Some people here may wonder why a Frenchman is attending this Ceremony.
In fact, I'm speaking on behalf of the Normandy Association for Air Remembrance.
Also, I was 12 at D Day and living in Normandy. So I'll never forget what
American Aviators did at that time for the Liberation of France.
As already mentioned by
John Collins, our Association has erected more than forty stone memorials in
Normandy. Out of the forty, one has been especially dedicated to the nine brave
crewmembers of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Chow Hound".
This memorial has been
unveiled on August 08, 2004, exactly 60 years after the Chow Hound tragedy, at
LONLAY L'ABBAYE, Normandy, and France.
The Ceremony, organized by
the NAAR, was attended by some crewmember relatives, Colonel Jeffry Jackson, Air
Attaché at the US Embassy in France, Mrs Jackson, French Officials, and the
population of the village.
Let me review the
circumstances surrounding the Chow Hound crash.
According to the Missing Air Crew Report established by other crews, on
August 08, 1944 at 1:10 pm, the aircraft was flying in close formation at the
altitude of 14,000 ft. It was loaded with about 30 anti-personnel bombs of 300
lbs each aimed to attack the German lines to the south of Caen where the enemy
was offering a fierce resistance to the Canadian Forces and stopped their
A few minutes after
crossing the front line, German anti-aircraft 88 calibre guns fired at the
bombers. Presumably, one shell hit directly the plane, cutting out the tail
part. The bomber became out of control and dived in a spin. Then one wing and
one engine separated from the fuselage prior to falling down in a field and
caught fire. The bombs exploded because of the heat.
This happened so suddenly
that the crew members were unable to bail out and jump by parachute. There were
no survivors among the nine Airmen. The tail gunner was found still attached to
The crash occurred on the
territory of the Normandy city of LONLAY L'ABBAYE. Abbaye means Abbey in
American. LONLAY L'ABBAYE is a small middle-ages village where monks built a
monastery. Now only the old and very beautiful church exists and is dedicated to
When the city was liberated
by US Army a few days later, the crew members' remains were buried. However,
according to witness's testimony, three corpses were missing and still in the
The NAAR got in touch with
the American Authorities who sent a team including an anthropologist from
Hawaii. They dug out and discovered some bones who were identified thank to the
We, at NAAR, are proud that the three Aviators found the burial they
deserve in their own country.
A few words about the
Aircraft" Chow Hound". It was a member of the 322nd Squadron, 91st Bomb Group,
8th Air Force.
took off from Station No 121, a south of England airstrip.
The Chow Hound was famous
and very popular in the Air Force. It was probably the oldest B-17 still flying.
USAF Staff policy was that one crew to be assigned not more than 25 war
missions. At the time of the crash, Chow Hound was flying with its third
NAAR has recovered and
salvaged the Chow Hound nose art with the artist's signature. This part is
unique and in relatively fair condition after a crash. We expect to make soon a
donation to a Museum here in America, like one of the machine guns.
We in France have been
liberated from the Nazis by Allied Forces. We remember that some young American
volunteers like the Chow Hound Crew, lost their lives, far away from their
We consider we have to pay
a just tribute to the brave Aviators who gave their all for our
V/P Normandy Association for Air Remembrance
ARLINGTON, August 23/24,