• 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)

 

11th September 2011


Ully-Saint-Georges (Oise)


Ceremony in memory of the B-17 "Judy"

and 2nd Lt. Robert J. Cooper

                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
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                                                                                                               En français france

                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

On 11th September 2011, the municipality of Ully-Saint-Georges and ASAA, organised the inauguration of a monument in memory of the crew of the Flying Fortress "Judy" that crashed on 30th December 1943 in the Bois Morel. Four of its occupants were killed in action.
Also associated with this tribute 2nd Lt. Robert J. Cooper, an American P-51 "Mustang" pilot belonging to the 4th Fighter Group, who was killed in aerial combat on 18th August 1944, his aircraft crashing near the hamlet of Jousin.

Coming especially from Texas, New York and Ohio, we had the pleasure and great honour of receiving the families of three airmen of the Boeing B-17 "Judy" : Cheryl Warren, daughter of the pilot Glenn E. Camp, Benjamin Hill, grand-son of the navigator Jarvis H. Cooper and Annette Siverling, niece of the gunner Richard R. Giersch.

Ully-Saint-Georges - The ceremony

Behind the town hall where the ceremony was to take place, the Jeeps of the Victory Vehicles Group were already in place, reminding the older members of the population of the time of the Liberation, after four years of occupation.

Many people assembled alongside authorities, representatives of patriotic associations, former resistance fighters and village elders who still remember the crashes of the two aircraft. Also present, families of the region who came to the aid of six survivors of the B-17, delighted to meet the descendants of those who had fallen from the sky in December 1943.

There was another visitor who joined us on this 11th September, but who was not invited : the rain !

The ceremony began with a speech by Nicole Robert, Mayor of Ully-Saint-Georges, who expressed her pride in hosting American families and all the people who came to attend this official and warm tribute.

Ully-Saint-Georges - Speech of Mme Nicole Robert

"...During World War II, two Allied aircraft crashed on our village. One was a B-17 Flying Fortress, on 30th December 1943, and the other was a fighter-bomber P-51 Mustang, which crashed on 18th August 1944.
American airmen died there.
Others managed to escape with the help of courageous people in our village and nearby villages.
These two episodes of local history were well known to our elders. They remembered. On the other hand, until recently, many knew nothing about the crashes.
This is indeed regrettable since their participants, whether identified or remaining anonymous, deserve our respect and gratitude.
American airmen of course, who were in Europe, far from their country, fought for our freedom but also the residents of our communities who, individually or in organized Resistance networks, despite the considerable risks they faced, helped them, bringing honour to our country.
We had and have in fact always and will always, be indebted to them".

On this 11th September, Mrs Robert also recalled : "At first we thought it inappropriate to hold our small local celebration on the day when, anywhere in the world, we remembered the horrible tragedy that in 2001 plunged New York, the United States and the world into amazement and horror.
But, on reflection, the similarity of the events of World War II and those of 2001 is closer than seemed at first.
What led the fight, the battles fought from 1939 to 1945, by the Allied forces, foremost among them the Americans and the French Resistance, were a struggle for the freedom of the people in face of the danger posed by the fascist ideology.
And the attack of 11th September 2001 showed that, contrary to appearances, the world was, alas, not yet pacified and barbarism, in a difference guise, always threatened democracies.
Vigilance against such threats must still be maintained and we now more than ever must honour the heroism of those Americans, French, airmen, resistants, and anonymous citizens who, in the past, had never given up and had fought for the survival of our freedom".

Ully-Saint-Georges - The memorial is unveiled  Ully-Saint-Georges - Young children proceeded to read out the names of the airmen

The memorial was then unveiled and two young children of the village proceeded to read out the names of the airmen engraved on the stone.

Ully-Saint-Georges - The Memorial

Ully Saint-Georges - Speech of Cherryl Warren, daughter of 2nd Lt. Glenn E. Camp  Ully Saint-Georges - Speech of Benjamin Hill, grandson of 2nd Lt. Jarvis H. Cooper  Ully Saint-Georges - Speech of Annette Siverling, niece of S/Sgt. Richard R. Giersch

In turn, the American families then took the floor and thanked from the bottom of their heart, the municipality and the people who attended this tribute to their father, grandfather, uncle and to the other airmen. "... Thank you for keeping the memory alive! Thank you for the History! Thank you for the present and thank you for the future ...! "

Ully-Saint-Georges - Speech of Philippe Marini, Senator
Senator Philippe Marini
 

After the speeches by the authorities the laying of wreaths at the foot of the memorial took place, followed by a minute of silence and the national anthems.

Ully-Saint-Georges - The laying of wreaths  Ully-Saint-Georges - The families of the airmen around the memorial

The official ceremony finished, everyone headed to the village hall where there was a reception. An exhibition tracing the story of both aircraft crashed on the territory of the commune was presented, describing the fate of each of the airmen, all brought to life by period materials.

Ully-Saint-Georges - The exhibition

Ully-Saint-Georges - Benjamin Hill and his grandfather, 2nd Lt. Jarvis H. Cooper
Benjamin Hill..........and his grandfather

 

Many photos allowed the public to discover with emotion the faces of those who came to fight for our freedom.

A beautiful day of tribute which will remain engraved in the memory of all.

The day before the ceremony, Cheryl and Benjamin had been received by the municipality of Clermont.
It was in this town that Lts Glenn E. Camp and Jarvis H. Cooper had been housed for three weeks during January 1944 by Odette Sauvage and the one who shared her life, Gaston Legrand.

Strong friendships were then made with this family of Clermont, including Edmond, Odette's son. This friendship was to endure after the war with many exchanges of correspondence and also Edmond's visit to the United States.

In the formal reception room of the town hall, warmly welcomed by the Mayor, Mr Lionel Ollivier, and Senator Mr André Vantomme, the American families met with great emotion, both of Odette's grand-sons, recalling the deep friendship that united their fathers.

Clermont - The American families awarded the Medal of the town

As a souvenir of the stay of the airmen, the Mayor awarded them the Medal of the Town.

Ully-Saint-Georges - At the crash site

 

Their visit could not possibly be complete without to go going to the site of the crash at Ully-Saint-Georges. In the sloping wood, traces of the tragedy of 30th December 1943 were still present. Scattered in the vegetation, small pieces of debris still emerge, bearing witness to the crash of the Boeing. Many small pieces were found that will be treasured on returning to the United States.

This visit of several days in our region allowed these American families to learn more about the adventure of their ancestors. They expressed great respect and admiration for the efforts and sacrifices of the French people, who risked so much to save them from the enemy.

"Every minute of this trip to France will be unforgettable. I know my father would be very honoured and very happy to hear that I have been to the places where he had stayed and to have met these wonderful families who enabled him to survive after the terrible plane crash "admitted Cheryl, daughter of the pilot.

The story of the B-17 "Judy"

March 2012 - Visit of the Mills family and the video

October 2013 - Visit of Rudy Sanders, S/Sgt Robert E. Cross's nephew

10th August 2014 - Visit of Glenda Gray, 2nd Lt Glenn E. Camp's granddaughter

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