New Memorial Opening near Rheims in France, 2nd April 2017.
This memorial commemorates two American aircraft that crashed near the villages of Bourgogne (51) and Fresnes-lès-Rheims on the 1st April 1944.
For more details see:
http://www.15-1juin40.com/fr/page_13932.html (English translation below),
and our FaceBook Group:
Here's an English translation:
Proposal for a commemorative memorial to the events
of 1 April 1944 in the village of Bourgogne in the Marne (51) department of NE France.
(NB: This is NOT the French Region known in English as Burgundy).
Historical review :
On April 1, 1944, 245 B17 bombers and 195 B24 bombers belonging to the 409th and 328th Bombardment Squadrons, operating from the Hardwick (Station 104) base in Norfolk, England, departed on mission No. 287. The aim of the mission was to destroy the chemical industries of Ludwigshafen, Germany.
On their return 26 aircraft deviated from the route and found themselves around Rheims whereas they ought to have been above Lille.
The weather was bad, with very low cloud. The aircraft were flying at medium altitude. At about 11:30 a.m. they arrived above Fresnes lès Reims nearing the village of Bourgogne.
When the planes emerged from the cloud they were chased by Focke-Wulf 190 and BF 109 G fighters and they were caught by flak from the nearby air base.
Two aircraft were hit. One was split in two at the tail fin which fell just after Fresnes-lès-Reims. The front part went into a spin and crashed in flames just before the village of Bourgogne, very close to where the monument is to be placed.
It broke up on hitting the ground.
This was B 24 D N ° 42-40 983 “Judith Lynn”, of the 328th Bomber Squadron piloted by 1/Lt JOSEPH M. ROZNOS.
Young people from nearby villages helped as much as they could.
The second aircraft hit was B 24 J 42-100248, nicknamed “Bar Fly”, piloted by 1st/Lt EDWARD L ROBBINS, of the 409th Bombardment Squadron. It crashed on the airfield of Courcy, after a crew member managed to parachute out. The plane landed about 30 meters from the burnt remains of the 1st aircraft. The parachutist was immediately taken prisoner by the Germans. This was S/Sgt Frank A. Zywniczynski, fuselage gunner.
Wounded, he was taken to the hospital in Rheims and then to the Stalag IV. Of the 19 crew members, he was the only survivor.
These young American soldiers were buried on 3 April 1944 in the communal cemetery in the village of Bourgogne.
Later they were moved to the national necropolis of Epinal or returned to the families in order to be buried in the United States.
Here is the planned memorial as seen from above, it symbolizes the ‘V’ victory. Plates affixed on either side honour the crews and recount the events that occurred on that day.
The opening is scheduled for the weekend of 1 April 2017
In order to fulfil this project, the association counts on you.
Please make a donation by using the following link.
Thank you in advance.
Please do not hesitate to share the details of the ceremony and please pass my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to any families of the crew you may know.