Memorial to wartime bomber crews unveiled

Mayor honours 11 air crew killed as British and American planes shot down

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A memorial plaque has been unveiled on the seafront in a Normandy town to honour 11 British and US aircrew killed supporting Allied forces and Resistance fighters after the D-Day landings in 1944.

Residents and serving personnel joined mayor Bertrand Sorre as he unveiled the plaque at Saint-Pair-sur-Mer in Manche.

The plaque is in memory of the 11 British, American and Canadian crew who died when two aircraft were shot down over the Cotentin coast.

It is sited on the seafront above the beach at Kairon and beside a German blockhaus, part of the Nazi Atlantic Wall.

The two planes were a US B-24 Liberator bomber – named Spare Parts – which was on a bombing mission to Troarn to support the advancing Allied ground forces and an RAF Halifax V bomber.

Four of the Liberator crew of 10 were killed when the plane crash-landed on the beach at Kairon on July 18.

As the pilot went for the crash-landing his navigator, Lt Pete Igoe, from Chicago, destroyed equipment and charts that could have been useful to the enemy.

The Halifax had been on a Special Operations Executive mission code-named Operation Shipwright dropping supplies to the Resistance in the Upper Loire area.

All the crew died when it crashed at sea off Saint-Pair on July 18/19. Only three bodies were recovered although the Harrington Museum roll of honour in the UK says one of the crew survived and was taken prisoner but was later thrown off a cliff by a German soldier.

Mayor Mr Sorre was joined by members of the crews’ families from Britain and the US, and USAF personnel in France from Ramstein Air Base – people of the same age as those killed in 1944 – and French and British war veterans.

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