News Release - Issued by Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial
It is planned for up to 7 British veterans of the D-Day invasion of Europe in 1944 to be honoured at the annual Remembrance Day Commemorations at the Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial in Elvington on November 8th.
The President of France has authorised the Légion d’Honneur – France’s highest decoration – to be awarded to those who helped free Europe and liberate France during World War ll.
The annual Remembrance Day Commemorations at Elvington are unique in Britain acknowledging the people of many countries who fought alongside Britain during both world wars. In particular they acknowledge the 2300 French airmen who formed the only two French heavy bomber squadrons of the war. Both squadrons were based at RAF Elvington near York, now the home of the Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial. (51% of their young aircrews were killed in action in just 9 months whilst based at Elvington). Their return to France to form the new French Air Force exactly 70 years ago this month (20th & 29th October) was commemorated in a large military event in Bordeaux on 8th October.
On the 8th November, the events begin at 11:00am at the French Memorial on York Road, Elvington where hundreds of villagers, supporters, veterans and children from across UK and France march to the famous memorial. At 13:30 pm a special public service of remembrance and wreath laying ceremony takes place at the Yorkshire Air Museum, which will be attended by representatives of the RAF, French Air Force and other countries. During the Service the Honorary French Consul, Mr Jeremy Burton will award the British veterans the Légion d’Honneur on behalf of the French President.
Note: The Museum / Memorial at Elvington is located on the largest original WWll Bomber Command Station open to the public in Britain and is acknowledged as the Allied Air Forces Memorial in Europe. It is the only memorial where the Chiefs of the RAF, French Air Force and Supreme Allied Commander NATO are permanent Vice Presidents upon taking office. In September this year the annual Battle of Britain event was attended by senior diplomatic and military representatives from 13 countries including USA, Russia, Canada, Qatar, Australia, Netherlands, France and Germany.Ian Richardson
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President: Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton GCB ADC LLD (Hon.) DSc (Hon) BSc FRAeS CCMI RAF
Vice Presidents: Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford KCB CBE ADC RAF, Chief of the Air Staff; Général Denis Mercier, Chief of the French Air Force; Général Jean-Paul Paloméros, Supreme Allied Commander NATO; His Grace the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu; Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork MBE RAF; Ms Jan Leeming; M Paul Bogaert President Les Amicale des Groupes Lourds.
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