-A pretty walk can sometimes make you think about Britain and
France's shared history. The struggle for peace is not always the
rhetoric we hear on television, on the radio or read in the newspapers.
Sometimes life is at stake and that was the case here near the Gèverefuge in the Vercors.......
Un clic de souris fait
A mouse click enlarges the photo.
Starting from Autrans with snowshoes, or you can leave your car in the car park at Gève if the road is clear.
We take the path which leads to the 'Bec de l'Orient' and goes past the
Gève refuge . On the way, we pass a signpost that provides guidance for
walkers. This place is called 'L'Avion', and a monument is indicated....
Curiosity led us to this tragic and moving place .
During the last war, the resistance, hiding in what is now a shelter
for walkers, relied on air drops by the British Royal Air Force for
their supplies. This mountainous terrain is difficult enough, but on
the night of February 2nd, 1944, there was a snowstorm and thick fog,
the plane that brought weapons and ammunition for the French resistance
in theC3 shelter , crashed violently into the mountain causing a fire so intense that rescue attempts were unsuccessful.
Now we discover with much emotion, what remains of this unlucky aircraft
. A monument has been made with great respect. We lower our voices and
read this simple panel and then look at the plate with seven names
engraved on it. Seven airmen who gave their lives for our peace.
Returning to the shelter, we see these same names on another plate
which before we had barely seen.
During the night of the 2nd February 1944, Flying
Officer Gerald Carroll, Sergeant Robert Clement, Sergeant Kenneth
Radford, Sergeant Peter Thompson and Sergeant Gordon Woodrow of the
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and Flying Officer Arthur Reid
and Flying Sergeant James Taylor of the Royal Canadian Air Force
perished when their plane, aHalifax of 138 Squadron, RAF, crashed near the Bec de l'Orient in the Vercors.
Next day, the bodies were deposited in a nearby
grotto and then covered with snow. On the 22nd of August 1944, they are
buried in the civil cemetery of Autrans.
A plate was placed on the wall of the shelter at Gève in memory of
these seven airmen. A memorial stone, erected on the site of the
accident, was inaugurated on the 2nd of August, 2004.