On 16th August, 1943, at about 4 a.m., the British Lancaster bomber DV186 of the 61st Squadron, Royal Air Force, returning from a bombing mission over Milan (Italy), was shot down by a German fighter of the 2./JG2 based at the Beaumont-le-Roger Luftwaffe Air Field (Eure).

The Lancaster crashed, at the Bosc Robert (commune of La Vespière, Calvados, Normandy, France), on Mr. Almyre GIRARD’s farmhouse.

Ten people were killed in this disaster.
- the 7 crew members :
5 British airmen :
- Flying Officer Fred CLOUGH (aged 31) 130286, 61 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, son of Thomas and Elisabeth CLOUGH
- Pilot Officer Ronald STEER (aged 21) 147998, 61 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, son of Roland STEER and of Ethel STEER, of Keynsham, Somerset
- Sergeant Arthur HULMES (aged 25) 977041, 61 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Son of John and Emily Hulmes, husband of Lilian Hulmes, of Blackburn, Lancashire
- Sergeant Peter Miller Hamilton SALMOND (aged 21) 1550383
61 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, son of Joseph and Ellen Hunter Ballingal SALMOND, of Glasgow, nephew of Mr T. HAMILTON, of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire
- Sergeant Henry Francis WEBSTER (age unknown), 1292688
61 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

and 2 Canadian airmen :
- Flight Sergeant Joseph David PIGEAU (aged 24) FS (AG) : R130299, From North Bay, Ontario.
- Flight Sergeant Robert Alexander Leslie SCOTT (aged 34) R/95664
61 (RAF) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force, son of Robert and Mary A. Scott, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada


- 3 people among the farmhouse inhabitants :
Mr. Almyre GIRARD, deputy mayor of La Vespière (aged 78)
Mr. Jean HOUGUET (aged 23)
and the young Pierre DUPENDANT (aged 10)

It must be mentioned that a neighbour, Mr. Émile GOUVILLE, risked his life and, displaying exemplary courage, rescued Mrs. Adrienne DUPENDANT and her young daughter Christiane (aged 6) from the burning house.

At that time, the Bosc Robert disaster really affected the inhabitants in the whole area. There were more than 2.000 people attending the funerals of the civilian victims.
But, 70 years later, the memory dies out.

That’s why, on August 16th 2013, the municipality of La Vespière will unveil a stele near the scene of the crash.

We are gathering now information about this disaster.
Il was rather easy for us to meet members of the families of the civilian victims. But, till now, we have no contact with the airmen families.

We would like :

- to get photographs of the Lancaster DV 186 crew members (61 Squadron Royal Air Force based in Syerston in August 1943) crashed in La Vespière, on August 16th 1943.
- to try to make contact with the families of these airmen : Fred CLOUGH, Ronald STEER, Arthur HULMES, Peter SALMOND, Henry WEBSTER, Joseph PIGEAU, Robert SCOTT

Thank you for your help

Michel POUSSARD
4 résidence Paul Borie,
La Camptière
F-14290 LA VESPIÈRE
(Normandy)
FRANCE

00 33 2 40 70 89 / 00 33 2 31 32 75 63