Sunday, 10 November 2013

Commemorating with my friends across the pond

Had  a very beautiful and interesting round of cycling yesterday. Surprising how much history there is to be found literally around the corner.

Commemorative stone for Régis Deleuze at his crash site
After 15 minutes we ran in to a stone commemorating the death of Flight Lieutenant Régis Deleuze, who crashed on this spot near castle Beverweerd in Werkhoven on February 25th 1945. Apparently engine trouble forced him to put his Tempest down. He crashed after hitting the top of the tree line in the background.

Régis came from either a French family of nobles. From his operational history is gather that he left France as is was being overrun by the Germans in June 1940 and signed up for the RAF.  In 1943 he joined 501 Squadron and brought down V1s aimed at England. He transferred to 274 Sqn early in 1945. This seems to have been  his first operational flight in the unit, from airbase Volkel in Noord-Brabant. Régis was initially burried in Werkhoven but transferred to Evere in Belgium after the war.

Régis at age 17 (from the website below)
As in the case of the grave of air gunner Hiscox I found in Beesel a few weeks ago, this stone has been adopted by a local woman, Yvonne Jager, starting when she was 10 years old. She lays fresh flowers at the grave four times a year. The lengths to which she has gone to retrace the family and former brothers in arms of this pilot are remarkable. Her story and that of Régis Deleuze can be found on this website. It shows once again that even a simple reminder can have great impact on individual lives and that many people still value the effort of allied soldiers for our freedom.

Castle Beverweerd, with 19th century fantasy decoration
The brick part at the centre of the picture is from the 13th century, with the later additions in white plaster. Apparently the castle is now inhabited by master forger, Geert Jan Jansen. He´s famous enough now to paint under his ow name. More castles on Wednesday!

1 comment:

  1. Some wonderful pieces of remembrance, Jur. Thank you for sharing.


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