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

Cyril Beech

Hugh Henderson

Ralph Woods

Robert James Melville

Arthur Stanley Jones

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


Recent posts

The Great Escape – 80th anniversary

One of many POW camps in Europe was Stalag Luft 3, run by the Luftwaffe specifically for Aircrew PoWs.  Ironically, this one was built specifically to house the troublesome PoWs inclined to try to escape. There were escape attempts from many PoW camps but The Great Escape is most well-known because it was the largest […]


A Walk for Michael – Part 8

Today brings us to the end of week 9. Sadly this has been a rather unproductive week.   Monday started off with me waking up with terrible back pain, resulting in me calling my doctor who prescribed some painkillers. This didn’t have the desired effect and as such I had to have 2 days off […]


A Walk for Michael – Part 7

Today brings the end of updates for February! Where has the start of the year gone? Once again thank you to everyone who has kindly supported and donated, I am well on my way to my target of £1 per mile. This week, I have had a couple of days off walking due to a […]