Stirling E215 AA-M 

On March 4th 1944 an RAF Stirling E215 AA-M  from 75 (NZ) Squadron left the military base at Mepal in Cambridgeshire, with seven men on board, going on a mission to deliver firearms by parachute to the French Resistance, in the district of Orcival. They took off at 8:51 pm.

On getting above the Massif Central, the plane was suddenly caught in a snowstorm and it crashed on the country lane D25 which leads to le Mont-Dore.

At the bottom of the valley, stands the 12th century basilica of Orcival, and in front, just a few hundred yards up, there’s a remarkable vantage point looking on to the volcanic Rocks ‘Tuilières et Sanadoire’.

A memorial in Volvic stone stands with a propeller attached, on the left-hand side of the lane as you go up, with a plaque offered by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) paying homage to the “the six English airmen for their bravery”. There are no names.

They were between 20 and 29 years old. Two of them were married. Four of them from New-Zealand. Sergeants, chief-Sergeant, Flight Officers. Colin Armstrong, the Mid-Upper Gunner, didn’t die in the crash. He was made a prisoner and spent the rest of the war in Dalag Luft and Stalag VIII/357.

Raymond Watson https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/229599/

Cyril Beech https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/201780

Hugh Henderson https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/212637

Ralph Woods https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/231180

Robert James Melville https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/219208

Arthur Stanley Jones https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/214882

Thank you.

In May wild orchids can be seen in the ditch, and above your memorial, high above, invariably, a lark is singing.

Written by Dr Fabienne Bonnet

 

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