70th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony

This took place in Gannes on 21 June 2014, with ceremonies in the cemetery and at the memorial stone near the crash site, then a reception at the village school. In attendance were elected officials from the area, members of veterans' associations, local people and seven relatives of the dead airmen:

Michelle was accompanied by a friend from Australia and Anne by her husband.

A good account of the occasion will be found here on the website of the Association des Sauveteurs d'Aviateurs Alliés. Some supplementary photographs of the day are shown below.

Also in attendance were a kilted pipe band from Amiens and some preserved jeeps to commemorate the 1944 Liberation:


Some of those awaiting the start of the ceremony:


Isabelle Duff laid her own floral tribute at her great-great-uncle's tombstone before the official ceremony:


Those assembled reflected in the war graves plaque outside the cemetery:


The procession enters the ceremony, led by Jacques Bulcke, retired chief of the Saint-Just-en-Chaussée fire service:


The standard-bearers head towards the war memorial:


Where they wait for a minute's silence:


In the procession was Geneviève Le Berre, a much-decorated member of the wartime Resistance who conducted stranded airmen from Paris to Spain:


Chris Dawson places commemorative crosses, while Michelle McDonagh waits with her flowers:


The ceremony was attended by all ages:


After the graveside ceremony - Mike Duff, Ian Duff, Isabelle Duff, Chris Dawson, Michelle McDonagh and Anne Boodt:


The house which lost its roof in the crash:


Michelle McDonagh and Ian Duff at the crash site, HK559 coming down in the field behind after damaging the nearby house:


The memorial stone after the ceremony there, beyond is the field where the crash occurred, currently growing a crop of barley:


Anne Boodt, Chris Dawson, Michelle McDonagh, Ian Duff, Isabelle Duff and Mike Duff:


Paulette Rodier, the second wife of the Mr Rodier referred to in the speech at the 50th anniversary ceremony, lived in Gannes in 1944 and experienced the shocking aftermath of the crash. She still lives near the station and welcomed the visiting relatives - here she is with Chris Dawson:


At the reception, Mike Duff with Geneviève Le Berre:


Still piping, but the solemn formality is over: