We have just received the latest edition of Olivier LeFloch’s Newsletters about the American 367th Fighter Group’s progress across France in the late summer and autumn of 1944, following D-Day. For those new to these Neswletters, Olivier is a French aviation enthusiast and amateur historian, with a passion to record the history of the American 367th Fighter Group, whose first station in Europe was at Stoney Cross, in the New Forest, from April to June 1944.
This edition contains many contemporary and modern photographs, with Internet links to additional information and photographs. It traces the advance from A-44 Le Peray airfield, in August, to Saint Quentin (A-71 Clastres), a former German air base, which the 367th FG had previously bombed.
Unusual stories include the finding and defusing of a German V-1 flying bomb, which had crash landed and was intact, and reference to the Nazi SS atrocity in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, on 10th June 1944, in which the SS forced all the men of the village into barns, shot them in the legs, poured petrol over them and burned them alive. All the women and children were herded into the church, which was then set alight and those attempting to escape were machine gunned. Only one woman escaped alive to tell the story. Six hundred and forty two inhabitants were killed in reprisal for the kidnapping of a German officer and Resistance activity in the area.
There is reference too, to the loss of Lts Gillespie and Peters in the dogfight on 17th June 1944. The details of a recent ceremony, commemorating these two pilots, were reported earlier on this website.
This issue is full of previously unpublished photographs, old and new, and gives a vivid snapshot of life in the Group, after D-Day.