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  • Nom
    Robert Joseph SARVIS
  • Date
  • Lieu
  • Website
  • Contribution
    Jacques TORRES
  • ID


Robert Joseph SARVIS
Robert Joseph SARVIS

On July 25, 1944, a Lancaster Avro bomber from the RAF's 576th Bomber Squadron crashed in the CARQUEBUT marshes near La Caucherie, on its way back from a bombing mission over STUTTGART.

It left its base at ELSHAM WOLDS, LINCOLSHIRE, ENGLAND, at 9:08 pm on July 24, 1944, joining a fleet of 415 Lancasters and 138 Halifaxes. The aircraft was severely damaged by a German fighter at around 01:00 over ORLEANS. Pilot Robert Joseph SARVIS, 27, of the United States of America Air Force (USAAF), on his 19th mission, ordered the Lancaster abandoned.

Sergeant BALFOUR, the mechanic, jumped out, only to be rescued by Resistance networks. But the pilot managed to stabilize the aircraft. He decided to take refuge in the liberated zone on June 6, 1944. It was while flying over CARENTAN that the aircraft was shot down by American flak...

SARVIS then blew up the rest of his crew. He remained on board until the crash, presumably to prevent his plane from crashing at random... One of his arms was found at the site. Excavations in 1990 recovered a flight boot containing the lower part of a leg. These remains are buried in the COLLEVILLE SUR MER cemetery, Section B, Row 5, Grave 38.

 Both aircraft and crew were British:

Sergeant-mechanic Alexander BALFOUR (RAF, Royal Air Force),
Sergeant-navigator Robert T GORDON (RCAF, Royal Canadian Air Force),
Bombardier Sergeant John Morrison "Jackie" WEIR (RAF), age 21,
Sergeant-radio Jack COATES ( RAF), 20 years old 
Gunner Sergeant E REED (RAF),
Gunner Sergeant T. A. "Tom" CLARK (RCAF).

All are listed as "escapees" on the documents. They all returned to England unharmed. According to the testimonies of crew members Robert T. GORDON, John Morrison "Jackie" WEIR and Jack COATES, nothing would have prevented 27-year-old pilot Robert Joseph SARVIS from jumping with his companions. GORDON states that WEIR helped SARVIS adjust his parachute to jump...

 Nothing, except the sense of duty and honor of the captain, who, like the captain of a ship, is the last one at the controls...

 This heroic gesture undoubtedly spared the lives of local residents. It is only right to show Robert Joseph SARVIS our admiration and gratitude by dedicating a monument to him. *

Jack COATES died at the age of 21, on his 29th mission, his plane having been reported missing on February 20, 1945...

 Passers-by, spare a thought for these men who risked their lives to preserve our freedom.

Text, contribution and photo credit Jacques TORRES

Association Mémoire de Carquebut

Robert Joseph SARVIS
Robert Joseph SARVIS.

Robert Joseph SARVIS

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