Letter from S. Gierson



Letter from S. Gierson


A letter referring to the crash of the Lancaster at Courboin. Two coffins were made and the airmen were buried in the graveyard with a full ceremony.




Temporal Coverage



One typewritten sheet


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June 23rd.
Dear Sir,
As Monsieur Michel – the schoolmaster – does not know English he has asked me to reply to your letter. On May 3rd, the plane came down in flames, there had been a fight with the German planes, and no parachutists came down. The villagers of Courboin did all in their power to pick up all they could before the Germans arrived but no souvenirs or belongings of the crew remained. There were two coffins made by the carpenter and Mr. Michel determined that a service should take place whether the Germans approved or not. The priest consented to hold the service, in which he said “All honour must be paid to the memory of these young men who crashed in the woods to save our village.”
The coffins were borne by eight men and the little church was crowded as never before, people came from miles and the grave was covered with flowers. Someone placed a small British flag on the graves with the words “In Memory of our Brave Allies.”
A German officer was present and saluted the coffins and nothing disagreeable happened during the service.
M. Michel has photographs of the grave and the place where the bomber came down and would be pleased to send them to all the families.
The tomb is looked after by the children of the village. M. Michel wishes to place a tablet on the schoolroom, with the names of the crew so that the children may salute it every day. Also he would like a photograph of each airman, to place over the tablet.
I must add that M. Michel was arrested next day by the Gestapo and imprisonned [sic] for three days on account of his sympathy to the Allies and the funeral service. When he was released he was a marked man, luckily for him and all of us the Germans were driven out on the 27th of August. On May 6th a Memorial Service was held in memory of these young heroes.
I remain, Sir,
Yours truly,
(signed) – Helen S. Grierson.



S Gierson, “Letter from S. Gierson,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 17, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/28072.

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