The annual Remembrance Sunday Services will take place at the French Memorial Elvington Village and at the Museum’s Station Chapel on Sunday 14th November.
Proceedings start in Elvington with a short service at Elvington Parish Church at 10:30am, with the Parade of Scouts / Guides departing at 10:45am, with the Band accompaniement, to the Memorial to RAF Elvington’s wartime French Squadron’s, where the Service will commence at 11am with the two minute silence.
This is the 53rd Act of Remembrance since the memorial was erected in 1957 and we are delighted that the French contingent attending on the day includes two veterans from those times, Andre Hautot and Lucien Mallia. The introduction will be given by Paul Bogeart, President of the Association des Anciens et Amis des Groupes Lourds. Numbers of surviving veterans are dwindling alarmingly now, so it is great that there are some who are still able to make the journey from France – Lucien Mallia is now in his 89th year, having survived 23 missions with 346 Guyenne Squadron.
Lucien is a survivor also of the infamous Operation Gisela, where the Luftwaffe ambushed the returning bomber streams, and it was the Halifax on which he was the rear gunner that was attacked on that night of 3rd / 4th March 1945 by a JU88 on approach to land. Luckily, they were alerted in time and managed to divert to Croft, but the JU88 came in for another attack on the airfield and in so doing, clipped a tree and crashed into the farmhouse on Elvington Lane, becoming the last German aircraft to crash on British soil and another episode of Elvington’s history.
In the light of the new era of Anglo-French military co-operation, it is heartening to realise that this relationship has been in existence here at Elvington since the war and the French veterans and their families remain very grateful that this mark of respect for their contribuion has been made every year since the memorial was erected.
There will be representatives from RAF Linton on Ouse and RAF Leeming at both ceremonies.
Following the proceedings at Elvington, there will be the tradional service at the Yorkshire Air Museum Station Chapel at 12:30pm. All visitors are very welcome to join in this occasion, which will be followed by the wreath laying ceremony in the Memorial Garden, making this a very poignant time to make a visit to the Museum.
Lest we forget.