Mardi 26 Juni 2012

1962-2012: "We remember them"
We remember them, namely the fifteen victims of the crash of a U.S. plane in 1962.
The first ceremony in their memory was held on June 22, on site, in Ecouves.


We can not translate the emotion "says Patrice Le Mao, organizer Chief of the ceremony,before giving the floor to Patricia McRae, daughter of one victim of the accident of March 8, 1962. Speaking on behalf of families of the victims, who was 11 years old at the time of the crash, then completed her remarks with a "prayer". “All throughout the year and in all seasons, regardless of the time, We remember them". We remember them she concludes. Her choking voice can not contain the tears for Jo-Lynn Hardin, as she had done the first time in arriving at the site of the memorial, located at the location of point impact.








Front Row: Steve and Jo-Lynn Hardin (Son and Widow)

Patricia McRae (nee Wilson) daughter of victim and her husband

during the broadcast of the American anthem


Three wreaths were laid, the 317th by the families, by Evreux Air Base and the commune of Saint-Nicolas-des-Bois. Bill Lloyd, president of 317th veterans group, read the names of the 15 victims. Then came the playing of TAPS (U.S.) and a minute of silence to the sound of the chant of the birds, the core of the forest environment and it’s mysteries. The national hymns of France and the U.S. conclude the ceremony. The ribbon on the American banner read "Gone But Not Forgotten" - Partis mais pas oublies.  JMF

In Short
• During construction of the memorial, a piece of the plane (with the serial number) was cast in the concrete.

Victims' families are given small pieces of the plane.
• At the City of Saint Nicolas-des-Bois,Mayor Gerard Lemoine, had set up a reception with an exhibition in the town hall: copy of death registrations in the town registry and newspaper articles about the airplane crash (Loïc Hains). He received the medal of the 317th Veterans Group and a "certificate of appreciation".
As did Lionel Huchette, (NFB) Office, who was thanked for maintenance of the memorial clearing.


The victims' families walked through the scene of the tragedy


Memories of March 1962

On March 8, 1962, I was in the military at Coëtquidan, I was 21 and I was on leave in St Denis on Sarthon. Knowing that the Hercules 130A had crashed in the forest of Ecouves, I went to the scene. Being in a military uniform, the Americans let me approach the scene of the tragedy. I still see the tail of the plane and the smoke which escaped from it and the Americans carrying the remains on stretchers, a "spectacle" of desolation. I always kept in mind this tragic accident which has had a significant impact on our territory.

Michel JULIEN, Mayor of St. Denis on Sarthon



We were farmers living in the North of Alençon. On the evening of the tragedy, the weather conditions were very bad with a thick fog. We saw a big aircraft flying very low over our farm. Never before had we seen an aircraft flying so low that it gave us the feeling that we could touch it when raising our arms. The aircraft turned above the racetrack then again above our house before heading away to the North. We were concerned because we understood that it had a serious problem. The next day we heard about the crash and we were shocked, at the thought that we were probably the latest persons having seen all these brave people before the tragedy. We went to the scene and met some American airmen who were guarding the scene of the accident. We came back with some coffee and the next Sunday we brought some croissants. They appreciated it. When the memorial was built we went to meet with them and we also brought some coffee and some food. One of the officers was named Scott. We had a Citroën 2CV car at this time, and the US military made fun of us, calling our car “The French Cadillac”. Some of them came to visit us on our farm.

Considering our health today, we cannot move away but if veterans or families wish to visit us, we would be very happy to meet them. We are living right in front of the racetrack, at the following address : 157 rue d’Argentan- Alençon.



I was living in a forest house, in a place called “Les Arcis” at “Saint-Nicolas Des Bois” from 1958 to 1962. The night of the accident, on March 8, 1962, I heard a noise but had no idea that a plane had crashed. The following day around 8 am, the district chief of "Forestry" of Ecouves called me telling that a plane would have crashed in the forest of Ecouves and he asked me to go and check his own sector. When arriving on my bicycle at the intersection of “la Croix Madame", I found a pile of pine branches, probably the result of a collision by the plane with the treetops. I went back to report what I found to my superior and returned to the crash site where other people had arrived. Actually a plane had crashed in an area planted with big trees. Very quickly the emergency services and the U.S. military of Evreux were on hand. There was only a small path. The rescue team had to open a path full width for easier access to the wreck. They also raked over the area, looking for the slightest clue, because there was debris over a wide radius.   Mr. Claude LECLERCQ