* April 17th, 2023: Unveiling ceremony of the Memorial of Givry *

* May 4th, 2023: Commemoration of Allied Victory and Fly-past of a Lancaster *

* May 17th, 2023: Memorial of Rebecq - Solemn Tribute *

RAF aircraft's crash sites in Province of Hainaut:
La Plaigne

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Last update: 31/01/22

Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence

* To the 115 Squadron *
* To the crew of LL943-KO-C *
* To the monument erected in remembrance *
* Cemetery where rest the crew *
* Other cemetery where rest the crew *

Crash site of Lancaster LL943-KO-C

cest raf squadron
Unit: 115 Squadron
Aircraft: Lancaster
Code: LL943-KO-C
Base: Witchford
Mission: Aulnoye
Incident: Shot down by German fighter

Location: (Prov. Hainaut)



On 18 July 1944 at 22:28, a British Royal Air Force (RAF) bomber - the LANCASTER LL943 of 115 Squadron - took off from the Witchford base near Cambridge, UK, with the mission of bombing on the large railway node at Aulnoye (commune of Aulnoye-Aimeries), near Maubeuge, in the department of Nord, in the region Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Although the railway installations at Aulnoye suffered considerable damage, the local population unfortunately paid a heavy price as a result of this raid: 17 civilian casualties were counted.
The lives of the seven airmen came to a halt when their four-engine aircraft returned to its Witchford base. This return normally passed through Leuze and reached the North Sea at Oostduinkerke; the aircraft was therefore not to fly over the State Forest of Flines (which straddles the Franco-Belgian border). It is at the height of Valenciennes that he was intercepted and hit by a night fighter of the Luftwaffe and, therefore, diverted from his route. It was about 1:15 on 19 July 1944, when the bomber burst into flames in the State Forest, his debris being scattered throughout the territory of Maubray, on the border of Flines and Laplaigne.
Except for the body of Sergeant SIMMONDS, which remained almost intact thanks to the entanglement of his machine-gun turret in a tree, and that of Second Lieutenant Fraser HOLLENBACK, who could also be identified, the bodies of the other crew members were found charred and shredded. The remains of Sergeant SIMMONDS were immediately buried in the wood, in the greatest secrecy, near the crash site, thanks to the rapid intervention of local resistance who operated in secret from the Germans; Upon her release, she was transferred to the Laplaigne cemetery. As for those of his companions of misfortune, they took place in the cemetery of Saint-Roch, of Valenciennes.

The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Aircrew Remembered

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