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Thread: Grave stone in Allainville-aux-Bois, Yvelines, France

  1. #11
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    I have found an additional piece of information regarding Atkin in Footprint on the Sands of Time by Oliver Coutton-Brock. It states that he was betrayed by Mayor of Artenay. Fresnes. Buchenwald.

    Another possible reason for his name being on a stone that might be worth considering is that he may have requested that his ashes were taken to join those of his crew who died after his own death? I have heard of other former airmen who have requested such a thing. In reality I'm not sure if it's actually possible to do that legally in France (I know it's not in some countries) so it could be that the additional stone in French was placed as a solution to get round that?

    Regards
    Linzee

  2. #12
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    Thanks for the photos.

    Both the stones look very clean so perhaps they were cleaned in recent times and both could therefore be contemporary.

    Not to flog a dead horse, you might pop of a letter to

    Personnel Records Unit,
    Library and Archives Canada,
    395 Wellington Street,
    Ottawa,
    ON K1A 0N3

    And ask for the service records of C A Moss and also the other RCAF men. If the other three men have died 20 years or more ago you may get information from their files.

    I have recently gotten file information including MRES report describing condition of the burial when found after hostilities so it might give some indications if there was a permanent marker in the immediate post war period.

    Rob's suggestion makes most sense I think.

    regards

    Dennis
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hi Norman,

    Forget about my off-board suggestion to contact the Mayor. He contacted you, meaning that he does not know. We'll try again. The plaque is worn, meaning old, but also clean. This grave is being cared for. I bet that this is done by a local lady, in her sixties, quite possibly a member of the family who helped the other two aviators evade. She cares for the grave when she sees to another grave here, possibly of her late husband, likely on a fixed moment in the week, possibly the Sunday morning. If you find her, you shall have full details. How to find her? Ask the major. If he/she does not know, then perhaps he/she can arrange a call for contact in a local newspaper. If you go this length, then you may be quite surprised about the rich harvest that is waiting there to be found. It is not too late for such actions, but it shall be, in a number of years.

    Regards,

    Rob

  4. #14
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    Default W A Steel 427 sqn

    Hi Guys

    ive read this thread with huge interest!

    my wife has been trying to discover details of her uncle wa steel of 427 sqn for some time, we've recently gone for it big time, we then cam accros this thread.

    William steel was indeed my wifes uncle, she knew of an ancestor that served with the RCAF that dies over france in 1944 but that was all. after tonights discoveries we're both quite emotional.

    we believe that 6 group were entertaing the germans with raids on their V1 depots at this time, they certainly were on the 5/6th of july 1944 and we believe that 427 sqn (or members of it) were involved in this, although im now not to sure if this was the case.

    has anyone any idea why "uncle william" was over france on this night? i know my wifes mum would love to know.

    in anticipation of your help i am very gratefull!

    rgds

    Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by namrondooh View Post
    I have some photographs of the Grave which I'm now reading from. The square white plaque looks bright and clean but the inscription is worn. It rests on the ground at the foot of the grave and has 5 lines of inscription upon it. Reading from top to bottom:


    ANOS LIBERATEURS
    At the begining of the next line there is something unredable but it could well the left side of "C"
    A. MOSS PILOTE
    H.A. ATKIN RADIO
    W STEELE MECHANIEN
    (5 WORDS UNREADABLE) 1944


    On the Head Stone, under a twin crest of the RCAF & RAF are the inscriptions:

    FLYING OFFICER
    C A MOSS
    PILOT
    ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
    5TH JULY 1944 AGE 21


    2206920 SERGEANT
    W.A. STEEL
    FLIGHT ENGINEER
    ROYAL AIR FORCE
    5TH JULY 1944 AGE 26

    My interest in this War Grave has come about through my earlier contact with nearby Longvilliers where a memorial has been kindly erected by the inhabitants of the Communes of Longvilliers and Rochefort in memory of a Halifax that crashed in the area on 3 June 1944. My father was the sole survivor. Several inhabitants are puzzled over the 3 names on the plaque at nearby Allainville Cemetery and the Mayor has written to ask if I could look into it. This I gladly accepted. I understand that local school children are visiting War Graves in the area and returning with many questions.

