRTE's grave

Lts. Marcus and Lyma and S/Sgt. Pohrte rest in France in the Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint Avold, France.
 

                                               Epinal - S/Sgt. Van J. McMANUS's grave   Neupre - S/Sgt. Russell D. JONES's grave

 S/Sgt. McManus rests in the Epinal American Cemetery, France, and S/Sgt. Jones in the Ardennes American Cemetery, Belgium.

 

 

 Arthur SCHULZE

During his captivity, Arthur Schulze suffered greatly, like many others, of deprivation but also of the terrible cold of the winter of 1944-1945. After several attempts, he managed to escape in the spring of 1945 and joined the British troops who were advancing. He remained all his life marked by the terrible tragedy of 8th July 1944.

He died on 20th January 2009, at the age of 89.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                          Arthur Schulze after WWII

 

 Boubiers - Remains of the B-17
Remains of the tail of the B-17 # 43-37747 in the immediate postwar period.

 

1st Lt. Everett G. HANSON Jr in 1943      San Marcos,Texas, in 1943 - 2nd Lt. Leonard S. Marcus

                                             1st Lt. Everett G. Hanson Jr in 1943     2nd Lt. Leonard S. Marcus - San Marcos AFB, Texas,

                                                                                                                                               in 1943.

Victorville, California, in October 1943 - 1st Lt. Donald J. LYMA      S/Sgt. Van J. MacMANUS

                                                           1st Lt. Donald J. Lyma -                                            S/Sgt. Van J. McManus 

                                                       Victorville AFB, California                         

                                                              in October 1943 

 

On 8th May 2015, a ceremony was held at Boubiers (Oise) in memory of the crew.

 

Source : US Archives, families of the crew members and municipality of Boubiers.

With special thanks to Mrs Janice Kidwell

 

4th August 1944

 

Squadron Leader Ian Willoughby BAZALGETTE

Victoria Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross

 

Lancaster Mk III ND811

635 Squadron - Royal Air Force

 

 

Senantes (Oise)

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                               Copyright © 2014 - Association des Sauveteurs d'Aviateurs AlliésAll rights reserved -
                                                                                                               En français france

                                                                                                                                                      

 

Ian Willoughby Bazalgette was born on 19th October 1918 in Calgary, Canada, from Anglo-Irish parents, third child of a family running a farm.

His father, who had been wounded and gassed in the First World War, still suffered the after-effects. Having difficulty in administering his farm, he finally gave up his job.

In 1922, the Bazalgette family moved to Toronto for about three years and his father then decided to take his family to his native country, namely England.
So the young Ian grew up in Surrey, a few miles south-west of London.
Around the age of 13, he had tuberculosis which forced him to undergo treatment in a sanatorium followed by a long convalescence.

During his youth, he developed a passion for writing music, reading and photography. 

In July 1939, a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War, Ian W. Bazalgette enlisted in the Royal Artillery and found himself assigned in Scotland, to the 51st Highland Searchlight Regiment which was equipped with radar controlled searchlights.

From 1940, the Battle of Britain began. The Luftwaffe of Marshal Goering first attempted to destroy the British convoys in the English Channel and then took on in vain the Royal Air Force before starting the “Blitz”, the bombing of London and other large British cities.

In 1941, wanting to become more involved in the war, Ian W. Bazalgette got his transfer to the Royal Air Force which was in need of pilots. In June, he went back to England, to the n° 22 Elementary Flying Training School in Cambridge. After ten hours of dual instruction, he took  his first solo flight in a Tiger Moth on 3rd August 1940.

S/L Ian W. BAZALGETTEOver the months, Ian W. Bazalgette passed successively through various flying schools of the RAF, learning to fly twin-engined planes.
His bomber pilot training over, he was finally assigned to the 115 Squadron RAF Bomber Command in Marham, in Norfolk.
In the last week of September, the Squadron was transferred to the Mildenhall airbase.

 

On 30th September 1942, piloting a twin-engined Vickers Wellington with crew, Pilot Officer Bazalgette flew his first mission over Holland.

From that time until the end of 1942, night missions over enemy territory became almost routine for P/O Bazalgette and the crews of 115 Squadron. Meanwhile, in November, he was promoted to Flying Officer.

In February 1943 a new aircraft, the four-engined Lancaster, began to replace the Wellingtons of 115 Squadron, requiring pilots and crews to be converted.

