• 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)

 

20th October 2018

 

Clermont (Oise)

 

Visit of Michael PEALER,

grandson of 1st Lt. Russel R. FAULKINER,

pilot of B-17F “Lucky Thirteen

384th Bomb Group, 546th Bomb Squadron

8th Air Force

 

 

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                                                                                                             En français france

 

 

Coming from Pennsylvania for their first trip to France, Michael Pealer and his wife Joet, wanted to visit Clermont to see the places where Michael's grandfather, 1st Lt. Russel R. Faulkiner, pilot of B -17 "Lucky Thirteen", was put up during his evasion in September 1943. It was with great pleasure that we guided them in the footsteps of Michael’s grandfather and were able to introduce them to the descendants of the families of Lt. Faulkiner’s rescuers.

On the 20th of October, the morning was devoted to visiting the crash site of the aircraft shot down on 6th September 1943. 75 years later, to Michael's astonishment, some small pieces of metal from the "Lucky Thirteen" were found.

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The afternoon continued with a visit to the town of Clermont, where Michael and Joet were able to see the outside of the home where Odette Sauvage and Gaston Legrand lived. More than twenty Allied airmen were hidden there throughout the war, despite the presence of the German Army and the Kommandantur who were nearby.

Accompanied by Jean-Marc Sauvage, one of Odette's grandchildren, Michael was excited to see the red brick house where his grandfather had been one of the first airmen to stay in September 1943.

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Hearing the reason for our presence, the current owner allowed us to visit his home. While the interior had been modernized after so many years, the layout of the rooms remained the same. We were able to climb the stairs to the rooms where the airmen stayed and found that the antique fireplaces are still in place. A photo of the airmen with the Legrand-Sauvage family was taken near one of them in 1943.

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Jean Marc Sauvage and Michael Pealer

Our visit to Clermont included a stop to the home of the Fleury family, which served as a stronghold of the Clermont Resistance. 1st Lt. Faulkiner and two of his crew members stayed there for a few hours on 10th September 1943 before continuing their escape.

Later that afternoon, we were joined in the town square by a large number of our friends who are members of the Association "N'Oublie Pas 44", who had arrived in their vintage military vehicles.

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At the end of the day, a reception was organized by the municipality in the Guards room of the town hall. Among the attendees were Mrs. Marianne-Frédérique Pussiau, sub-prefect of Clermont, Mr. André Vantomme, former senator, as well as descendants of the Louis, Legrand-Sauvage and Fleury families, who honored us with their presence.

After a welcome by Deputy Mayor Philippe Bellanger, the details of the mission from 6th September 1943 and the evasion of 1st Lt. Faulkiner were recounted. Mrs. Marianne-Frédérique Pussiau, sub-prefect, then spoke, saying: "More than 500 planes were shot down in the Oise skies during the Second World War. The actions of those who hid and saved these airmen are proof that man is capable of bad as well as good. The presence of Michael Pealer and his grandfather's story are an opportunity for me to celebrate the memory of those young people who fought to save a country they did not even know. "

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Mrs Marianne-Frédérique Pussiau, sub-prefect of  Clermont.

Extremely moved, Michael Pealer then received the Medal of the town of Clermont from Philippe Bellanger.

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"If my family exists today and if I am in front of you, it's thanks to those people who saved my grandfather ..." thanked Michael Pealer.

Michael Pealer never knew his grandfather and 1st Lt. Faulkiner never returned to France after the war. On behalf of his family, Michael warmly thanked the descendants of the French families who had rescued his grandfather and that had allowed him to visualize the places where, 75 years ago, he had stayed during the first days of his escape. Michael’s visit to France allows the memory of all those who fought and took so many risks, endangering their lives and the lives of their families, for an ideal of Liberty, to live on through the generations.

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Michael Pealer surrounded by the descendants of Fleury, Louis and Sauvage families.

 

 

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