The Boy and the Bomber
On June 8th, 1944, two days after D-Day, 514 Squadron Lancaster DS822 and her crew were part of a large RAF bombing raid on German communications and transport targets near Paris, intended to slow down the progress of German reinforcements heading for the Normandy beaches. The aircraft was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter at around 2:00 am, crashing in a forest near the village of La Celle Les Bordes. Three airmen died in the crash, whilst the four survivors baled out and attempted to evade the occupying German troops and the Gestapo. Francois Ydier was a small child who lived near the crash site and tells of the profound effect the event had on his community. Over many years he traced many people whose lives were inextricably linked through the event and its aftermath. He painstakingly put together the individual stories of the seven airmen and those on the ground, including local members of the famous Comet Line, who tried to help the survivors evade the clutches of the Nazi regime. All too often, those brave French citizens paid for their bravery with their lives. The author weaves the strands together to tell a moving story of incredible heroism and fortitude in terrible circumstances. It is a tribute to those who risked, and often lost, their lives to liberate Europe from the clutches of evil.
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