34 Hérault City : Les Rives
Coordinates : 43°50'33"N 3°16'8"E
43°50.550 N 3°16.133 E
The town's monument for the dead.
On the A75 northbound take exit 50 and D155E1 north then D142 west. The monument is on the eastern side of the road by the mairie.
On the 1st of November 1944,British Prime Minister Winston Churchill returned from the Middle East in an Avro York surrounded by its sister plane and a B-24 Liberator. The convoy flew to Northolt, UK through Italy and France. The 52nd Fighter Group was responsible for the group's escort from Pomigliano. Eight Mustangs from the 2nd Fighter Squadron were detailed for the mission:
- First flight: Captain Schween, Lt West, Lt Mendonca
- Second flight: Captain McCraw, Lt Sullivan, Lt Carson
- Third flight: Flight leader Major Ohr, on his last mission, and Lt Dumais.
The fighters had trouble following the bombers flying between the sky and the cloud cover due to the bad weather. Around Paris, the second flight lost visual of the convoy and radioed for instructions. Major Ohr ordered them down to instrument flight and ask for a route back to Marseille. At 1350 Lt Sullivan saw his two wingmen disappear into the fog over Rodez. He would never see nor hear them again. He landed near Marseille at 1550. Regional control announced the two pilots were MIA. In fact, they had collided :
- The P-51D 44-14227 of Cpt McCraw Albert Ray crashed at 43° 51' 31.92 '' N / 03° 16' 04.74'' E. (MACR 9602).
- P-51C 43-25112 of Lt. Carson Clarence Edward crashed at 43° 51' 40.73'' N / 03° 15' 16.57'' E. (MACR 9601).
On June 6th 2012, on the occasion of the 68th Anniversary of the Normandy landings, Madame Colette Meinard, the Mayor of Rives, the district's representative, two USAF cadets, CNRS' R&D Director JC Richard, and the inhabitants of the village rendered an emotional tribute to the two pilots who gave their lives for liberty.
External links :
Notified by : Robin Jean.
Photos : J.C. Richard du CNRS, la Mairie..
Date observation : 06/06/2012
Record added 16/06/2012
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