Day 2 – Létra to Cluny

LÉTRA TO CLUNY

Martin, Vincent and Bernard

Time to leave the comfort of my own bed! The significance of yesterday’s finishing line and today’s starting point was very poignant for me. The Commonwealth War Graves is Létra mark the point where the journey of the crew of Mosquito DZ 636 ended and where my interest and desire to know more started.

Mine will end where theirs started.

There are 2 Commonwealth War Graves here, part of the communal Cemetery of Létra. It is right that the remains of these brave airman should lie with the very community that gave them a full military burial. 74 years ago

Pilot – Flying Officer Dennis Kieran Flaherty.

Navigator – Flying Officer John Christie.

My neighbour Vincent accompanied me for the first part of today – Thank you Vincent.

At the war graves, by coincidence, we met one of the ex-mayors of Letra, Bernard who was has maintained contact over the years with John Christie’s nephew in the UK David.

Today's Route

The Mosquito that crashed above Létra was one of 9 Mosquitos that took off from RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, late evening on 26th July 1944. There were the Pathfinders to assist 171 Lancasters who were to bomb the marshalling yards at Givors to disrupt the ability of the German Army to reinforce their troops in the north of France – 50 days had elapsed since the D day landings, and the Germans were in retreat.

FO Gribben RAF and FL Griffiths RCAF Crew of DZ 534 Rescued in the English Channel

On this night there was a horrendous storm. At least 6 of the 9 Mosquitos returned to base early. One ditched in the English Channel having lost navigational ability due to the storm.

It is highly likely that Mosquito DZ 636 was involved in a mid-air collision over the target area. Eyewitness accounts describe it circling over the Forêt de Brou – this is consistent with a mechanical problem in its primary engine resulting in a catastrophic loss of control and inevitable crash.

The Pilot and Navigator were buried on 31st July 1944 in Létra.

Check out the “Mosquito in the Forest’ for more details

View from the Handlebars

Statistics and Route

Progress

Distance - 258,38Km
Climbing 3370 metres
15 hours 3 mins in the Saddle
  • Completed
  • To do

Where to Tomorrow?

CRÉANCEY

Tomorrow I will be heading north from Cluny to Chalon-sur-Saône and onto to Beaune then west to Pont-de-Pany and joining the Canal de Bourgogne as far as Créancey

Hey - What about you?

Join the conversation.

The Story of Mosquito DZ 636 is just one part of a much bigger story. The story of the mission itself – this has been extensively researched by a compatriot of mine, Ian Stevenson. Also, there is the story of the funeral itself. There is still much to find out about this. If you have first-hand knowledge of this event or know someone who has such experience, I would love to hear from you.

Just because the trip has started doesn’t mean you can’t DONATE – In fact it’s effortless to help me help the IBCC – Just click on the DONATE button. Thank you.

SOURCES:

 

Mr David Christie

Mr Ian Stevenson

UK Public Records Office and Archives.

Histoire vécue des maquis de l’Azergues.  by Roger CHAVANET

1 comment

  1. Yo Rodney!! Go Lycra Go!! Hope you have a good day today! Cooled down quite a bit here …..so here’s hoping it stays that way for you!!
    Mange tout!!!?