Wrington Twinning Association                     Report on the Villeneuve Remembrance Day                     November, 2012 Website homepage Organisations index page Twinning homepage Wrington website Organisations
Report of Remembrance Weekend, November 2012, by Yves Blérard-Léglise This weekend we received Mrs and Mr John URQUHART. A small party was organized for them on Saturday evening. Marc Cianni (who played the role of the Mayor during the Wrington Pageant) had made a small film that he humorously called "the world's best enemies" about  the Franco-British relations across time. The film continues with an evocation of the real England that we discovered from Wrington. Everyone had a great time and John gave an impromptu speech in perfect French. The next day, John and Val arrived at rue du Lieutenant Rodgers where I arrived first in order to put the flag of your country on the plinth so that John could not see the text engraved on the plate when he arrived. The plinth was unveiled by both John and the Mayor, (Val told me that John was very touched that his name appears on the plate near to the name of Lt Rodgers), and then, a wreath with small flags of our two countries were laid. John and the other Officers hailed as resounding at first the British Anthem and after that the French one. Back to the Town Hall, the procession then went to the Square June 18, 1940 where ceremonies of November 11th were celebrated. We arranged an English flag between two French flags at the top of the War Memorial and I saw that John had noticed it. Again John laid a wreath with the President of the Federation of Veterans. A lunch at the Retirement Home was the final stage of the ceremony because two Veterans were to be decorated. There, John was awarded the Veterans Departmental Medal of Honor. In the afternoon Val and John  attended the traditional banquet organized by various Veterans Associations in the region.                                                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Late yesterday evening I made further research on the web, because it is known that after the crash, the body of  Lt RODGERS had been transferred to the cemetery of Villeneuve. We were given this information very recently by a very old Priest now living in the Retirement House in Montpellier. This Priest had by chance read the article I wrote about the ceremony held in tribute to Lt Rodgers. He telephoned the Mayor to tell him that he wanted to attend the ceremony. Unfortunately, he was ill and in the end was not able to come. During the war, he was friendly with the Priest of Villeneuve in charge of the village. The Priest told him he’d seen the crash because during the bombing of the Station he was in the clock tower from where (like in Wrington) it is possible to see all around. However, the problem was that in the Cemetery there is no grave of Lt Rodgers. Finally I found a website on which are listed all the crashes over France between 39-45. There is only one British War Cemetery in the South of France, in Mazargues near Marseille, and this is where Lieutenant Rodney Rodgers rests in peace. To see the Memorial and his grave, go to <http://www.inmemories.com/Cemeteries/mazargues.htm>
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Photos from Yves Blérard-Léglise
John Urquhart    Jean-Paul Galonnier (le Maire)   Yves Blérard-Léglise (Directeur Général Adjoint)