Report of Remembrance Weekend, November 2012, by Yves Blérard-Léglise
This weekend we received Mrs and Mr John URQUHART. A small party was organized
for them on Saturday evening. Marc Cianni (who played the role of the Mayor during
the Wrington Pageant) had made a small film that he humorously called "the world's
best enemies" about the Franco-British relations across time. The film continues with
an evocation of the real England that we discovered from Wrington. Everyone had a
great time and John gave an impromptu speech in perfect French.
The next day, John and Val arrived at rue du
Lieutenant Rodgers where I arrived first in
order to put the flag of your country on the
plinth so that John could not see the text
engraved on the plate when he arrived.
The plinth was unveiled by both John and the Mayor, (Val told me
that John was very touched that his name appears on the plate
near to the name of Lt Rodgers), and then, a wreath with small
flags of our two countries were laid. John and the other Officers
hailed as resounding at first the British Anthem and after that the
Back to the Town Hall, the procession then went to the Square June 18, 1940 where
ceremonies of November 11th were celebrated.
We arranged an English flag between two French flags at the top of the War
Memorial and I saw that John had noticed it.
Again John laid a wreath with the President of the Federation of Veterans.
A lunch at the Retirement Home was the final stage of the ceremony
because two Veterans were to be decorated. There, John was
awarded the Veterans Departmental Medal of Honor.
In the afternoon Val and John attended the traditional banquet
organized by various Veterans Associations in the region.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Late yesterday evening I made further research on the web, because it is known that after the crash, the body of Lt RODGERS
had been transferred to the cemetery of Villeneuve. We were given this information very recently by a very old Priest now living in
the Retirement House in Montpellier.
This Priest had by chance read the article I wrote about the ceremony held in tribute to Lt Rodgers. He telephoned the Mayor to
tell him that he wanted to attend the ceremony. Unfortunately, he was ill and in the end was not able to come.
During the war, he was friendly with the Priest of Villeneuve in charge of the village. The Priest told him he’d seen the crash
because during the bombing of the Station he was in the clock tower from where (like in Wrington) it is possible to see all around.
However, the problem was that in the Cemetery there is no grave of Lt Rodgers.
Finally I found a website on which are listed all the crashes over France between 39-45. There is only one British War Cemetery in
the South of France, in Mazargues near Marseille, and this is where Lieutenant Rodney Rodgers rests in peace.
To see the Memorial and his grave, go to <http://www.inmemories.com/Cemeteries/mazargues.htm>
Click to enlarge
Photos from Yves Blérard-Léglise
John Urquhart Jean-Paul Galonnier (le Maire) Yves Blérard-Léglise (Directeur Général Adjoint)