Phase One: The B-17 Celebration


07/03/2013: The families of the crewmembers and participants in the celebration spent two days together touring the local area and preparing for the memorial celebration.

On Saturday June 29, 2013, the group spent the day on the bus and began the day with a visit to the 1917 memorial to the disembarkment of the first Americans to join the allies to fight in World War I.

In addition, the same location was the scene of a disastrous strike by the Luftwaffe against a British troop ship trying to return to England after the defeat in France.

The largest British maritime disaster took place just off the Loire estuary on June 17th, 1940 when the passenger ship RMS Lancastria – hastily arrived from Great Britain – to sail back there the large number of British and soldiers of other nationalities, as well as civilians she had boarded, was bombed by 4 German Junkers..

This disaster, which killed, as it is said, 2,500 to more than 5,000 persons, including 1,728 of them found. A monument was erected in 1988, next to the St Nazaire Raid monument.

The monument area in St. Nazaire also honored the British soldiers involved in Operation Chariot as well.

In early 1942 Britain was facing a most critical situation. The success of the German U-Boat raids on transatlantic shipping threatened Britain’s supply of food and arms, and was damaging her morale. The daring and brilliantly successful cross-channel Raid on the huge Dry-dock at St Nazaire, France, carried out by British Commando and Naval Forces, lifted Britain’s morale and demonstrated that bravery could achieve the apparently impossible. Five Victoria Crosses (VCs) were won on the Raid, the largest number ever awarded for a single Action.

 [slidepress gallery=’phase-one-the-b-17-celebration’]

The photos in this slideshow were shot on June 29, 2013 and credited to Second Line of Defense.