 

His first mission aboard this new aircraft comprising a crew of seven men was on the night of 22nd to 23rd March 1943. It was the bombing of Saint Nazaire harbour but the aircraft were recalled beafore reaching the target.

 

Throughout 1943, raids in which F/O Bazalgette took part, intensified over the Ruhr and German cities such as Berlin, Essen, Duisburg, Dortmund ... heavily defended cities, always entailing a high rate of losses among the Allied aircraft.

 

Promoted to Squadron-Leader and having completed his first tour of operation, Ian W. Bazalgette was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 1st July 1943.

 

At the end of 1943, now an experienced pilot, he was sent as an instructor to Scotland before, after a few weeks of training, getting his transfer to the Pathfinder Force.

 
 
So in early 1944, he was assigned to 635 Squadron based in Downham Market, Norfolk, whose Lancasters had the job of marking the targets to bomb.

 

The missions started again, still extremely dangerous, over cities and strategic enemy sites, until the fateful day of 4th August 1944.

That day, in the morning, S/L Bazalgette and his crew took off from the Downham Market airbase at about 11:15 am aboard the Lancaster ND811 "F2-T." This was his 58th operational mission, being close to completing his second tour of operations.

 

 

The crew :

S/L Ian W. BAZALGETTE     RAF Pilot  KIA
Sgt George R. TURNER     RAF Flight engineer  Evaded
F/L Geoffrey R. GODDARD     RAF Navigator  Evaded
F/L Ivan A. HIBBERT     RAF Bomb aimer  KIA
F/O Charles R. GODFREY     RAF Wireless operator  Evaded
F/S Vernon V. R. LEEDER*    RAAF Mid upper gunner  KIA
F/O Douglas CAMERON     RAF Rear gunner  Evaded
 

 

*F/S Vernon Leeder, of the Royal Australian Air Force, was not part of the usual crew of S/L Bazalgette. He replaced F/S Hurnhall on that day.

The crew of Lancaster ND811
Ian W. Bazalgette, Geoffrey Goddard, Ivan Hibbert, Charles Godfrey, Bob Hurnhall, Douglas Cameron and George Turner

 

Ten Lancasters of 635 Squadron of the Pathfinder Force were assigned to "mark" the target for the main force of 61 other Lancasters of the Royal Air Force. The target : the bombing of the V-1 rockets storage sites in Trossy - St Maximin (Oise).

Since mid-June, these flying bombs hit the agglomeration of London and England. It was therefore extremely important for Bomber Command to annihilate this site permanently. Shelled heavily during night raids since July and heavily protected by antiaircraft defences and the German night fighters, the Royal Air Force had already lost a number of bombers.

This new mission was thus considered to be high-risk and most dangerous for the crews.

Approaching the target, while the formations flew straight, Flak was unleashed. Two aircraft preceding the Lancaster of S/L Bazalgette were hit by gunfire from the ground. One, piloted by F/L Robert W. Beveridge, dived in flames and crashed near the village of St Maximin. All the crew perished.

It was S/L Ian W. Bazalgette that now took responsibility for marking the target, but in turn, his aircraft was hit by flak. Both engines and fuel tanks of the starboard wing caught fire. Flames licked the fuselage. Managing to keep the aircraft in the line of flight, Squadron Leader Bazalgette accurately dropped markers and bombs on the target, allowing the other Lancasters to bomb the site with precision.

Lightened of its load but destabilized, the four-engined aircraft went into a spin, rapidly losing altitude, rekindling the fire that devoured the starboard wing. The cool head and control of S/L Bazalgette allowed him to regain control of the aircraft.

Bursts of flak hit the front part of the Lancaster, badly injuring F/L Hibbert. His right arm half torn off, he was relieved of his position in a critical condition by Turner and Godfrey who took him towards the rear of the aircraft. Lying on a stretcher, he was injected with morphine.

On board, the crew fought the flames. Smoke and gas spread inside the aircraft, causing the asphyxia of F/S Leeder.

Flying to North-West, it was clear that the Lancaster could not make it back to England.

Having lost altitude, it was the turn of one of the engines on the port wing to stop.

In agreement with Flight Engineer Turner, S/L Bazalgette ordered the crew to evacuate. It was early afternoon. In the vicinity of the village of Senantes, in Oise, Cameron, Turner, Goddard and Godfrey abandoned the aircraft in turn from an altitude of 300 ft.

Aware that F/L Hibbert and F/S Leeder were unable to parachute, S/L Bazalgette refused to abandon them.

