>Commemorative Visit June 2015
Around 250 people, including members of the families of three of the crew men gathered in Achiet Le Petit to honour the crew of LL836. At 11 AM the people moved to the meeting point at Achiet le Petit Cemetery. There was a pleasant blue sky and nice temperature for this special day.
The three families of the crew members present at the tribute were:
- Mrs Joyce HRYWKIV (niece of P/O William ESSAR Rear Gunner of Lancaster LL 836 BQ-E) and her husband (veteran of PPCLI) coming from Edmonton Canada
- Mr John LOGAN (nephew of F/O John James LOGAN Navigator) and his wife Jan coming from England.
- Mrs Loïs MARTIN (cousin of F/O John Foster POTTER Bomb Aimer) and her husband coming from the area of Melbourne Australia with her daughter, son-in-law and two children
Ten days before the event the nephew of the Pilot (Mr Richard Picton) was located (there were difficulties in finding him, he was finally found to be in Canada) but he was unable to attend.
After the ceremony a small parade took place and then the people were invited to the local reception room for a friendly meeting where they could see a short movie of about 13 minutes explaining the last mission of LL836 (made by Michel Lespagnol, you can see a copy here: http://1drv.ms/1dq2H8M). People could also see RAF uniforms lent by the Florent MALVOISIN Association, a Rolls Royce Merlin engine from the private collection of the Somme Association 39-45, and Mr René COQUEL from Bapaume had on display a Dodge 6x6 and a Jeep.
Later the families went for an aerial visit of the Somme and Pas de Calais Battlefield and memorial sites kindly made possible by the Albert Meaulte Aeroclub. The day ended with a visit to the Somme Association 39-45 private museum.
- Mr Xavier DUQUESNE (Mayor of Achiet Le Petit), Mr Francois Venville, Mr Didier Labouré and the Town Council.
Officials who took part:
- Mr Jean Jacques COTTEL, Deputy of the 1st circonscription of Pas de Calais, Mr DUVERGE and Me DROMART
- Mr Xavier CZERWINSKI, Sub Prefect of the Pas de Calais
- The French "Armée de l' air", French Gendarmerie
Associations involved in the project:
- The "Achiet le Petit" and "Ribecourt La Tour" Band (Musicians)
- Somme Association 39-45, represented by their President Mr Pierre BEN, with the help of Mr Dany DHEILLY and other members
- A local Association of collectors: Président Florent Malvoisin
- Les gardiens de Lorette.
The Somme Association 39-45 (http://www.somme-aviation-39-45.fr/l_association.html) helped with the location the families. Mr Pierre Ben lent a Rolls Royce Merlin engine from his private collection.
Also invited and present:
- Dr DUCELLIER, author of many books about plane crashes in the north of France during WW2 (http://www.somme-aviation-39-45.fr/le_coin_des_livres.html)
- Mr Jocelyn LECLERCQ, President of the Association "Antiq Air" (http://www.aubers.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55%3Aantiqair&catid=45%3Ales-associations&Itemid=59&lang=en)
- Mr Laurent WIART (Regional Historian)
- Association du Mémorial de Rebecq, Belgium (http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/c22015.php), members of 550 Squadron Association (Mr Guy De Braeckeleer and Mr Wilfred Burie).
A special thanks to Anne Marie and all the people who helped to prepare the reception room and the lunch for such an unexpected crowd!!!
A Web TV report from Oxygen TV (local WEB TV) on the Tribute to LL836 in Achiet le Petit is available at the link shown:
http://oxygentv.fr/galerieVideos.php?idcategorie=2&idvideo=847&scrollpos=0x0x. The report from Achiet le Petit begins after about 2mins 2secs into the video clip, and lasts for just short of 3 minutes. It is mainly in French, of course, but there are brief interviews with some of the relatives of the aircrew from England and Canada.
The Association would like to express heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all who helped organise this commemoration for a 550 Squadron crew lost over France.
Below, a selection of photographs from the Commemoration Service in Achiet-Le-Petie, France in June 2015. Many thanks to Michel Lespagnol for making the pictures available.
A larger selection is available at: http://www.barbarejp.com/galerie/Achiet%20Le%20Petit/index.html.
Click on individual pictures to view the larger image.
|The speeches given at the ceremony by the Mayor and the Sub-Prefect|
Documents and Information Produced for the Commemoriation
In the reception hall a number of displays describing the events were available.
Thanks to Michel Lespagnol for providing these documents.