R.A.F plane crash La Morenchie

Rédigé par Alain dans la rubrique Lieu de mémoire, Opération spéciale

During the night of 20th august 1944 an RAF Stirling carrying arms and supplies for resistance groups to the north west of Toulouse (Maquis Bigourdans) crashed killing all six of its crew. The exact cause of the crash was never verified but it is believed that their navigation instruments might have been affected due to a heavy electric storm in the area at the time.

The men who lost their lives were all from the RAF Volunteer Reserve :

  • E.A. Taylor, Pilot, aged 30 
  • C.V. Mason, Navigator, aged 30 
  • R. Dutton, Air Gunner, aged 33 
  • G.J. Elliott, Wireless Operator/ Air gunner, aged 24 
  • R.V. Cooling, Bomb Aimer, aged 23 
  • A.A. Beale, Flight Engineer, aged 24

Their operation was part of the S.O.E.'s objective to drop arms and supplies for resistance groups in the south west of France.

The men who died were buried at the cemetery at Excideuil on  the 23rd august, four days after the liberation of nearby Périgueux. The funeral was attended by the Maire and representatives from the Resistance. The coffins were draped in Union Jacks made from parachutes and a guard of honour was formed by the FFI. The area having recently been liberated meant that hundreds of local people followed the cortege through the town carrying flowers and flags.

There is a monument in memory of the aviators at Las Bouygeas near Saint-German-des-Pres (link)
The links below are for the website 'aerosteles', a french site dedicated to all airmen of all nationalities who have lost their lives over France. The site consists of photographic contributions from people who have visited monuments (steles) that are in France and Belgium that are in memory to lost airmen.

Here is the link:

Every year on the first sunday after the 20th august a joint ceremony is held at Excideuil and Saint-Germain in honour of the six aviators and three local resistants, André Dumas part of the FTP who was injured on the 1st march 1944 and later shot by the Milice at Limoges on the 25th april 1944 and René Geoffroy part of the FTP Fanlac who was killed in combat, both who are buried at the cemetery at Saint-Germain and René Donadille also part of the FTP who died in combat on the 28 june 1944 at La Verdenie where there is a monument in his honour.

2012 ; Dordogne libre (Louisette Joudinaud & Alain Vaugrenard)