After avoiding the village of Senantes by making a wide turn, he decided to try landing the stricken Lancaster in a field. At about one kilometer from the village, the aircraft landed perfectly .... but exploded a few seconds later. The three airmen were killed.

Mr Simeon Desloges, a young child in 1944, remembers watching the burning aircraft avoid the village at low level. Then a large explosion was heard followed by a large cloud of smoke rising into the sky.

In the afternoon, the bodies of Flight Lieutenant Hibbert and Flight Sergeant Leeder were extracted from the wreckage of the aircraft. Taken to the church of Senantes, it was decided that they would be buried with dignity in the village cemetery on the following Sunday.
But in the morning of this Sunday 6th August, while the population was preparing to pay tribute to the two airmen, the Germans took their bodies and buried them in the Beauvais-Marissel military cemetery.

The funeral having therefore not taken place, everyone went to the crash site, despite the fear of the arrival of the arrival of the Germans, and laid countless flowers as a sign of gratitude among the debris of the Lancaster.

Senantes - Debris of Lancaster ND811

The four surviving airmen, gathered around, soon reported to their rescuers, despite the language barrier, that they were seven on board the aircraft and the pilot's body was definitely still in the wreckage. Discreetly, searching started again. The remains of S/L Bazalgette were found in the debris.

The pilot's body was kept until the burial ceremony. It took place in Senantes on Sunday 8th October 1944 in the presence of his sister Ethel, British and French military authorities and a large crowd who came to pay tribute to the airman.

In 1945, S/L Ian W. Bazalgette was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military award, for his heroic sacrifice in not wanting to abandon his two wounded comrades who had remained on board.

The four survivors escaped German searching and arrest.

Charles Godfrey and Geoffrey Goddard landed close to each other near the village of Senantes. In the evening, they were hidden at the house of the schoolteacher of the village, Mr. Laluet, where they were provided with civilian clothes. Notified Henri Maigret came to interrogate them and took pictures which could be used for their false identity papers.

The next day, now taken in charge by the "Alsace" escape network, Henri Maigret took them in a cart to the Desserre family, managers of the farm of La Boissiere in Blacourt, where they stayed until 20th August, namely for a period of twelve days.

For safety reasons, it was decided to move the two airmen. In a cart, Henri Maigret took over their transfer, in the middle of retreating German troops, to La Neuville-sur-Auneuil in Pierre Muller‘s farm.

The arrival of Allied troops was imminent, the Liberation approaching. Farms in the region were full of airmen. Many of them were hidden in the vicinity and lodging opportunities were becoming few and far between.

It was therefore decided to create a temporary camp and to gather together the airmen in a thick wood in Le Saussay, located near the village of Porcheux.

Pierre Muller took Charles Godfrey and Geoffrey Goddard to this camp on the evening of their arrival.

A British armoured column freed them on 30th August.

 

George Turner landed near the hamlet of Bois-Aubert, a few hundred metres from Senantes. Injured in his back, he was collected and lodged by René Cocu, a farmer in the hamlet of Groscourt, where he was to await the Liberation.

After landing near Glatigny and having narrowly escaped the Germans, Douglas Cameron was hosted by the Anse family in Glatigny and the Roisse family in Hanvoile. He chose to participate with the local Resistance in different acts of sabotage against the enemy until the Liberation.

Charles Godfrey and George Turner came back several times after the war to thank their rescuers. They were also present on 4th August 1994, accompanied by the daughter of Douglas Cameron, for the dedication ceremony of the memorial erected on the crash site in memory of their comrades who were killed fifty years earlier.

On 27th July 1990, in the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, South of Calgary, Alberta, a ceremony took place in memory of Squadron Leader Ian Willoughby Bazalgette. On this occasion, his sister Ethel, George Turner and Charles Godfrey unveiled a plaque in honour of the pilot and a Lancaster, with the same markings that he was flying during the tragic mission of 4th August 1944, became the Ian Bazalgette Memorial Lancaster.

On 15th August 2009, at the Museum of Nanton, was signed by their respective mayors, the act of twinning the village of Senantes and the Canadian city in memory of the courage and sacrifice of S/L Bazalgette.

On 27th June 2014, a ceremony was held at Senantes.

"Baz", the biography of Ian W. Bazalgette VC, written by Dave Birrell.

 

4th/5th July 1944

 

Lancaster Mk III JB486

 

RAF 57 Squadron

 

Cormeilles (Oise)

 

 

                                                                                                                                   Copyright © 2018 - Association des Sauveteurs d'Aviateurs AlliésAll rights reserved -
                                                                                                             En français france

 

 

One week after the Normandy Landings, England and especially London faced a new threat, flying bombs V1, a response of the enemy to the devastating air raids carried out by the Allies over Germany.

From this period, everything was implemented by the Allies to destroy the multitude of launch sites hidden and scattered along the French coast of the Channel. Their attention was also turned towards one of the storage centres of this new weapon of reprisal that located under the thick vaults of the underground quarries of Saint-Leu d'Esserent, in the Oise.

On the evening of 4th July, 17 Lancasters of RAF 617 Squadron raided and dropped their huge "Tallboy" bombs on the site of Saint-Leu d'Esserent, suffering no casualties.

During the night of 4th to 5th July, a much larger air force was engaged on the same target. 231 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitoes of the 5th Group of the Royal Air Force dumped 1,157 tons of explosive bombs and 5 tons of incendiary bombs in three successive waves, between 1:31 and 1:45 am (English time). The municipality of Saint-Maximin, although not targeted, was hard hit during this terrifying bombing. 13 Lancasters did not return to their English bases, mainly victims of the dreaded German night fighters. Seven four-engined aircraft crashed into flames in the department of Oise. During this night mission, the Royal Air Force deplored the loss of 77 airmen killed.

The Lancasters of 57 Squadron took off from their base in East Kirby, Lincolnshire, around 11:20 pm. After gathering in the darkness of the English skies with other Squadrons, the huge armada set course for France and to the town of Saint-Leu d'Esserent. Among these aircraft, the Lancaster Mk III JB486 with the very experienced Flight Lieutenant Anthony E. Grubb in command who was performing his 27th operational mission that night.

57 Squadron RAF badge

The crew of Lancaster JB486 :

F/L Anthony E. GRUBB

   RAF

           Pilot

    21

  New Malden, Surrey

Sgt. Harry LEES

   RAF

    Flight Engineer

    32

  Oldham, Lancashire

WO² James W. WEYERS

  RCAF

        Navigator

    32

  Strathmore, Alberta

F/O Jack P. HODGES

  RAAF

       Air Bomber

    22

  Grafton, New South Wales

Sgt. George T. OSBORNE

   RAF

   Wireless operator

    23

  Calf Heath, Staffordshire

Sgt. Clifford N. STALKER

   RAF

    Mid upper gunner

    31

  Warehorne, Kent

Sgt. Joseph T. NIXON

   RAF

      Rear Gunner

 

  Manchester

 

pilote grubb

F/L Anthony Edward GRUBB

After dropping bombs onto the target, the aircraft was attacked by a German night fighter, probably that of Feldwebel Martin Schulze of JG301, who recorded that night his first victory aboard his Messerschmitt-109.

Distraught and utterly lost, the Lancaster JB486 came down at 2:00 am on the edge of the Gantel wood, north of the village of Cormeilles (Oise), leaving no chance for the seven members of the crew to evacuate their aircraft.

030

On the morning of 5th July, many villagers came to the scene of the dreadful tragedy. Among the dislocated debris of the aircraft, any hope of finding survivors was quickly crushed. The lifeless bodies of the seven young airmen were transported to the interior of the little chapel of the cemetery, in a cart owned by Mr. René Tallon. Despite the omnipresence of the enemy, the village population watched with great respect these liberators who had fallen from the sky before they were finally taken away by the Germans.

055   PART 1531302138397

The memories of this terrible event are still very much alive in the memory of the inhabitants of the village.

Today, the seven airmen rest in the Commonwealth military cemetery in Poix-de-Picardie (Somme).

20180713 092920

20180713 093206

Remains of the quarry storage center of Saint-Leu d'Esserent nowadays

Six new large-scale missions and a total of about 9,000 tons of bombs will be needed by Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force to disrupt and permanently block the quarries of Saint-Leu d'Esserent. 264 airmen of the Royal Air Force made the ultimate sacrifice during this period from 4th July to 5th August 1944. Inevitably, these massive aerial bombing provoked numerous destruction in the town and its surroundings. More than fifty civilians lost their lives.

 

On 8th July 2018, in Cormeilles (Oise), a ceremony paid homage to the seven members of the Lancaster JB486.

 

 

 

Nous avons 124 invités et aucun membre en ligne

Conception, développement et formation,

Pyperpote -

Copyright ASAA.

Association des Sauveteurs d'Aviateurs Alliés -

Tous droits réservés