2017 – Montcony – Linton Twinning Visit

LINTON CREW HONOURED IN FRANCE SEVENTY- FIVE YEARS LATER

The anniversary of the Halifax W1018 Mk II of 78 Squadron from Linton on Ouse brought down on 23 October 1942 over Montcony in Burgundy has been remembered for many years in this small village. The four Merlin engine bomber crashed close to the main road and the crew of eight were all buried in the churchyard close to a fourteenth century chateau. Also a small obelisk and photograph by the road honours the sacrifice of six British airmen and two Canadians. Two of this crew were just past 30 years and the rest barely 20 years old. Under a maple tree, symbol of the local Resistance, a bench, Yorkshire rose bush and plaque provided by Linton Parish Council are to be found near where the village school and war memorial stand.

This year two surviving veterans, one with the Legion d’Honneur attended together with MP, Euro-MP, Sous Prefect and local Mayors (principal politicians) while RAF veterans, led by a group from Switzerland and Lyon, provided the standard bearers. Flags representing the local Resistance groups were also there in large numbers. Wreaths were laid at three locations and the brass band from the nearby town of Louhans performed the Last Post and marching music. British Legion Crosses were laid on the graves by Jan, myself, and other English friends from the area.

The Linton planes were part of a large 122 plane raid that night heading for Genoa in Italy to prevent supplies reaching Rommel for his defence at the battle of El Alamein in North Africa. Chaz Bowyer in “Bomber Barons” estimates that at this time the chances of surviving a 30 mission ‘tour’ was one in three! On this ‘ice-cream’ mission over the Alps, Guy Gibson VC and Ron Middleton VC and were more lucky than W1018 on this same raid but the latter was killed on his return from Italy just over a month later on his 28th trip. Dam Buster Gibson flew 177 ‘ops’ but died over Holland as late as 19 September 1944.

Jan was entrusted with four brass items to bring back from Montcony for authentication as fuel injector parts from one of the RR Merlin engines. Elvington Air Museum has the only Handley Page Halifax Mark III reconstructed with Pegasus engines in this country and, possibly, these could go towards a Halifax Mark II.

Lest we forget: it will soon be 11th November!

Bruce Spaven -Easingwold

From an article submitted to the Easingwold Advertiser and printed in 4.11.17 edition. Posted with permission.

 

Montcony Twinning Visit

Linton on Ouse Parish Council hosted a further twinning visit between Montcony and Linton on 28th July. A large French contingent from the Bressane area of Burgundy came by coach to Linton on Ouse.

Image 22

As part of a busy schedule during their six day visit to England, the group came up from Lincoln before visiting York , Elvington and Linton on Ouse. They visited the RAF base and the Memorial Room by kind invitation of the station commander, Group Captain Ian Laing, before laying wreaths at the Cairn in the village and being welcomed to afternoon tea in the village hall.

 

 

IMG_0435

They had come to honour the eight airmen who had left Linton on the evening of 23rd October 1942 and had died when their aircraft crashed in the village of Montcony, in Burgundy. The events which followed led to the formation of the Bressane resistance under the leadership of Henri Vincent, who was the village schoolmaster in Montcony. This has been marked since the end of World War Two by commemorations in Montcony, which have grown each year.

Image 25

After visiting the Memorial room, the visitors inspected the Yorkshire rose planted at the gates of RAF Linton the last time they came. At Linton Village Cairn, tributes were laid by relatives of some of the men who died, as well as by Sylvie Monin-Badey, chair of the local Souvenirs Francais group in the Montcony area, Group Captain Ian Laing, the Station Commander, and Mike Croft Chair of Linton Parish Council. Flags representing different Resistance groups had been brought from Burgundy, by special permission , for the ceremony and the French and English flags were flown as well as the National Anthems played after the Last Post and Reveille. Many of the comments in the visitors book later referred to the moving ceremony, which had been led by Padre Sandy Gall.

IMG_0392

Cakes for the afternoon tea had been provided by Easingwold Country Market and the Ladies of Linton served tea and coffee to some 80+ guests in the village hall, while the visitors were able to chat with members of the Linton and Montcony Twinning Association and villagers. Photographs from the time of the crash and the events since, including photos from the visits made from Linton to Montcony over the past eight years, were on display – as was the seedling tree, presented at three inches high on their last visit two years ago, and which had now grown to a sapling of 4 feet tall. It had come from the Memorial Garden in Montcony established by the Mayor, M. Reme Chatot, and was from an Acer tree there symbolising the Resistance. It is hoped to plant it out with other memorial trees, in Linton the next time visitors come from Montcony.

