From the Mairie, Margny

In reply to the Editor's letter, through Joachim Lelongt of Reims, a marvellous bundle of information including photos taken at the burial service in 1944 was received. The following letter is from the Air Ministry to the mother of the Pilot: the same letter was sent to the Rear Gunner's family and presumably the other crew families.

The photo of F/O Norman Weekes is placed in the letter by the editor: it was provided to the Mairie of Margny by F/O Weekes' mother :

Norman Weekes
27 DECEMBER 1945.
Tel. GER. 9234


I am directed to refer to previous correspondence and to inform you that the result of an enquiry made by the Missing Research and Enquiry Service of the Royal Air Force is now available regarding the fate of your son, Flying Officer N.L. Weekes, Royal Air Force.

Eye witness reports state that the crash which occurred on the night of 18/19th July, 1944, 1 miles east of the village of Margny (Marne) was, unhappily, of such a nature that it was considered improbable that any member of the crew survived.

The following day the Gendarmerie of Orbais and a number of villagers carried out a thorough search of the wreckage. All they were able to find indicating the identity of any member of the crew was a piece of white pullover marked "Weekes" which, it is reasonable to believe, belonged to your son. The remains of the crew were placed in two coffins and laid to rest in a single grave in the cemetery of Margny.

The following description of the burial is an extract from a letter written by the Mayor of Margny:

"This ceremony took place on the Friday, 21st July at 11 o'clock. It had been a long time since the small village of Margny had seen so many people at a funeral. The entire population of the village was represented, and many came from the neighbouring district, from Correbert, Verdon, Janvilliers and Orbais.

The number of flowers and wreaths brought by the crowd was over fifty. Before the religious service, in front of the church, two buglers from Montmirail played the Last Post which they repeated at the Elevation, during the Service.

For the first time perhaps, the walls of the old church of Margny echoed their notes.Before the Offertory, the Dean of Orbais who officiated thanked the Council and the crowded audience and paid tribute to the glorious remains of those who had died under the call of Duty.

Then it was the long procession towards the Cemetery. Preceded by the Tricolor of the ex-Servicemen from Orbais and numerous people carrying flowers, the two coffins on one stretcher were carried by young villagers. The local firemen were in the rear, and le Maire with his Council led the mourning.

At the Cemetery, Mr. Martin, Maire of Margny, after the last Prayer by the Dean, and the Last Post, pronounced a few words to thank the persons who had helped him in these tragic circumstances, to express all his gratitude to the assistance, and to salute the Heroes, "Morts au Champ d'Honneur". Slowly the crowd left, paying a last tribute to these unfortunate victims, who died so bravely and so far from their families. At the gates the Maire and his colleagues thanked the villagers in the name of the families, the Motherland and all the Allied Armies".

The officer in charge of the investigation visited the cemetery and saw the grave, which he states is very well tended, a member of the village being paid by local subscription to maintain it. A photograph of the grave is enclosed. This matter will be referred to the Graves Registration Authorities who will, in due course, register and suitably inscribe the grave.

It is sincerely hoped that this information may be of some slight consolation to you in your sad loss.