• 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)

 

22nd and 23rd March 2012

 

Senlis – Ully-Saint-Georges – Montataire (Oise)

Paris

 

Visit of Jane and Sarah SMITH

daughter and granddaughter of S/Sgt. Milton J. MILLS Jr


                                                                                                                                                                                        

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Six months after the commemoration ceremony in honour of the crew of the B-17 "Judy" in Ully-Saint-Georges (Oise), we had the honour to receive Jane Ellen, daughter of the airman Milton J. Mills Jr and Sarah, his granddaughter, accompanied by her husband, who arrived respectively from South Carolina and London. Their visit was to follow a part of the route of their father and grandfather through our region.

S/Sgt. Milton J. Mills Jr

Originating from West Virginia, S/Sgt Milton J. Mills Jr was the radio-operator aboard the Flying Fortress "Judy" which crashed on 30th December 1943 on the territory of the municipality of Ully St Georges (Oise).

Although wounded in the leg, he managed to evacuate the aircraft. He was cared for and hidden in our region. He notably stayed at Gouvieux then at Montataire in January 1944, at the Dorez and Duchateau families.

His escape then took him to the Amiens area before he was sent to Paris.

Thereafter, S/Sgt. Milton J. Mills Jr was passed over to the Burgundy escape line, specializing in the repatriation of Allied airmen via Spain.

Geneviève Crosson (future Mrs. Le Berre), code name "Jacqueline" who was in the Resistance, then a young passeur for the Burgundy escape network, took him by train from Paris to Pau with other escapees. Arriving in Pau, the group was transferred to other agents of the network who then entrusted them to smugglers who knew the mountains like the back of their hand. S/Sgt. Mills crossed the Pyrenees and reached Spain on 20th April 1944. On 29th May he reached Gibraltar and flew to England the next day.

Milton J. Mills died in April 2008 at the age of 85.

 

With Mme Genevieve Le Berre

68 years later, with an intense emotion and for the first time, Jane and Sarah were able to meet Mrs. Geneviève Le Berre who had contributed so much in helping their ancestor.

Lycee Hugues Capet - Senlis - With the teachers

Greeted by the Principal and her teaching staff at the Lycee Hugues Capet of Senlis (Oise), this moving meeting was held as part of an educational project led by lower sixth students centred around the theme of "Memory of conflicts of the twentieth century "and an exchange with American students from Oklahoma City.

This meeting, organized jointly with the ASAA, resulted in a conference on "Allied Aviation during World War II", with particular reference to the specific history of the mission of the B-17 "Judy" and the fate of its crew.

Lycee Hugues Capet - Senlis - The exhibition

Objects from the time, posters and representative panels were displayed.

During this meeting filled with emotion, Jane and his daughter Sarah expressed all their full gratitude to "Jacqueline" for having saved their father.

Lycee Hugues Capet - Senlis - Lecture

"My father never talked about the war. I know it changed his life and just to know that people risked their lives to save people who they did not even know, is just amazing. I'm really excited" confided Jane to a team of reporters from France 3 Picardie who were present for the occasion.

Lycee Hugues Capet - Senlis - Mme Genevieve Le Berre Mr Rene Charpentier

Mrs. Geneviève Le Berre then spoke to all the French and American students, often with humour, about her contempt for all the risks within the Burgundy network, and her memories of the many airmen she conveyed over the Pyrenees.

Mr René Charpentier, a great Resistant worker of Senlis, also honoured us by his presence. He came to the aid of many allied airmen shot down around Senlis and led various acts of sabotage against the enemy. He told us his memories, always with the modesty that characterizes him.


 

 Ully-Saint-Georges - Near the crash site    Ully-St-Georges - Jane Smith and Sarah

The day continued in going to the village of Ully-Saint-Georges near which the doomed Flying Fortress crashed. We went to the crash site before returning to the village where we were greeted by the municipality and witnesses of the crash. We made our way towards the stele erected in 2011 in the heart of the village in memory of the airmen of "Judy" and also in memory of Robert J. Cooper, another American pilot shot down on the territory of the village in August 1944.

A reception then followed in the town hall.

This day ended with a quick visit to Montataire to show them the houses of the Dorez and Duchateau families where Milton J. Mills Jr stayed in January 1944.

The next day, the visit continued in Paris where a meeting was organised with Jacqueline, the daughter of Mrs. Dorez.

With Jacqueline Dorez     Montataire - January 1944 - Kenneth Morrisson and Milton J Mills
                                                                  Paris - With Jacqueline                                                               Montataire in 1944                                                                                                                                                                                           Kenneth E. Morisson and Milton J. Mills Jr
    

In her apartment dominated by the Eiffel Tower, Jacqueline, very moved, recounted her memories about the stay of the airman. She was 18 at the time. It was once again a meeting charged with a lot of emotion on both sides.

Jacqueline, for the occasion, had found photos showing S/Sgt. Mills when he was staying at Montataire. Milton J. Mills lodged at the Dorez's home from 27th to 29th January and was then housed by the Duchateau family, at the other end of the street. The family Dorez also housed, from 3rd January, another airman, Kenneth E. Morrison. Both Americans met regularly until they left Montataire on 4th February 1944, continuing their escape together.

Milton J. Mills Jr had never returned to France after the war and had not been able to see once more the people who had saved him. During this stay, Jane and Sarah could warmly thank, on behalf of their father, all the people who had protected him and led him to the Freedom.

Paris - Jane Smith and Sarah

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