It was announced today that the first French war memorial in an English cathederal will be unveiled at York Minster on 20th October 2011. The memorial to 346 Guyenne and 347 Tunisie French Air Force within RAF Bomber Command commemorates the only two French heavy bomber squadrons of WWll. H.M. The Queen and French President Nicholas Sarkozy are among many dignatories who have been invited to this event which will attract over 1000 French and British veterans and serving personnel. The date is the 66th anniversary of the two french squadrons leaving RAF Elvington, near York, to return to a newly liberated France in 1945. Over 2000 French airmen were based at Elvington during 1944 and 1945. Amongst their first missions was to bomb their own country in preparations for the Normandy Invasion and 50% of all French aircrew perished during bombing operations particularly in the Ruhr and Berlin. Many married local girls and the connection with Elvington and York remains very strong to this day.
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