Middelkerche Ren Mouchotte

Jan Leeming

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MIDDELKERCHE - René Mouchotte

Date: 25th May 2011

MIDDELKERKE – René Mouchotte

A friend who wanted to do some shopping in Calais (one of the few perks of living down here in the deep South East) very kindly agreed to take me along and drive up the coast to Middelkerke in Belgium so that I could see and photograph the tribute to Rene Mouchotte whose body washed up on the beach there on 3rd September 1943 – six days after he was posted missing.

I had sent an email to the Mayor but he’d not replied so I was quite prepared to just take a photo and that would be that.

On arriving at the Town Hall, I asked at the Kiosk if it were permissible to take photos of the little sculpture next to the photo of René (the same one which appears in his tomb). The gentleman came out of the booth and took us to an office where he left us with a very pleasant young man. We’d scored – the young man, Simon Vosters, was the archivist and couldn’t have been more welcoming. He explained that they were re-arranging their archives but he would do whatever he could to help and would send me translations of any documents he thought relevant. (I also saw that Middelkerke was twinned with Clevedon near Bristol where I lived for a decade and where I had some of my happiest years on Television with HTV West)

The sculpture was created by Willequet and represents ‘The Fall of Icaarus’ and represents a man whose left arm crashing is symbolically replaced by a wing. The little statue was unveiled on April 17th 1955 when René was posthumously awarded honorary citizenship of the city.

MIDDELKERCHE - René Mouchotte

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