* Report: July 15th, 2023: The Belgians Parade to the London Cenotaph *

RAF aircraft's crash sites in which Belgians were involved:
Birgelen, Nordrhein-Westfalen (D)

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Last update: 25/06/23

Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence

* To the 166 Squadron *
* To the crew of LL954-AS-E *
* To the monument erected in remembrance *

Crash site of Lancaster LL954-AS-E

cest raf squadron
Unit: 166 Squadron
Aircraft: Lancaster
Code: LL954-AS-E
Base: Kirmington
Mission: Dortmund
Crew officer:
Incident: Shot down by German fighter

Birgelen, Nordrhein-Westfalen (D)



Takeoff at 22:25 hrs for an operation against Dortmund in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Homeward-bound, the aircraft was shot down by the night fighter crew of Hauptmann Strüning/Oberleutnant Apel of the 3./NJG 1, who had taken off from Venlo airfield in the Netherlands, in Heinkel He 219 A-0 G9+EL. Credited as Struning's 43rd victory.
The Lancaster LL954 AS-E of 166 Squadron crashed near Birgelen-Wasserberg (32 km north of Aachen), with on board two Belgian gunners: Flight Sergeant Armand Richelet (born 29 December 1919 in Mont-sur-Marchienne) and Flight Sergeant Jean Courtois (born 22 July 1906 in Hastière-Lavaux). The flight engineer of the crew also died, the other four were taken prisoner.
Richelet had managed to reach England from Dunkirk aboard a French ship in May 1940. He served for a time with the ground team of 350 Squadron, but was able to train as a gunner, after which he was included in the 166th Squadron. In 1940, he left for England and joined the 350th Squadron as a ground team, but could train as a gunner with Richelet. They died together on the same plane. The two Belgians are buried in Evere.

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