On 16 February 1944 a Royal Air Force Short Stirling Bomber of 199 Sqn took off from RAF Lakenheath to drop supplies to the Resistance in the Dordogne. Sadly after fulfilling its mission the aircraft crashed into an area near Grun Bordas, between Perigueux and Bergerac killing all 7 members of the aircrew. Each year on 16 February the villagers and various Associations gather at the memorial to remember these brave and young airmen of the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year and on a glorious sunny day approximately 100 villagers and representatives of the Royal Air Forces Association Sud Ouest Branch and Ancien Combatants gathered to pay their respects. Also in attendance were dignitaries from the Dordogne Consul, the village Maire and Members of the La Memoire de Nos Peres Association who maintain the memory of the Resistance by attending various events dressed in typical “uniform” of the day and carrying weapons used during this period, several of which were dropped by the RAF during the war and includes a machine gun taken from the fallen aircraft. This year was an extra special occasion in that it was an honour to have relatives (Nephew and 2 Nieces) of the Pilot/Captain of the aircraft, Pilot Officer Robinson, RAAF in attendance who had made the long journey from Australia to be at the ceremony. Speeches and a short service of remembrance were made by the President of the RAFA Sud Ouest Branch, Beryl Dennett-Stannard and the Maire of Grun Bordas, M Gilles Motard and flowers/wreaths were laid by the family members, RAFA, Dordogne Consul, and by some children of the village.

Flight Sergeant RAF Police (Retired) John Reid of Saint Front la Riviere, a RAFA Branch Member for 25 years attended and assisted at the event. He commented “ it was a very poignant ceremony for the relatives as it was for all who attended and the family were overwhelmed by the support and kindness of the villagers who keep the memory of the crew alive in such a way”. Due to a technical hitch and following our National Anthem, the French National Anthem decided not to play, the Members of La Memoire de Nos Peres took up the challenge and all sang the “Marseillaise” in great voice which added a certain additional poignancy to the event. Following the ceremony a Vin d’Honneur and lunch took place. Note: the machine gun being held by yours truly is from the fallen aircraft - quite special!