Image 21

After speeches affirming friendship, and grateful thanks to all who had helped to make the day happen, Sylvie Monin- Badey presented Mike Croft and the people of Linton with a letter of appreciation from the Mayor of Montcony, and a plate depicting the Chapon de Bresse in traditional colours. Mike Croft presented the people of Montcony with framed photographs of Linton Village hall to mark and remember their visit. It was a warm and friendly atmosphere greatly appreciated by all.

As they say ‘Time passes, but the memories remain’. So it will be with memories of their visit.

Jan Jauncey
Linton on Ouse

Montcony annual remembrance

From: Jan Jauncey

Sunday October 27th 2013 saw many of those who had travelled to Linton earlier in the summer meet up again – but this time in Montcony – for the annual act of remembrance at the crash site just outside the little village.

Some pictures of the event:

More warm greetings from Montcony (our twin village)

From: Sylvie Monin-Badey, Montcony

It is said in the book entitled “The Wit and Opinions of Douglas Jerrold” (1859) that “The Best thing I know between France and England is – the sea”.

We both know there is more than the sea !

There are our friendships, memorials, ceremonies, commemorations, and twinning – warm exchanges stemming from the 23rd October 1942 tragedy during which 8 RAF & RCAF airmen died. This Halifax aircraft crash has a very special meaning for us, even after 71 years.

Time passes but the memories remain.

Your R.A.F. airmen and Linton-on-Ouse villagers gave us such a warm welcome, we have to express our appreciation and sincere thanks to Mrs Jan Jauncey and the Linton twinning group, the school French club, Mr Brian Marston, Mr David Cooper the Station Commander, Mr Fred Dawson, Mr Geoff Woods, Mr Alan Mauby, and to the Hall family especially Sgt Georges Chambers’ niece and the Pennington’s – family friends of Denis Teague – as they had travelled such a long way to be with us at Linton.

The French side was composed of:

  • The flagbearer who represented the former resistants of Louhans, called “The second batallion of resistant soldiers (2nd BCP);
  • Two members of the RAFA Association branches in Lyon and Geneva;
  • Three Chevaliers de l’Ordre National du Mérite (three Knights of the National Merit Order – This Order was created by General de Gaulle in 1963);
  • Some members of the Souvenir Français association;
  • Mrs Valerie Jacquesson, the Montcony school teacher;
  • Some members of the two Montcony associations namely : “The Souvenirs-Memories twinning association” and “Montcony Loisirs association” that is in charge of the villagers’ entertainments;
  • Another participating association was “Les Amis de Sornay” (History group);

Our visit, on Tuesday 6th August 2013,  importantly symbolized our Linton-on-Ouse – Montcony twinning for friendship and “Entente cordiale”.

Thank you to all!

Further greetings from Montcony and messages of appreciation

Sylvie Monin-Badey wrote in to say:

I thank you very much for your gifts and your warm welcome at school, and at the RAF airfield. All my thanks to Mr Fred DAWSON and Mr David COOPER.  They made us a very successful visit.

I hope you will take care and keep an eye on my rose bush, it is “in my heart”, very precious in my memories.

Thank you again for your lovely and warm welcome and for making the whole visit happen!

 

 

Janine Darphin wrote:

Thank you very much for this wonderful trip.

Today, I still feel nostalgic for your country.

 

 

Vic Pennington wrote:

Many thanks once again for such a wonderful day.

Vic and Maureen

 

Ken Hall wrote:

Once again, thank you so much for inviting us up to Linton, it was amazing to be able to see the base and meet yourself and the French group. They are so full of enthusiasm!

Warm greetings from Montcony (our twin village)

PM229965-0008-6013-B9EE-92D0B0927C8B-01
As an inhabitant of  MONTCONY and a member of the MONTCONY-LOISIRS Association, I wanted to send you a few lines in English to express our warmest thanks about your generous hospitality last Tuesday. But please excuse me in advance : I might damage your language a bit…

The President, M. Jean-Paul CHATOT and all of us have been immensely touched by your warm welcome.

