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RAF bomber crew remembered with new memorial at French crash site

RAF bomber crew’s ultimate sacrifice is remembered with new memorial at French site where they were shot down in 1944 that has been looked after by local children for decades

  • The men of Lancaster JB701 took off from Lincolnshire for Germany bomb raid
  • Aircraft shot down near Sens, northern France without any survivors
  • Remains of crew were laid to rest in cemetery at St Martin sur Oreuse and looked after by local children
  • New memorial in Sens unveiled during remembrance ceremony

The crew of a World War II RAF bomber have been honoured with the unveiling of a new memorial in the French field where they were shot down.

In a poignant ceremony, a serving member of the Royal Air Force has laid a wreath at the newly completed memorial in Sens, France.

The men of Lancaster JB701 took off 75 years ago yesterday from Lincolnshire, bound for a bombing raid in Northern Germany.

They were on board one of 12 aircraft from 49 Squadron who left RAF Fiskerton that night.

A serving member of the Royal Air Force lays a wreath at the newly unveiled memorial in Sens, France. The crew of a World War II Royal Air Force Lancaster have been honoured with the unveiling of a new memorial in the French field where they crashed

But in the early hours of 29 July 1944, the crew was shot down by enemy fighter aircraft near Sens, near Paris and crash-landed into a field. 

None of the crew – Thomas ‘Paddy’ Moore, Donald Carl Stephens, Geoffrey Edward Franklin, George Edward Kirkpatrick, Albert Stanley Cole, John Frederick West, and William Leonard Powell – survived.

For years, their final resting place, a cemetery in St Martin-sur-Oreuse, had been tended to by local children.

To mark the 75th anniversary of their crash, the community have come together with British families and members of the RAF to unveil a new memorial and pay tribute to the lives lost defending the Allied nations.

In the early hours of 29 July 1944, the crew was shot down by enemy fighter aircraft near Sens, near Paris and crash-landed into a field

In the early hours of 29 July 1944, the crew was shot down by enemy fighter aircraft near Sens, near Paris and crash-landed into a field

The Lancaster bomber crew - Thomas 'Paddy' Moore, Donald Carl Stephens, Geoffrey Edward Franklin, George Edward Kirkpatrick, Albert Stanley Cole, John Frederick West, and William Leonard Powell - none of whom survived the crash after being shot down by enemy fire over France

The Lancaster bomber crew – Thomas ‘Paddy’ Moore, Donald Carl Stephens, Geoffrey Edward Franklin, George Edward Kirkpatrick, Albert Stanley Cole, John Frederick West, and William Leonard Powell – none of whom survived the crash after being shot down by enemy fire over France

A post on a website for the RAF’s 49 squadron described the last actions of the brave pilot, William Leonard Powell, who avoided creating any casualties on the ground as the plane crashed.

‘The memorial is dedicated to the crew of JB 701, a Lancaster of 49 squadron which was shot down over northern France on July 29 1944, after a bombing operation on Stuttgart, Germany,’ it reads.

‘All of the crew perished when the plane came down between the villages of St Martin sur Oreuse and La Chapelle sur Oreuse, in the French department of l’Yonne, northern France.

‘The pilot, Flight Lieutenant William Leonard Powell managed to avoid civilian casualties, by bringing the plane down at the side of the road connecting the two villages.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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