In memoriam

Last week a memorial plaque was unveiled in York Minster. It celebrates the Free French bomber squadrons based at RAF Elvington.

The BBC report was very precisely worded:

The memorial, the first to the French Air Force in an English cathedral, commemorates the 2,500 French air crew based at RAF Elvington, near York, during World War II.

The two French squadrons, No 346 (Guyenne) and No 347 (Tunisie), arrived in Yorkshire in early 1944 and played a major part in the intensive bomber offensive against Germany.

During the 18 months they were based at Elvington almost half of them were killed.

The Times on Friday did a paragraph and went a bit further, describing it as

the first French war memorial to be housed in an English cathedral.

It takes a smart-arse to improve on that. And, right on call, here he comes in today’s Times letters:

Joan’s monument

Sir, You refer to a memorial to the French airmen as the “first French war memorial to be housed in a English cathedral” (report, Oct 21).

Worthy and technically accurate, no doubt. But there is the fetching Joan of Arc in Winchester Cathedral.

Malcolm Redfellow
London N10

And there, indeed, she stands (as right).


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Filed under Britain, History, Times, World War 2, Yorkshire

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