The Letter
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Side 2
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Letter From France
The loss of "Maid to Please"

(Text copy of letter, see original on left of page)

Michel DOUTRELEAU
ferme du Coudray
60119 HENONVILLE - France

International phone :33-3-44-49-87-44
International fax :33-3-44-49-99-14

E.mail: SDOUTREL@AOL.com

Henonville, February 22th 2000

 

 

Mr Ernest Osborne

The Association's UK Liaison Officer

Dear American friends,

I'm very happy I found your address in the States on the Web because you can possibly help me with my plan concerning the ancient pilots of the 477th Bomb Group.

I am a farmer in France at Henonville, a small village at about 30 miles N.W. from Paris and I am the President of the local Veteran association.

I was 10 years old during the second World War when my life was deeply distressed by a dramatic event. A flying fortress B 17 G was shot down and crashed at 50 metres from the entrance to my parents' farm, on December 30th 1943.

I witnessed the accident and saw the flight and the last moment of the B 17 G n 4231173 of the group 447 squadron 711. Four members of the crew were killed, among them the pilot Second Lieutenant Julian Y.SCHERO who had stayed on board to let his men jump out with their parachutes. With him and before our very eyes died

Second Lieutenant Joseph LAMANSKY, navigator
Second Lieutenant Lowell DOAN, bombardier
Sergeant Radio Dee TROXELL

My parents took care of the wounded soldiers and hid Sergeant Walter E.DICKERMAN who went back to England later. The Germans were there and it was forbidden to get near the wreck, of course.

I was able to gather all those informations as I have a copy of the crew report made by Sergeant DICKERMAN when he returned to his base at Rattlesden in Great-Britain. I am planning to write the complete story of that crew made of young Americans who came and died in our country during their first mission. I would like to do something similar to "Memphis Belle".

There is a plaque with the names of those aviators on the War Memorial of our village and there are fresh flowers on it twice a year, on November 11th and May 8th which are remembrance days for First World War and Second. I also have an old picture of the wreck taken behind the back of the Germans! I have given several lectures and written several articles in the newspapers to remind the young generation the sacrifice of another young generation.

I would be very happy to welcome veterans or the young Americans belonging to those families who would like to come and mourn at the spot of the crash.

Could you please send me the book written in the memory of the 447 BG: "History of 447th BG" by Doyle Shields? I am looking for any information about this crew, some pictures, Rattlesden air base, their training in the States.

During the war, our area was located on an air traffic lane in and out towards England: that's why a lot of planes crashed around here. I could give some further informations about that, should you be interested.

On December 30th 1943, when coming back from a raid over Ludwigshaffen in Germany, three planes were shot in a few minutes:

n1 B17G n42.31173 447 BG711 BS
n2 B17G n42.29963 379 BG527 BS
n3 B24 (Liberator)n42.64444 448 BG715 BS

The Wreckage
The wreckage of "Maid to Please" secretly photographed
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The memorial at Henonville
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Here is a picture of the wreck and a picture taken at the War Memorial during a ceremony.

Looking forward to hearing from you very soon, dear friends. I do hope that you are going to be able to help me in this remembrance project.

Thank you with all my friendly gratitude

Note : This letter is also being sent to

    • Mr Byron A. SCLAG (Vice President 447th BG)
    • Mr. Orlando<<Pete>> Petrillo (Association Merbership contact)
    • Mr George R. Hoidra

 

 

Michel DOUTRELEAU


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