When we were children, we were regularly told “the story of the crash” by our parents and grandparents. This tragic event has created a bond between our two villages forever…
Together with Mme Sylvie MONIN-BADEY, President of the SOUVENIRS-MEMORIES Association and Mrs Jan JAUNCEY, we had thought of this trip for several years… Thanks to all of you, it had become a reality and it was a moment filled with great emotion.
Thank you so much for your kindness.

Yours sincerely.
Mme J. DEGRANGE
MONTCONY
France
P1010262 P1010250 P1010237 P1010228 P1010222 P1010206 P1010200 P1010185 P1010177 P1010173 P1010171

Montcony Twinning for Friendship

LINTON ON OUSE – MONTCONY TWINNING for FRIENDSHIP
Amitie Cordiale

A large group of French people from the area around Montcony in Burgundy (where a plane from Linton crashed on October 23rd 1942 and led to the forming of the French resistance in that area) will visit Linton on

Tuesday 6th August 2013.

We are meeting them at the school and then the guardroom of RAF Linton on Ouse when they will go to the Memorial room for an hour, plant a Yorkshire rose at the Main gate and then have English Afternoon Tea in the Officers Mess.

Relatives of some of the airmen from the plane will be travelling to Linton also.

A seedling from the symbolic ‘Resistance tree’ in Montcony’s memorial garden, will be planted in Linton to commemorate the visit.

LEST WE FORGET:

October 21st saw a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the loss of a plane & crew which took off from Linton during WW2, and crashed near the village of Montcony in Burgundy. A small group from the villages of Linton, Tholthorpe and RAF Linton on Ouse attended along with RAF representatives from 78 Squadron (RAF Benson) and RAF representatives serving in Germany.

On 23rd October 1942 a Halifax bomber set off from Linton, for Northern Italy. It crashed just before 10pm in France, south of Dijon, on the edge of a small village called MONTCONY in the Bressane area of Burgundy. The crew of six British and two Canadians were all killed. This was in occupied France, mid way between two major Gestapo-held towns.

The village schoolteacher, Henri Vincent, and others, assembled the bodies in the local school, found a Union Jack and laid them in state. Over 3,000 local people, including the Bishop of Autun, filed past the coffins before the funeral, which was held with great honour and dignity, despite opposition from the Vichy. Local children sang our National Anthem as the airmen were buried in Montcony’s churchyard.

Reprisals by the Nazis soon followed – including clearing the area of all debris and parts of the plane, and preventing local girls who’d sung our National Anthem, from attending high school again. Many local people suffered in different ways. As a result, the French Resistance grew in that area, and although painful at the time, the fight for freedom which this started has been celebrated ever since. As they say: ‘Years Pass, but faithfulness remains’.

October 21st saw a special ceremony in Montcony to mark the 70th anniversary of the loss of this plane & crew. As usual it drew crowds from a wide area and several hundred people were there. This year it started with a church service taken jointly by the local priest and the present deputy Bishop of Autun.  The sight of the flags from the many local groups of the Resistance being carried into the small, packed, church to the strains of the SANCTUS from Carl Jenkin’s ‘Mass for Peace’ brought a lump to the throat. Bible readings in French and English marked the first time for many years that English had been heard in the church, and in the cemetery later the English National Anthem was sung again.

Family friends of the co-pilot (Denis Teague) laid flowers and the Parish Council from Linton sent a wreath to be laid at the crash site with crosses for each of the eight graves. French tributes were laid on behalf of the government, the local mayor and the local district.

On the wall of the local primary school there is a memorial to Henri Vincent, who went on to become a charismatic leader of the local Resistance; A cross was also laid there on behalf of Linton on Ouse village primary school.  It was very moving to see the tribute of chrysanthemums laid jointly by two surviving Resistants who had served with him, one of whom went on to lead the group in Louhans and survived the concentration camp at Buchenwald.

Next to Montcony’s school now is a memorial garden and children’s play area. A Yorkshire Rose was presented to the Mayor on behalf of the village of Linton, to be planted in the memorial garden. It is hoped to plant a ‘twin’ rose at the gates of RAF Linton on Ouse later

Twinning arrangements are underway between the villages of Montcony and Linton, and contact between the local primary schools has been established. More than 50 locals from the Montcony area are planning to visit York and Linton next August.

Jan Jauncey

Linton-Montcony Twinning group