Honour at last for D-Day air gunner shot down in Normandy

AN RAF crew shot down in Normandy three days after D-Day is to be honoured, 66 years after the biggest sea invasion ever mounted freed Europe from the Nazis. Seven heroic airmen aboard a Lancaster bomber were scrambled to wipe out one of the biggest Luftw

AN RAF crew shot down in Normandy three days after D-Day is to be honoured, 66 years after the biggest sea invasion ever mounted freed Europe from the Nazis.

Seven heroic airmen aboard a Lancaster bomber were scrambled to wipe out one of the biggest Luftwaffe bases and rail links in France, but they crashed in a forest, leaving six dead and just one survivor.

A total of 108 Lancasters, the planes immortalised in the 1955 movie The Dam Busters, were shot down in the night raid to Etampes, near Paris, in June, 1944, which killed more than 1,000 Germans and 141 civilians.

Next month after long last, French historians will unveil a monument at Lyons-la-Foret in memory of the brave crew, which included Dagenham man, air gunner Joseph Reed.


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The ceremony will also honour the 10,000 military personnel killed or captured after 175,000 Allied troops from Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway, Poland and France unleashed the biggest amphibious and airborne offensive of all time to bring down the Reich.

The 210cm by 85cm plaque for the 49th Squadron airmen will also be a poignant testament to the 6,000 vessels which crashed in Normandy between D-Day and the country's liberation on August 31.

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