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    Hello Paul,
    2206920 Sergeant William Arthur Steel was a Flight Engineer on Halifax III LW166 call sign ZL-S. The 427(RCAF) Squadron aircraft was part of a 6 Group force of 102 bombers sent to destroy the marshalling yards at Villeneuve St George, Paris 4-5 July 1944. William Steel hallowed from Grimsby, Lincolnshire. I do not know what caused the crash but the location was some way S.W. of the target.
    Norman

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    Default W A Steel 427 sqn

    We've managed to find out mor info on W Steel. As mentioned previously, he's my wifes uncle!!

    We've discovered that his wife "Aunty Daps" is still alive and living in a nursing home in Grimsby area, shes suffering from old age. She never remarried and there were no kids.

    The story goes that william actually managed to bail out of the a/c but was shot during his decent. i dont know if this is true

    as we find out more we'll keep you posted.
    Last edited by pauldawn; 13th September 2008 at 12:07.

  7. #17
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    An extract from the Campaign Diary July 1944 of the happenings on 7/8 July 1944

    208 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos, mainly from No 5 Group but with some Pathfinder aircraft, attacked a flying-bomb storage dump in a group of tunnels (formerly used for growing mushrooms) at St Leu d'Esserent. The bombing was accurately directed on to the mouths of the tunnels and on to the approach roads, thus blocking access to the flying bombs stored there. German night fighters intercepted the bombing force and 29 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos were lost, 14.0 per cent of the force. No 106 Squadron, from Metheringham, lost 5 of its 16 Lancasters on the raid and No 630 Squadron, from East Kirkby, lost its commanding officer, Wing Commander WI Deas, who was flying his 69th operation. Wing Commander Deas was killed and is buried, with other crew members in a small cemetery at Omerville, north-west of Versailles. One member was taken prisoner.
    123 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups carried out an accurate raid on the railway yards at Vaires without the loss of any aircraft.
    106 aircraft of Nos 1, 3, 5 and 9No 3 Groups on a diversionary sweep almost to the coast of Holland, 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group dropping 'spoof' markers in support of the St Leu d'Esserent raid, 32 Mosquitos to Berlin and 9 to Scholven/Buer, 48 aircraft on RCM sorties or Resistance operations (no breakdown available), 83 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos were lost from the Berlin raid and 1 aircraft (type not recorded) was lost from a Resistance flight.
    Total effort for the night: 634 sorties, 34 aircraft (5.3 per cent) lost.

    Courtesy of:- www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/diary.html

    (I was particularly interested in the loss of Deas and his crew on this night)

    Stewart

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    Default More Info here

    Hi again Norman and all those who are interested.

    Today we received a copy of a letter rec'd by "Aunty Daps", William Steels wife, from the Air Ministry in 1946. It may go some way to explain one of your original questions regards this grave. It seems that "Aunty Daps" was in contact with F/O Siddall after the crash/war and he explained that he himself believed Atkins to have been a casualty of the crash, along with F/O Moss and Sgt Steel. We now know that Atkins turned up in a POW camp after a short stay at Buchenwald the concentration camp.

    We are in contact with a French gentleman called Georges Breure who actually saw the events of that night 4/5 July 1944 unfold including the plane crash itself. I also think Ive indentified the crash site from aerial photo's, ive asked Georges to confirm this for me.

    Norman, ill send you a copy of the Air Ministry letter if you give me your address.

    paul

    Quote Originally Posted by namrondooh View Post
    I have some photographs of the Grave which I'm now reading from. The square white plaque looks bright and clean but the inscription is worn. It rests on the ground at the foot of the grave and has 5 lines of inscription upon it. Reading from top to bottom:


    ANOS LIBERATEURS
    At the begining of the next line there is something unredable but it could well the left side of "C"
    A. MOSS PILOTE
    H.A. ATKIN RADIO
    W STEELE MECHANIEN
    (5 WORDS UNREADABLE) 1944


    On the Head Stone, under a twin crest of the RCAF & RAF are the inscriptions:

    FLYING OFFICER
    C A MOSS
    PILOT
    ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
    5TH JULY 1944 AGE 21


