• 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)

 

13th June 2015

 

Goincourt (Oise)

 

Ceremony of handing over to his family a bracelet that belonged to
Sgt. Thomas E. LAMB
 
322nd Bomb Group
451st Bomb Squadron
9th Air Force
 

 

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

 

 

Mairie

 

In the reception room of the town hall of Goincourt (Oise), a special ceremony took place on this Saturday 13th June 2015.

 

Mr. Jacques Billoré, mayor of the village and his municipal team, had the honour of welcoming Dan Lamb, an American citizen who came from Cleveland, Ohio, for a very special event.

 

Dan Lamb is the cousin of Sgt. Thomas E. Lamb, a young sergeant gunner who was killed on 18th March 1945 on the territory of the municipality of Goincourt during a terrible tragedy.

 

TommyLamb

Sgt. Thomas E. LAMB

 

That day, a few minutes after takeoff from the airbase of Beauvais-Tillé for a mission over Germany, the B-26 "Marauder" in which he was the tail gunner crashed, caught by the blast of the explosion of two other "Marauders" which collided whilst getting into formation.

 

This dramatic catastrophe immediately resulted in the death of the crews of the three bombers. Miraculously, only the leading pilot of the Squadron, 1st Lt. Alex O. Cordes, survived.

 

Some years ago, Mr. Cocu, a resident of Goincourt, found by chance, whilst gardening, a bracelet engraved on one side with the name “TOM LAMB” and on the reverse side a number, “16160208”. Theses inscriptions immediately made him think it could be from a soldier. An English or an American soldier ? Difficult to determine ! The bracelet was carefully preserved… and the years passed.  

 

bracelet  bracelet2

 

In 2006 the book of our friend Marcel Mavré "La guerre 39/45 dans le ciel de l’Oise, 500 avions tombés en mission de combat sur le territoire du département" lead Mr. Cocu to discover the existence of the American twin-engined planes which crashed over Goincourt on 18th March 1945. The name of Sgt. Thomas E. Lamb was among the crews of the three aircraft. The enigma was partly solved.

 

Mr. Cocu wished to be able to one day return the bracelet to the family of the airman and so he approached the Embassy of the United States in Paris in order to get more information. However the correspondence exchanged brought nothing very concrete except for some military reports written in English. Somewhat discouraging, despite the valuable help of a neighbour, a former English teacher !

 

In May 2014, following an article in the press, Mr. Cocu became aware of the existence of our Association and contacted us.

From our first meeting, a promise was made to him to make every effort to trace the family of Sgt. Thomas E. Lamb in the United States. We used our acquaintances, especially two friends, Janice Kidwell from Canada and Nancy Scovill from California, who immediately understood the importance of finding the Lamb family.

 

Then began many months of research throughout the United States from the meager information we had. Suddenly, in January 2015, they had the great joy of announcing that they had been able to get in touch with Dan and his sisters.

It was a great and emotional surprise for this American family, to learn 70 years after this tragic event, of the existence of the bracelet of their cousin found in this small village of France.

 

Contacts were quickly forged. After consultation, the family decided that this bracelet had to come back to Dan, the youngest of the family.

 

It was with great emotion that Dan was welcomed in the town hall, by both Mr. Billoré and his municipal team, and by Mr. Cocu, the members of our Association, the Associations of Veterans and the inhabitants of the village. Mr. Piet, who witnessed the tragedy at the time, also honoured us with his presence.

 

MrPiet

 Mr. Piet, a witness of the crash of the three aircraft, and Dan Lamb

 

Maire

Mr. Billoré, Mayor of Goincourt

 

In a warm and friendly atmosphere, the official ceremony began with a few words of welcome from the Mayor, Mr. Billoré, who then left the floor to Mr. Cocu. He described the long process that allowed him to fulfill the promise he had made to give the bracelet back to one of the family members of the airman.

MrCocu

Mr. Cocu

 

remisebracelet

The presentation of the bracelet to Dan Lamb

 

Lebracelet

 

Receiving with intense emotion the bracelet of his cousin "Tommy", Dan Lamb uttered a few words of thanks in French. He emphasized that to be given the bracelet on the day of St. Anthony, the saint who helps to find lost objects, was somehow a nice coincidence, and also a symbol making the memory of Sgt. Lamb come once more to the surface.

 

Dan

 

SgtThomasLambObituaryDan Lamb then evoked the short life of his cousin, who was born in 1924 in Pennsylvania. Thomas' father, a veteran of the First World War, had fought in Lorraine as a lieutenant in the newly created armoured forces of the American Expeditionary Force, serving under the command of the future General Patton.

 

In the early 1930s, the Lamb family moved to Grosse Pointe, near Detroit, Michigan, where his father worked as a wallpaper salesman.

Thomas Lamb was only 10 years old when he lost his mother due to illness.

 

While pursuing his studies, he then became very popular, being the captain of the school football team. He also played baseball.

 

Thomas E. Lamb enlisted in the US Army Air Force in February 1943. His military training took him to many bases across the United States before joining the 322nd Bomb Group, 451st Bomb Squadron, flying B-26 "Marauders". First deployed in England, this Bomb Group established itself on the airport of Beauvais-Tillé from September 1944. Sgt. Thomas E. Lamb operated as tail gunner, one of the most dangerous positions. His short life stopped, like 17 of his comrades, in the midair collision of three aircraft above the village of Goincourt.

 

Sgt. Thomas E. Lamb now rests in the American Military Cemetery, Epinal, in the Vosges, France.

 

                                                                                 TombeThomasLAMB

 

Dominique Lecomte, President of the ASAA-Oise, then took the floor to trace the history of this terrible day of 18th March 1945 in which Sgt. Thomas E. Lamb and 17 young American airmen lost their lives.

 

After the national anthems of the United States and France, the mayor, Mr Billoré, invited all the audience to the traditional reception.

 

Hymnes

During the national anthems

 

This emotional ceremony which saw the return of the bracelet of the airman to a member of his family, 70 years after, remains a beautiful tribute to Sgt. Thomas E. Lamb and beyond this act, to his comrades of the Squadron. The sacrifice of those young airmen killed for the sole purpose of defending the essential value that is Liberty, will always be remembered.

 

MrCocuetDan

 

panneau

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