Crestview Sister City participants commemorate World War II


Top left: Authentically costumed World War II re-enactors portray German occupiers, French policemen and civilians during a recreation of Noirmoutier's liberation. Bottom left: U.S. Air Force Col. Don Bohler (Ret.) speaks with fellow Crestview visitors Pat Hollarn and Phyllis Enzor prior to the unveiling of a memorial to U.S. Airmen who crash-landed on Noirmoutier. Right: Crestview visitor Chris Embree focuses on the "Sally B,” a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress built in 1945.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 05:49 PM.

NOIRMOUTIER, France — A trip 70 years back in time was memorable for 22 Crestview Sister City members who visited this French island.

For the first time in seven decades, a B-17 Flying Fortress roared low over the beach of La Guérinière, a small village on the island's west coast.

On July 4, 1943, another B-17, the "Battling Bastards" — returning from a bombing raid on a German-held airfield — crash-landed in low-tide shallows near Camp Tirpitz, a German blockhouse fortification.

The 10 crewmembers survived the crash and spent the rest of the war as German prisoners. Their plane's wreckage can still be seen at low tide, a vivid reminder to swimmers and fishermen of their community's freedom.

"We keep it so everyone on the island remembers what our American friends did to help liberate us," Noirmoutier Sister City committee vice president Gérard Moreau said.

The crash was the focus of "Wings of Freedom," a June 29 and 30 commemoration of the American forces’ role in freeing the island from German occupation.

Front and center was the Crestview delegation, augmented by the sons of two Battling Bastards and the co-pilot’s brother and grandson.

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