    2206920 SERGEANT
    W.A. STEEL
    FLIGHT ENGINEER
    ROYAL AIR FORCE
    5TH JULY 1944 AGE 26

    My interest in this War Grave has come about through my earlier contact with nearby Longvilliers where a memorial has been kindly erected by the inhabitants of the Communes of Longvilliers and Rochefort in memory of a Halifax that crashed in the area on 3 June 1944. My father was the sole survivor. Several inhabitants are puzzled over the 3 names on the plaque at nearby Allainville Cemetery and the Mayor has written to ask if I could look into it. This I gladly accepted. I understand that local school children are visiting War Graves in the area and returning with many questions.

  9. #19
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    Default Eye witness to the crash of Halifax LW166

    I have just received this interesting testimony from Mon. Georges Breure of Le Puy, France, eye witness to the crash of 427(RCAF)Squadron, Halifax LW166 which fell near Obville, France in July 1944. A colleague has kindly translated it for me.

    FRANCE JULY 4-5 1944
    " Night of July 4/5th 1944. As a "Refractaire" ( opposed to work in Germany and refusing to join the Forced Labor Factories) I was working in a farm under a false name. This was in Obville, which is located less than 4km from Allainville Aux Bois. I had received a job in that village as a farm yard worker. My job consisted of bringing hay, seeds etc.. to the horses. I also did some maintenance on the farmland. In this large farm there was also a blacksmith, a cowboy, a beefherd, four cart drivers, a shepherd, four workers and myself. There was a lady from Britanny and her son nicknamed "Marmiton" ("kitchen boy") who was 12. We were sleeping in a dormitory, with a shower. Our beds were changed every week. There was plenty of food and it was of high quality. Concerning drinks we could either choose our daily wine ration or have our homemade cider at will. On July 4th around midnight, we were suddenly woken up by a huge noise near the farm, not further than 100 meters. We went out, trying to understand what had happened and saw a big plane burning. It was impossible to get close to it. At dawn we got near the wreck, but German soldiers arrived and told us to get away. They surrounded the smoking aircraft with a fence. We could however see two or three burnt bodies which remained there all day. We later heard that other crew members bailed-out seven 7 kilometers away and that they had been hidden by people from the nearby village of Saint Martin de Brethencourt. I picked up a small part of a slightly burnt parachute near the wreck and I kept it safe as a war relic. I later wrote the date on the parachute, this is what helped me to find you on the internet. My cousin, who also lives at Le Puy and who witnessed this tragedy, confirms my testimony and my memory is still good " signed Georges


    La nuit du 4 au 5 juillet 1944. Cette année, en tant que réfractaire,( afin d’ éviter de partir en Allemagne comme STO) je travaillais, sous un nom d’emprunt dans une ferme à Obville même, village situé à au moins 4 kms d’Allainvlle aux Bois.J’étais dans cette ville en qualité de garçon de cour. Mon travail consistait en l’approvisionnement de fourrage, grains... pour les chevaux, boeufs cochons, et l’entretien du domaine. Dans cette ferme assez importante il y avait un forgeron, un vacher, un bouvier, quatre charretiers, un berger et sept hommes de peine et moi -même, plus le personnel de cuisine : une bretonne et son fils, dit le marmiton, âgé de 12 ans. Nous disposons d’un dortoir avec douche, notre literie était changée chaque semaine La nourriture y était abondante et de bonne qualité, pour la boisson, nous pouvions garder notre ration hebdomadaire en vin, ou de cidre (fait à la ferme), à volonté. Le 4 juillet vers minuit, nous nous avons été réveillé en sursaut par un très grand bruit, une explosion à proximité de la ferme, à 100 mètres au plus, nous sommes sortis pour essayer de comprendre et nous avons aperçu un immense avion en flammes, il était impossible d’approcher. Dès le lever du jour nous nous sommes approchés de l’épave, mais des soldats allemands sont arrivés et nous ont fait "déguerpir" ils ont entouré l’épave encore fumante d’une barrière; nous avions pu néanmoins apercevoir 2 ou 3 corps carbonisés qui sont restés là toute la journée. Nous avons appris par la suite que certains membres de l’équipage avaient pu sauter avant le crash à environ 7 kilomètres et qu’ils avaient été cachés par des personnes du village voisin de Saint Martin de Brethencourt J’ai récupéré un morceau d’un parachute légèrement carbonisé à proximité de l’épave que j’ai conservé comme une relique, j’avais noté la date sur ce bout de parachute, ce qui m’a permis de vous retrouver grâce à internet.Mon cousin, qui habite aussi au Puy et qui a vécu ce drame avec moi confirme ce que je vous ai narré ici ma mémoire était bien fidèle. Georges
    Last edited by namrondooh; 13th November 2008 at 17:43. Reason: adding original testimony

