On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of France by the Allies in 1944, two French primary school teachers, Sonia Avice and Vincent Herpin, will conduct a dissertation on the aircraft and their crews who died in the vicinity of their village Moliens in the north west of France.
Among these airmen, a Czechoslovak pilot, serving with l’Armee d’Air, was killed in action on June 7, 1940. His name was Josef Bendl and was one of the twenty-seven Czechoslovak pilots killed in the Battle of France in 1940. The two teachers conducted a historical study on this pilot and they sent it to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Paris.
The two teachers were invited to attend the memorial service in memory of the Czech and Slovak volunteers who fell in France in both world wars. The ceremony was held at the Czechoslovak military cemetery at La Targette which is near major cemeteries French, British and Canadian in the region of the Pas de Calais.
The ceremony was held Saturday, May 18, 2013 in the presence of representatives from the Embassies of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, representatives from l’Association des volontaires tchécoslovaques en France (the French Association of Czechoslovak volunteers and well-wishers.
In his speech, Hers Excellency Ms. Chatardová, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, recalled the sacrifice of these Czechoslovak volunteer soldiers for France and the strong ties that still bind France and the Czech Republic. She also said that peace is still precarious in our world and the European countries are still committed to maintaining the fragile peace including actions against international terrorism.
Following the ceremony, a buffet lunch was offered to participants. Sonia Avice and Vincent Herpin presented their dissertation to Ms. Chatardová, General Bečvář, Military Attache of the Czech Embassy and Colonel Knizek, Head of History of the Army of the Czech Republic. General Bečvář promised the teachers that he would attend the Memorial Ceremony at Moliens on November 11, 2013, for the remembrance of those who died for France. During the Ceremony the village school-children will pay tribute to the fallen airmen and present the research they had undertaken on them.
Thanks for the article and photo essay. The site looks like a very nice resting place and memorial to the fallen. Honor to them!