207 Squadron Royal Air Force Association
Visit to Belgium, VE Day 60th Anniversary
6-9 May 2005

Meeuwen A group of 28 travelled by coach to participate in the dedication of a memorial to the Corless crew at Meeuwen in the Belgian province of Limburg on Sunday, 8th May 2005, the 60th anniversary of VE Day.

In the group were family members of Sgt Ivan Magoffin (Rear Gunner) and F/O Bruce Somers (Bomb Aimer), both killed in action as were the rest of the Corless crew.

At Meeuwen we were joined by a large number of relatives of Sgt Raphael de Casagrande, Corless's Navigator, and by the brother in law and nephew of Sgt Joe Mireault, one of the gunners.

Adegem Cemetery: most of the group,
after visiting the Corless crew graves

The crew was killed on 21/22 June 1944, one of five crews lost on 207 Squadron on the Wesseling Raid. We visited the crash site of another of these, P/O Mike Solly's Lancaster EM-M LL973 as we had two survivors of the Solly crew with us.

Along our route we laid wreaths and poppy crosses at cemeteries where lie some of 207's wartime dead.

At the Koekelberg Basilica in Brussels we paid our respects to those who aided Allied airmen who managed to evade capture, at the Comète Line & Resistance window. We were greeted at the RAF Provincial Memorial at Boxbergheide, the Canada War Museum at Adegem and the Regional Museum at Bokrijk - we are grateful to all four for the special arrangements made for us.

We were well looked after by Horseman Coaches of Reading and by our hotels - Hotel Astrid in Brussels and especially the Park Hotel Hasselt. Friend member Danny Vanstraelen's local Limburg knowledge was invaluable (he is the grandson of the helper of Sgt FR Haslam, an evader in the Solly crew).

We were grateful to the Heroes Return Lottery Fund which provided financial support for the WW2 veterans on the visit and contributed towards administration costs.

Whenever we laid a wreath, other members of the group took it in
turns each to place a poppy at the graves of those named.

last update 3 Aug 05