The Écrivélo Files

Journeys Through War-Torn Europe by Bike.

The Stories

The 20th Century Mayors of Chamelet.

The village of Chamelet saw many changes of Mayor throughout the 20th Century. Not entirely unusual, as most changes resulted from the elections. However, there were also changes unique to the period of the Vichy government, when mayoral elections were suspended. Additionally, on one occasion, the incumbent died whilst in office; illness prevented one from continuing, and one was arrested by the occupying Nazi forces, never to be seen again. 

The complete and accurate list of Mayors has been divided into Three Groups:

  1.  Pre-War from 1900 to 1939
  2. War-Time from 1939 to 1945
  3. Post War from 1945 to 1999.

You will also find links to fuller biographies of the incumbents to the office during the Second World War.

The Mosquito in the Forest 

Overnight from 26th to 27th July 1944, a de Haviland Mosquito from 627 Squadron in the north of England crashed in the Forêt de Brou above Ternaud, killing both Pilot and Navigator.

The whole story, sourced and verified using archives from both sides of the Channel, details:

  1. The biographies of the crew who lost their lives
  2. The details of their imperative operation, which occurred despite the severe personal risk.
  3. The actions of the local community to honour the two brave airmen.

You will also find links to fuller stories about this aircraft, its origin and crew.

The Deportation of Mayor SONNERY

On the morning of Sunday, 19 December 1943, around 300 German soldiers invaded the Village of Chamelet. The Mayor of Chamelet, Monsieur Sebastian Jean-Marie SONNERY, was arrested and taken away.

Mayor SONNERY never stepped foot in Chamelet again.

He died 120 days later, 1000km from his home in a Nazi Concentration Camp.

The Final Resting Place of the Admiral Prune.

The Admiral Prune took off from RAF Synerston at 18:10 hrs on 4th February 1943; their mission was to attack targets in Turin, Italy. During the outbound journey, both port engines failed, and the Lancaster crash-landed on a hill at Valsonne, a village 45 km northeast of Lyon.

This section is very much a work in progress. However, we are looking at:

  1. The biographies of all the crew, those who were made POWs and those who lost their lives
  2. The details of their operation and its objective within the big plan of the allied war effort.
  3. Why the Admiral Prune was such a legendary aircraft.
  4. The events within the local community post-crash.

The Worry Bird

The Worry Bird left Harrington Air Force Base England on 27th April 1944, under cover of darkness, for theirs was a secret mission that crashed while making a drop to the Maquis near St Cry de Valorges.

We are certainly not the first to document this incident, and without the sources of first-hand witness testimony and official documents, this story would be too incredible to believe. But it’s all true, a real story of bravery and tragedy.

This section is still very much a work in progress. However, we are looking at:

  1. The biographies of all the crew, those who evaded, made POW’w and those killed in action.
  2. Who were the Carpetbaggers, and what was Operation Jedburgh? 
  3. The story of Radio Operator James Heddleston. 

Who’s Who?

Here you will find links to the various Biographies made during the research.

There is little conjecture, just listings of various archives and other sources documenting their lives.

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