  10. #20
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    hi norman ( and Mon Georges)

    The flight eng to this a/c was william steel, my wifes uncle. to read this testimony is an emotional experience for her. we only became very aware of William Steel 2 weeks ago and in that time we have embarked on quite a journey.

    a family myth has been put to rest. the family, it seems, has believed that William bailed out but was shot on his trip to earth, this is clearly not the case. two people died on that plane Moss and Steel, the people Georges witnessed to be on that plane were indeed those people.

    William married Adelphine (Aunty Daps) in 1941, we believe he was already in the RAF (R) at this time. he was a steel worker so he wouldnt have been allowed to join the armed forces having embarked on his job as a steel worker, as steel workers were reserved occupations. Personally id love to know why he ended up flying (afterall he was a reservist) - he was a reserved occupation so he would have escaped active service if he chose to. Or was it a case that after the losses incurred by bomber command (in particular 427 sqn_ in Jan 1944) that rules were broken hence a possible call up.

    this has been an interesting journey for us. not only have we been able to put together a snippet of Williams life but also we've been able to learn a little about that greadfull night in question thanks to Georges Breures testimony. MY WIFES FAMILY WOULD LIKE TO THANK GEoRGE PERSONALLY!

    Also during research we've managed to discover some history regards those crew that bailed out - Fascinating stuff!

    Norman, Id like to thank you personally for your help in this quest. Seeing as your in contact with Georges I'd ask you to pass on my gratitude, but particulary that of my wifes family and in particular "Aunty Daps" (Williams wife). I will try and get in touch with Georges myself again. But please pass on my gratitude.

    many thanks to all those of you that have contributed to this thread

    Paul Seymour




    Quote Originally Posted by namrondooh View Post
    I have just received this interesting testimony from Mon. Georges Breure of Le Puy, France, eye witness to the crash of 427(RCAF)Squadron, Halifax LW166 which fell near Obville, France in July 1944. It came written in French and a colleague has kindly translated it for me.



    " Night of July 4/5th 1944. As a "Refractaire" ( opposed to work in Germany and refusing to join the Forced Labor Factories) I was working in a farm under a false name. This was in Obville, which is located less than 4km from Allainville Aux Bois. I had received a job in that village as a farm yard worker. My job consisted of bringing hay, seeds etc.. to the horses. I also did some maintenance on the farmland. In this large farm there was also a blacksmith, a cowboy, a beefherd, four cart drivers, a shepherd, four workers and myself. There was a lady from Britanny and her son nicknamed "Marmiton" ("kitchen boy") who was 12. We were sleeping in a dormitory, with a shower. Our beds were changed every week. There was plenty of food and it was of high quality. Concerning drinks we could either choose our daily wine ration or have our homemade cider at will. On July 4th around midnight, we were suddenly woken up by a huge noise near the farm, not further than 100 meters. We went out, trying to understand what had happened and saw a big plane burning. It was impossible to get close to it. At dawn we got near the wreck, but German soldiers arrived and told us to get away. They surrounded the smoking aircraft with a fence. We could however see two or three burnt bodies which remained there all day. We later heard that other crew members bailed-out seven 7 kilometers away and that they had been hidden by people from the nearby village of Saint Martin de Brethencourt. I picked up a small part of a slightly burnt parachute near the wreck and I kept it safe as a war relic. I later wrote the date on the parachute, this is what helped me to find you on the internet. My cousin, who also lives at Le Puy and who witnessed this tragedy, confirms my testimony and my memory is still good " signed Georges Breure

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