70Th Anniversary Of The 1000Th

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1000TH

Date: 15th May 2013

On 15th May 1943, René Mouchotte and Canadian Jack Charles shared the 'honour' of downing the 1000th Enemy Plane.  

They were based at the famous Fighter Station at Biggin Hill.   There was great media interest and the BBC's Gilbert Harding went to Biggin to interview the men.  He had to refer to René only by his Christian name.  The Free French were under sentence of death from the Vichy Government who regarded them as traitors.  Had René been shot down or captured in France, he would have been executed and his family persecuted.  

It was because of hiding his identity that, when his body washed up on the shore at Westende in Belgium  on 27th August 1943, he was wrongly identified and laid to rest in Grave 87.  He was eventually correctly identified because of the efficiency of the Death certificate, recording the description of his body and noting that, despite his identitiy disc bearing the name René Martin,  an article of clothing bore the name René Mouchotte. When the body was exhumed six years later, it was this detail which gave René his correct identitiy.  Following on from this, his remains were repatriated to France in November 1946.  He was given a full Military Funeral and High Mass in the Chapel at Les Invalides and then laid to rest in the family tomb at Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Here are two links - the BBC online trailer for the documentary I made which aired in January and a link to a short presentation compiled by Ian Reed, Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCGWzG5sRrM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21181121
  

If you would like the whole 15 minute documentary and have a good download speed, then contact me and I will send it to you.  The download takes about 20 minutes.

Au revoir,  Jan

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