As I’ve noted elsewhere – one of the great things about running a blog are the contacts you make from around the world about the darnedest things. Some few years back I put up a post in the MIA section about the return of 2ndLt Ray Packard, a rookie P-38 pilot thrown into a battle of impossible odds over France in 1944 (see: “Flightdeck Friday: MIA Edition – Missing WWII Airman Returns Home” and “August 25, 1944 – Black Friday and the 474th FG“) that brought a very nice response and additional information from the historian of the 474th. Recently, in that same vein, I have received a request for help/information on another aspect of the 474th’s time over France in WWII, but this time from a local:

Dear Friend of 474th Fighter Group,

I’m french man, 55 old. Since many year I make searches about allied airmen fall in my french department: La Sarthe. Around the town of Le Mans, at 200 km west of Paris.
I’m proud to pay homage to all these heroes and keep the memories of these young men.
In this spirit, I prepared a ceremony, next 24 July, for the memory of Lt Charles A. PATTON, KIA the 27 July 1944 in the village of St Denis d’Orques. Charles PATTON was in the 428th F. S.
This crash was a double crash after the accident between Lt PATTON and Lt William Henry BANKS of the 429th F. S. He have more chance than Patton because he can jump of his plane and open his parachute. The french Resistance take care of him and like that he can wait IIIrd US Army hidden during 10 days.
If some of you can give me some information about these 2 heroes, I’m interesting.
Last Memorial Day, my wife and me have flowered the grave of Charles A. Patton in Britany cemetery at St James.
Sorry for my bad English. Have a good day and see you soon.
Very sincerely.
Jacky from France.

Of late and in some circles it has become fashionable to bash NATO and our European friends and allies, but we must remember that at the personal level there are many who still either remember first hand liberation or grew up in newly liberated territory, mindful of the distant cousins and relatives from over the horizon who made the ultimate sacrifice in freeing a continent – and those same people, like Jacky, are still to this day recognizing that sacrifice.

So here’s my request — if someone out there has some information, either first hand or knows of someone who could provide, please drop me a note offline and I’ll send you the contact info for Jacky. And Jacky — from the bottom of my heart, thank you and your English isn’t bad at all – message clearly understood…
w/r, SJS

1 Comment

  1. pat

    In 2000 I lived in saint denis d’orques, sarthe for only a year, and have recently been trying to find some history of the lovely 500yearold cottage. Whilst there I recall locals showing me either a grave or a memorial of a/or British parachutists killed just around the corner from my house. It was a lovely silent place tucked up in the hills. I hope this person finds peace, they are certainly revered by the locals. If I can help further please contact me.PatXX

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